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11 November 2012 - 04:39 PMTook me a while but I figured I would finally post some thoughts.
Oceania live was tight. Really enjoyed hearing the entire record. Some songs were better than on album, others lost a slight touch, specifically the Nicole backing songs. The timing of her vox was off. She was singing along with Billy instead of shortly after him which was kind of dissapointing. I believe this was intentional so as to create the wall of sound they needed for an arena show, as doing the vocals like on record would've fit more for a stripped down smaller show. Mike on keys during Wildflower was awesome. Jeff shredded as per the usual. The current incarnation of the band actually might be my favorite top to bottom since the original lineup. I miss Jimmy of course but this really did feel like a real band that was enjoying themselves.
The visuals were spot on, and I'm glad I got the experience, but in the end I don't believe they were worth the money they probably spent on them. But whatever. The place was dead as shit early on, but it ended up filling up nicely by the end and the crowd vibe was pretty decent. It was also a nice surprise to see a reaction to some of the Oceania songs. I still hope they learn their lesson and don't play arena's on the next tour though.
The set list after the album was solid but not spectacular. I very much enjoyed the Bowie cover. I'm surprised nobody mentioned the funny XYU moment. Billy had the crowd going strong and the build up to the "Kaboom" was huge - except the fans completely screwed it up. Billy has a little mini temper tantrum, yelled, and everyone went quiet. And then he realized how he reacted and quickly saved himself by saying what a professional he was and then cranked right back into it. It was a rare slip up moment for him in which he wore his heart on his sleeve to the point where it briefly effected the song. He must have been so excited to see how well Oceania was not only received but known by the many new fans, but clearly that came with a price - the extreme dissapointment of a ruined epic rock star moment during an older harder song which most new fans likely don't know well. Hard to have your cake and eat it too, I suppose.
Song for a Son rocked. Loved it. Muzzle was cool too, especially since they were supposed to play that to close Vfest 5 years earlier, and we got screwed by a time curfew so I never got to hear it. Sadly my hopes for Quiet, Geek, Ruby or even Starla were dashed but I suppose it made little difference to my overall enjoyment.
All in all it was probably my third favorite Pumpkin show out of the 5 times I've seen them, falling only behind the two 20th anniversary Massey Hall shows. I look forward to see this band again in the spring if they come back. In my opinion they're stupid not to tour again immediately in North America in 2013, as the positive reviews and further trickle down of Oceania may bring out some more fans alongside a cheaper price point if they played club shows, which you would assume they would. Strike while the iron is hot. And this band will get to a whole other level in a live setting if they are playing sold out club shows for 3 hours with varied setlists than as opposed to half empty arena shows for just over 2 hours with basically the same set every night. But again, I appreciate what they tried to do here and am glad I got to see the Oceania experience in full. The future is bright!
02 October 2012 - 11:58 AMPeople do that when they have financial problems. By all accounts Billy is doing ok financially so there is no reason to do that
I'm sure Billy is doing ok financially, but that doesn't mean he is ready to lose his own money on a tour, or a reissue etc otherwise he would be a completely independant artist. This is also why you are seeing $200 prices for a MC Reissue, $20 for a digital Oceania download, $100 a tour ticket, $400 VIP package pricing.
If you factor in the various different copies of Zeitgeist, the selling of his songs for commercial use, and a few other transgressions along the way post reuinion, Billy has already sold out artistically long ago. So throw that argument out the window. At least had he done things the way I suggested, he would have managed to salvage relationships with some of his fans, band members, etc all the while having his business entities in a much more financially stable condition. He makes up his principles as he goes along as far as what he considers to be just or unjust.
At the end of the day, you can say Billy doesn't want to milk the fans - but he is. You can say he doesn't want to be a nostalgia act - but as The Smashing Pumpkins today he is, whether he likes it or not. Now that doesn't mean he still can't make meaningful music with the current band (he has), and yes it's his band and they are his songs and he has all the right in the world to play them, but the fact of the matter is hardly anyone has heard Oceania and 80%+ of the crowds in these upcoming arena shows aren't there to see the album in full, they are still there to hear Today or Tonight, Tonight. And no matter how much he tries to fight against that, he still wants to play those songs because he loves the positive reinforcement he gets when he plays them, which is why he still puts them in the setlist night in, night out, and why he still vainly attempts to play arenas.
Look, I already said that I loved Oceania and I have great respect for the current lineup. You also can't change the past, nor would I want to at this point since it provided a few gems along the way (Gossamer, etc.). I do understand why Billy felt he had to do what he did, makes perfect sense to me. But it's also clear, that given the current state of the industry and the "popularity" of the band, the model I suggested is likely the only way for Billy to have achieved what he originally set out to do. Which was to fill arena's and make the kind of coin necessary to have the artistic freedom he doesn't seem to have right now. If he did have it, he wouldn't be charging $400 for a VIP or $20 to download the new record or taking almost a calendar year to release his well received record. As far as his current model? I'm not even sure Billy has one. He can hate on Pavement or whoever else he wants for being a reunion band, but he could STILL have done that righteously even as a reunion band himself if he was focused on his new music endeavours on the side and anyone with a passion for music could see that's where his heart was. Until I see Billy produce a new business model with a chance for success that isn't still the same old dog and pony label show from the 90's, he is exactly the same sell out as the nostalgia bands he trashes, as he continues to abuse his hardcore fan base who have stuck with him through thick and thin, and still turning around and pandering to the everyman so they will come to his show - all the while spending countless interviews or on stage rants shittalking that exact same hipster crowd he deep down wants to attract. I agree with so much of what Billy says when he criticizes the industry, he's far from stupid in his assessments, but if the successes and failures of Oceania tell us anything, it's that despite all of his ability to identify the shortcomings, he's still so lost. So very, very lost.
02 October 2012 - 07:37 AMBecause it would be far from his main focus, something he only does a couple weeks every few years, and because it allows him to do whatever he wants the remaining 49 weeks of the calendar without every having to think about $$$?
And to be fair, I never exactly criticized him. I just said that would have been the best solution for all involved at the time, given the current business models.
02 October 2012 - 07:17 AMWhat Billy should have, but never would have done, when he realized he wanted 'his songs back' in 2007 is this;
Call up Jimmy, personally apologize to James and eat some crow (right or wrong), and get either Melissa or D'Arcy to come out and play a series of shows as The Smashing Pumpkins. Play ALL of the hits every night in huge venues at high prices, throw in some traditional SP rarities, and be a complete nostalgia act. NO new songs.
Wash, rinse, repeat and do this every few years for as long as it is extremely profitable. Which it clearly would have been before Billy spent the last five years burning the SP name to the ground so he could rebuild it on his own. And the past relationships issues wouldn't have been so much of an issue either, since they wouldn't have to record, or even really speak to each other if they chose not to - merely stand on the same stage together for 10-20 nights a year. At the end of the day, the paycheck will keep them all in line. And it would have been a huge one.
THEN, with all that money from the big arena tours, alongside properly produced and promoted re-issues released between tours (albums played in full, anyone?) Billy could easily fully finanace all of the things he wanted to do as a solo artist, a new band, novel, tea house, start a wrestling promo etc completely risk free. He could grow that entity up naturally, afford to independantly release his own stuff at respectable pricing, tour where/when he wanted to in small clubs, and people would have appreciated that for what it was. And nobody would have called him a sell out for the SP nostalgia act since he was giving the older fans what they wanted while using it a justification to obtain his financial freedom to exist without restrain as a true artist. And guess what? A lot of SP fans would have likely ended up checking of Billy's solo/new band stuff as a result of the regained poopularity SP would have sustained as result if they cross promoted correctly.
And hey - if somewhere along the line, the old band got along well enough during tours at some point, maybe they could have even looked at doing another record. But that is really irrelevant to that discussion this far down the line.
I understand the reasoning for everything Billy has done thus far up to this point. I love the new band, and think they rip it up live, too. So don't get me wrong - I'm very happy with where things are at right now for the most part, and this is obviously a moot point with Oceania in the books. But in hindsight, I think this would have better route to have gone down; finanacially, artistically, for the new band members, as well as the fans (both old and new). Just my 2 cents.
21 September 2012 - 07:41 PMThere is no possible way that is the price, and if it is, it will come down dramatically after the first day of sales when nobody in the world except Monte has ordered it.
Can you imagine if it retails at that price and it ends up having any errors or screw ups like the Pisces? That is a seriously dangerous game for the band to be playing.
But seriously I think everyone can relax, they want to target the casual SP fan with these releases, especially MC as it's their most popular album, and they won't come close to hitting their target market at that range they'd only hit the hardcore of hardcores, so while there may possibly be some super deluxe comes with a jism filled tissue Billy jerked off into edition, the regular version won't be more than 50-75 dollars. It can't be. It just can't.
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