Smashing Pumpkins Homecoming

October 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

If you know me at all, you know that Smashing Pumpkins have been my favourite band since I first saw them live in 1996; my first concert ever. Since then, I have seen them in many incarnations: Billy, James & D’arcy; Billy, James, Jimmy & Melissa; Billy solo; Jimmy’s jazz band; Zwan; Billy reading poetry in a church; and Billy with a band full of hired musicians who called themselves Smashing Pumpkins. This however, was the first time I was able to see them in Chicago, their music-rich hometown that I’ve always had a soft spot for.

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Nick’s band Anberlin was opening for them this leg of the tour, so we flew out on Friday afternoon for the show that night. Arriving on a windy and rainy day (miraculously) without any problems, we checked into our hotel and did a bit of work and ate some dinner before heading over to the Allstate Arena.

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Now, I’m a 31 year old former-music industry professional and have been around many rockstars in my time, including Billy Corgan, but I still get a little silly from time to time. If you’re also a fan, you’ll appreciate that my flight number was 3-33 and that there were porcelain pumpkins sitting on the counter at our hotel’s check in desk. IT WAS MEANT TO BE, YOU GUYS.

When we arrived, Anberlin’s lovely tour manager Andy had these waiting for us.

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Then I found out there would be a VIP pre-concert mini show in the room right across from Anberlin’s dressing room. YES! I was so happy they left the door open for the first song, so I could watch Billy’s entrance. Even after the door was closed, I listened to all of the short set, including a rendition of Plume from Pisces Iscariot. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one live before!

Anberlin were great! I don’t think I’ve seen them in years and years. Nicest guys ever. They were the only opener since SP played for almost 3 hours.

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Their stage show included an enormous orb, used as a film screen but as a complete sphere.

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They played Oceania in its entirety.

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Then they rolled out the hits including XYU, Cherub Rock, Mayonnaise, Stand Inside Your Love, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Tonight Tonight, a cover of Space Oddity, and more.

Tonight Tonight video playing on the orb

The performance of Tonight Tonight was almost out shined by the projection of the video on the sphere. It was so cool to watch all warped!

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Friday night was one of those amazing moments in life where I had to sit back and remind myself just how great what I was experiencing was. One of those times where you feel like you must have done something right to be in the situation you’re in now. In short, thank you Nick and Anberlin for crossing another “must do” off my list of life goals – watching Smashing Pumpkins live in their hometown.

(P.S. Click on the photos to see them larger on Flickr – they look much better that way!)

Melissa Auf der Maur: Girl Crush

March 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

How cool is Melissa Auf der Maur?


Having been both a part of Hole and Smashing Pumpkins, she’s one of the true lady rockstars left in the world. She’s also managed to develop her own identity while playing bass next to enormous personalities like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan by always pursuing new projects, meeting and collaborating with other musicians like Ric Ocasek and Rufus Wainwright, not to mention her efforts in photography, comic book writing, and fashion.

Despite Melissa’s impressive resume and history, she is also a truly sweet and friendly person. Maybe that has to do with her Canadian heritage ;)

At her March 3 show in New York, I felt like I was at a fashion party. Everyone around me was 6+ feet tall and gorgeous, boasting an effortless fashion sense. They also all seemed to know each other, and at the end of the night, Melissa. Her personality seems to be one that invites everyone inside to talk about anything. The first time I met her, the conversation managed to take a most ideal turn: mid-nineties Canadian rock reminiscing. What could be better? (Besides intimate stories about being on the road with Smashing Pumpkins, but some things are best left to the imagination.)

Melissa Auf der Maur is truly girl-crush worthy and I hope she continues her efforts in all applicable areas. The world needs not only more rockstars like her, but also people.

Two Thousand Ten

December 31, 2010 § 3 Comments

2010 was a really monumental year for me, even if I did spend a good part of it in the suburbs of Toronto, waiting for the next stage of my life to begin. Here’s an in-depth recap that I hope you’ll enjoy.

JANUARY

– I made several New Years’ resolutions (and completed them all!)

– I dealt with many frustrations with fielding questions from friends and family about my immigration situation, missed Nick terribly, and slowly adjusted and worked on expanded my patience even further to be able to live in the suburbs with my parents, working as a part time web manager and vowing to go to Toronto every weekend to keep my sanity.

– I got my beginner’s drivers license for the second time and drove a total of three times

FEBRUARY

– After weaning myself off of working for The Agency Group for 6+ years, I stopped doing their website updates

Tracked down my lifetime vaccination records from three different areas of Canada I’ve lived in to prepare for my Visa Medical

– Spent a great Valentine’s Day with Nick in Whitby – made a bunch of great food and watched The Hurt Locker

– Watched way more of the Winter Olympics than I expected to and even held a torch in the Eaton Centre!

MARCH

– Had my Visa Medical in Toronto. It was much less intrusive than I thought it would be and I managed not to faint after having my blood taken by eating a banana right up to the moment I got poked

– Dappled in Chat Roulette with Eli

– Bro’d down with former Smashing Pumpkins’ bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur while she was in town for CMW. Stayed in the same hotel and rode in a cab to the Horseshoe in between her and Nick. Talked about ’90s Canadian rock with her. Definite fan moment.

– Spent a remarkably warm St. Patrick’s Day with my family at my parents’ cottage

– Got fed up with Twitter haters and those ignorant of it and wrote this entry that got my blog more hits than anything else I’ve ever written

– After bargaining with the immigration gods, I received my long (and I mean LONG) awaited visa interview date at the American Consulate in Montreal for May 20

APRIL

– Enjoyed Summer-like weather in Toronto with friends the first weekend of the month

– My camera bag fell off a crappy Union Station bathroom hook and my lens busted. This led me to finally buy that 50mm lens I had been talking about for months

Went back to New York on the 12th for one last “visit” before my visa was approved. Had a way better time getting over the border without harassment.

– Met Brooklyn Brine’s Shamus and wrote my first Greenpointers entry while actually in Greenpoint

MAY

– Took a roadtrip with Nick to Pennsylvania to visit his family, a chocolate factory, and saw Foxy Shazam

Methodically and obsessively prepared for my Visa Interview

– Flew back to Canada with Nick, right into Montreal for my May 20 visa interview and NAILED IT

– Went back to Whitby to wait for my visa to come in the mail; finally started to plan our wedding

– I was so happy I got to attend Adam and Dana’s wedding in Toronto at the last minute!

JUNE

My visa finally came, a week and a half later than the man who interviewed us told us it would come. I missed seeing Conan O’Brien in New York, but got to go back for good on June 14!

– I took an online photography course from 503 Photography and learned how to use my camera on full manual

My brother got married! Unfortunately, I missed it because I had to come back to New York, but it was a great day nonetheless

– Was glad I wasn’t in Toronto for the G20, but sad I wasn’t there for my sister while her husband had to work it

JULY

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– Spent a great 4th of July with Nick at a Yankees VS Blue Jays game, then had rooftop seats to see the fireworks over the Hudson River

– Fell in love with Mad Men

Couldn’t believe I was finally allowed to marry the love of my life

GOT MARRIED at New York’s City Hall on July 22!

– Visited San Francisco for our honeymoon

AUGUST

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– Had yet another medical exam for immigration purposes – this time it was the Greencard Physical where they determined I do not have tuberculosis. Phew! I was really worried about that. (Not).

– Attended Lollapalooza in Chicago

– Started Want Font with Courtney

SEPTEMBER

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– Had my Biometrics taken for my greencard application. Survived the trip through the scariest part of Brooklyn I’ve ever been to to basically have a photo taken and my fingerprints put into a computer.

OCTOBER

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– Helped set up and promote the Insound Design Store

– Had the best birthday surprise I could have asked for with Nick flying my sister to New York to hang out with me for less than 24 hours!

– Visited Nick’s best friend Rod and his family in Fort Collins, CO. Got altitude sickness in Denver.

– Prepared and gathered many, many documents for my Greencard interview

NOVEMBER

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– Took a four week writing course from Mediabistro. Vowed to write a blog entry a day from then on.

– Had my Greencard interview. Got freaked out I wouldn’t be able to travel in time for Christmas.

– Turns out, I was an easy Greencard case. I received it in the mail two weeks to the date of my interview.

– After being approved for my Greencard, I got my social security number and was immediately hired on a contract for Insound!

DECEMBER

Greenpoint & Franklin - my work is covered in snow!

– Enjoyed working full time for the first time in a year and a half. Also enjoyed the non-existent commute of a 10 minute walk between my apartment and office. Sweet!

– Pretty much worked my butt off until it was time to go away for Christmas!

all photos by Christina Storch except July’s wedding photo by Jesse Brown

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