With the sun setting over the final day of SITG, I was left feeling a little conflicted. On one end of the spectrum, my post-splendour depression was settling in early, knowing that in a few hours it would all be over. On the other end, I had scored an amazing seat side of stage for The Smashing Pumpkins. Realising that in mere moments I would see 90’s rock god Billy Corgan walk on stage overrode all feelings of Mellon Collie (see what I did there). As anticipation pulsed through the crowd, setlist speculations were flying high with reports that tracks form Oceania would dominate with only a few oldies wedged in at the end. With this in mind, punters were enthusiastically surprised by a set that heavily featured the classics.
In true rock star form, The Pumpkins fucked off the schedule time and started their set ten minutes early with a grungy cover of Kiss’s classic, Black Diamond, to roaring approval. Heavy drum lines rolling off rumbling bass undertones and spine-tingling guitar riffs, Corgan saluted the crowd with a cascade of classics that covered Zero, Bullet with Butterfly Wings and Today. Scattered throughout their 90-minute set, The Pumpkins effortlessly eased the crowd into newer numbers The Celestials, Quasar, Panopicton and title track Oceania, proving that they still have it.
With only a few death stares towards the sound guy, the notoriously rant-happy Corgan surprisingly didn’t say too much during his set and let the music do the talking. However, at one point, after asking the crowd if they were alright, he cheekily responded, “don’t lie to me! Ya’ll are fucking tired!”, exposing his sense of humour, but that was the extent of his tirade.
With a constant flow of thunderous applause, Billy’s pristine harmonies revived the best of the nineties with Today, Ava Adore, Cherub Rock, Muzzle and crowd favourite 1979 transporting the Splendour masses back in time. Exiting the stage for a short encore, the cheers that infiltrated the tent were deafening and Corgan satisfied the vibrant crowd with the familiar guitar licks of Disarm and a smashing cover of Bowie’s Space Oddity. Closing the festival with a bang, Corgan channelled his inner metal head for final number X.Y.U., violently screaming into the mike whilst raising his guitar to the heavens. Thanking the audience, the band left the stage, propelling the buzzing masses to migrate home on the spectacular high of seeing one of the world’s greatest rock bands.
Over 20 years down the track, The Smashing Pumpkins have come a long way from their beginnings, and whilst Billy Corgan is the only remaining member, the band’s cohesive energy successfully captured their heyday. The last day of Splendour well and truly ended on a high, made even more so by the fact that as I was walking out, my favourite security guard backstage scored me an original Smashing Pumpkins setlist. A fucking fantastic finale to the best weekend of the year!
More more photos and a live take on their set, check out our coverage from Splendour in the Grass day three.