The Smashing Pumpkins as we know them would not be a band without the Metro. A trio of scrappy, Chicago-based underdogs were playing in a Polish bar in the city when Metro owner Joe Shanahan first saw them. Impressed by the talent of Billy Corgan, D’Arcy Wretzky, and James Iha, Shanahan agreed to book the Pumpkins as long as they found a real drummer, which they did in Jimmy Chamberlain.
The band’s first of 38 performances at the Metro was on October 5, 1988. This doubled as the first show with Jimmy Chamberlain on drums.
In 1993, weeks after releasing Siamese Dream, the band once again took the stage at Chicago’s most iconic venue for a concert that has gone down in history as one of the Pumpkin’s best. Dressed in a long-sleeve Superman t-shirt, Corgan comes across like a superhero in front of his hometown crowd, a God of alt-rock that was at the apex of his powers. The August 14, 1993 version of ‘Mayonnaise’ may be the single greatest Pumpkins recording out there.
The Pumpkins would return home for a matinee show in 1996 to celebrate the success of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and then once more in 1998 to debut songs from their upcoming album Adore. At the end of the century, Corgan and company came back to the Metro for one of their angriest sets ever. For two hours, the band reconstructed some of their greatest hits and ripped through them with a layer of aggression that made them unrecognizable to those that fell in love with the Gish-era slackers.
After touring relentlessly in 2000, the band capped off their initial run by playing the United Center on November 29 and then playing their final show before breaking up on December 2 at the Metro. Billy Corgan would stop by for a pair of solo shows in 2004, but Clark Street was without their favorite band for a decade.
In 2010, three years after the Pumpkins reformed with new music and a new identity, they returned to the venue that made them. They would stop by once more in 2012.
September 20 marks the first time in 10 years that the Smashing Pumpkins will grace the Metro. This will be the band’s 39th performance at the Metro. The show will be broadcast live on Q101 starting at 8:00PM this evening for those that can’t get in to this monumental event.