Billy Corgan at The Henry Fonda Theatre, 07/13/05
The more "All Things Change" the more they stay the same.
Billy Corgan on his first "solo" tour, sans Pumpkins or Zwan, put on a great show at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood tonight. I've been slow to warm to the new album, "The Future Embrace," but the live show put it in a whole new light. Playing live it's a given that everything's louder, but he played everything a bit harder than the way it was captured on the album.
Highlights for me were "All Things Change," "Tolovesomebody" and "The Cameraeye." I really enjoy Billy's vocal work on "The Cameraeye." There's something about the way he sings the "Listen / Listen / Listen to me" line that I find enjoyable. Maybe that's just me.
On the nerdy side, I really liked his backdrop. It was a wall of what appear to be color LCD tiles of 3 to 4 inches square. Most of the graphics were abstract, screen saver-y images, that appeared pixelated as though you were looking at a giant low res computer screen. The super bright colors worked as a contrast to the relatively dark tone of most of his material.
His back-up band was also interesting. The drummer plays all electronic drums, so you get a very synthesized rhythm section. It seems like it should sound very 80s, but it doesn't really. The other two band memebers (and apologies for not knowing everyone's names) worked at consoles that appeared to be keyboards/computer desks. Each console was wrapped in organic-looking metalic sculpture, which immediately brought to mind the gynecological tools built by Jermey Irons' character(s) in Dead Ringers.
Opening band, Doris Henson was totally enjoyable. Way more upbeat than Billy, they certainly fit the current mold of everything 80s is cool again, though a few of the guys in the band reminded me of icons from or kinda from the 70s. The lead singer could be confused for Topher Grace's Eric Forman on That 70s Show and their trombone player... yeah, I said, "trombone player"... reminded me of a young Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. The bass player reminded me of one of the IT guys from the job I had at an internet company during the dotcom boom, but that won't mean much to anyone.
The second opener was The Crimea. They were okay, but I think that the audience wasn't with them, because it was getting late on a Wednesday night, everyone wanted to see Billy, and for some reason the Henry Fonda Theatre picked one of the hottest days of the year to save a little money on air conditioning. It was sweltering in there and I think The Crimea suffered for it.