Monday, Sept. 3, 2018 | 6 p.m.
T-Mobile Arena has hosted many of the biggest bands in the world in its short two-and-a-half years of life in Las Vegas, from The Killers to Coldplay, Guns ‘N Roses to The Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi to Iron Maiden. But Sunday night’s Shiny And Oh So Bright tour stop with the reunited Smashing Pumpkins will likely go down as one of the legendary rock concerts at this venue no matter who comes through, approximately three hours and fifteen minutes of squalling guitars and pounding rhythms designed to remind fans of a time when the Chicago-bred band was on top of the alt-rock world.
It became clear early on — the fifth or sixth song was a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” — that this would be an indulgent performance, for the band and the thousands of fans in attendance. (T-Mobile’s upper deck was out of action.) Frontman Billy Corgan and guitarist James Iha joked about the concert’s density and longevity in their few comments between songs but these Smashing Pumpkins, also featuring founding drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, remain unapologetic.
Corgan, Iha and guitarist Jeff Shroeder took turns on bombastic guitar solos on tracks like “Rocket” and “Zero.” Odd but entertaining video interludes from Corgan and Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath kept the seriousness in check, as did a freaky cover of “Stairway to Heaven.” Beloved hits like “Tonight, Tonight,” “1979” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” sounded as fresh as they did in 1995 and first-album epics like “Soma” and “Mayonaise” were given full space to breathe and bloom. They closed with the celebratory “Muzzle” from “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” then returned for an encore of new single “Solara” and lullaby “Baby Mine,” a 75-year-old song from Disney’s “Dumbo.”
On a holiday weekend Sunday night with a plethora of big concerts scattered along the Strip — Queen performed just a few steps away at Park Theater — the Smashing Pumpkins set out to make some musical memories and succeeded in every way.