A full concert filmed in late July and early August of 2007 over five of the 11 sold-out nights at the famed Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, CA. Features seven all new tracks not ...
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A full concert filmed in late July and early August of 2007 over five of the 11 sold-out nights at the famed Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, CA. Features seven all new tracks not available anywhere else, along with new versions of fan favorites and a selection of Pumpkins rarities. From the opening note to the final chord, the documentary If All Goes Wrong showcases a band returning with an "enveloping epic force" (Los Angeles Times) as it traces The Smashing Pumpkins during their 19-show residency, which began with eight shows at Asheville, NC's Orange Peel in late June and continued through 11 sold-out nights at San Francisco's famed Fillmore Auditorium. Interviews with band members, fans, journalists and fellow musicians reveal the fears, excitement, determination, exhaustion and tension inherent in main singer-songwriter and lead guitarist Billy Corgan and his newly revitalized musical unit. The documentary also includes Voices Of The Ghost Children, a featurette about the ...Written by
Bonus points to anyone who knows the 1976 song I quoted in my title. Here's an ironic hint: it was sung by a guy who threw a grand piano off the stage because he didn't like the light show.
While Billy Corgan isn't quite as outwardly pianocidal, the overriding feeling throughout this behind-the-scenes tour journal is that Billy Corgan is extremely dissatisfied. You wouldn't think he has any right to be, with at least a dozen sellout shows full of rapturous fans, but somehow you get the vibe that he's not getting his rocks off.
"If All Goes Wrong" is a somewhat disenchanting documentary about the Pumpkins' 2007 mini tour which, rather than zipping all over the globe, planted itself in 2 locations: Asheville, NC and San Francisco, CA. The first thing that all Smashing Pumpkins fans should know is that none of their big hits are played. Correction, Billy sarcastically strums a few chords of (I think it was) "Today" with a painful grimace on his face in a hotel room before explaining that he doesn't want to associate with past members in any way.
So what songs do they play? You're going to think I'm kidding but this is true. The bulk of the songs performed on this documentary were stream-of-consciousness diddies which Corgan wrote and hastily arranged for performance in front of an audience the very next day. At first it seemed impressive that he could pull it together like that, but after 6 or 7 repeats of the same formula (no exaggeration!) you get the feeling that Corgan is a lost soul. While the songs aren't quite as bad as "Chopping Broccoli" (look it up on Youtube if you haven't heard that masterpiece!), they are certainly unfinished, nothing like the meticulous arrangements and well-produced songs that filled the "Siamese Dream" years.
Another major downer (don't worry, the good stuff is coming after) is that the band which Corgan had assembled for this tour are little more than hired guns. Corgan himself says this during one notable incident after a SF show when he lambasts his guitarist for acting like he's "in the band" when actually he's just an employee. Don't miss that scene toward the end as it really drives the point home. Other "employer review" moments include Corgan accusing his female bassist of boffing some guy outside his (Corgan's) hotel door while he was trying to sleep after the show. All this put together hammers the point home: The Smashing Pumpkins are not a band, this is not "sex drugs rock & roll", and nobody is really having a good time.
OK, I promised you some good stuff, right? I actually enjoyed this documentary very much. It showed a side of the stereotypical jaded rockstar in a way we rarely see, warts and all. But unlike your standard rock'n'roll washup story about a rocker who can't reclaim his lost glory, this is a very different tragedy. The fans still love him, but Corgan is his own worst enemy, self destructive to the point that he insists on playing his 45-minute prog rock experiment which the band is clearly not prepared for, and the result is something like Spinal Tap's "Jazz Odyssey". All the same, I was enthralled at Corgan's total departure from sensibility. Yes, he could have played crowd pleasers, had a great time and made the fans happy. But no, instead he settled on the artistic merits of publicly self destructing (at one point ending a song with a bitter F U directed at the audience). And, no sarcasm here, I am intrigued by any visionary mind that would go so far to sabotage himself.
Billy Corgan is a true wonder, I say with admiration. He comes across as a jerk, and yet if you go to his website you'll see many of his posts are about stray dogs & cats he's trying to get adopted. The songs played on this documentary were not particularly dazzling, but there were some absolute gems of lyrical wisdom if you listen to the words. Maybe you'll be as intrigued as I was when you watch this. Billy Corgan is not the kind of person I'd ever invite over to dinner (especially because he'd probably sock me in the gums after reading this review), but you can't deny he is an absolute original, a rebel against himself, and when you strip away all the loud guitars and screaming fans, isn't that what rock'n'roll is all about?
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