Asheville Smashing Pumpkins Shows - June 2007

Smashing Pumpkins Asheville
Billy Corgan at the Orange Peel
Photo David Oppenheimer

On May 14, 2007 the Asheville music scene was honored to find out that the Smashing Pumpkins would be playing a nine night residency at the Orange Peel. The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the 90's with several platinum records and many videos popular on MTV. Front man Billy Corgan had wanted to reform his band which has not played a show since December of 2000. Corgan was planning a world tour and wanted to rehearse by playing two multi-show "residencies." He selected Asheville's Orange Peel for nine shows and San Francisco's Fillmore for ten shows.

Demand for the Asheville Smashing Pumpkins shows has huge. Fans from all over the world were eager to see the Pumpkins play their first shows on US soil in over six years. A strict ticket policy was used, knowing that tickets would be highly-sought after by both fans and resellers. Tickets would only be sold online, with a limit of two tickets per person per show. The purchaser of the tickets was required to present their ID the evening of the show and enter immediately. A fiasco ensued when the tickets went on sale on May 20. Fans from all over the world flooded the servers of the ticketing company, Ticketweb. Ticketweb's servers went down for several hours with only a small percentage of the allotted tickets having been sold. A second on-sale was set up two days later using Ticketmaster's servers; all shows sold out within four minutes. Many shut-out locals were displeased with the handling of ticket distribution despite every effort being made to see that every fan had an equal chance at getting tickets. While scalping was largely thwarted, some resellers were still able to sell their second ticket on ebay or other means. While the face value of the tickets was an affordable twenty dollars, some were resold for over five hundred.

The Asheville Smashing Pumpkins shows took place on June 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 20 and July 2, 3, and 5. Each show saw fans lining up in the morning to be the first to enter the shows scheduled for that evening. The numbers of fans from out of town were predicted to pump hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars into Asheville's economy. Surprisingly, after the shows had happened restaurants along Biltmore Avenue (who were expected to receive the highest economic impact) reported that their volumes had not changed significantly. The shows occurred in what is considered to be the peak tourist season for Asheville when restaurants and hotels would already be full.

The shows were comprised of a new band lineup. Original members Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain remained. The original bassist, D'Arcy, and guitar player, James Iha, did not wish to return and were replaced by Ginger Reyes and Jeff Schroeder, respectively. A new keyboardist position was introduced featuring Lisa Harrington. Billy Corgan had become intrigued with Asheville's Friday night drum circle and invited the participants to open up for one of their Orange Peel shows. Corgan was also impressed with his tour of the Moog Music facilities in Asheville and ever since has been lending his support to the non-profit Moog Foundation, set up to preserve the legacy of the late Bob Moog, inventor of many electronic musical instruments.

Joseph Bollini -

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