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Smashing Pumpkins: If All Goes Wrong (Coming Home Media)

This fine two-DVD set from the fall of 2008 includes a feature-length documentary about Smashing Pumpkins’ two comeback residencies in the early summer of 2007—at The Orange Peel club in North Carolina, and 13 nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco—and a full-length concert DVD (from the Fillmore). The documentary contains plenty of concert footage from both venues, but there’s also lots of offstage material, too—mostly Pumpkins leader Bill Corgan sitting on hotel beds in a long nightgown, talking about music and the Pumpkins, or writing songs. Corgan is a thoughtful but somewhat insecure guy, and the documentary reveals some of Corgan’s misgivings about both San Francisco and the Fillmore residency—particularly after a brutal review of the first show appeared in San Francisco Chronicle. (On balance, the band’s hardcore fans regarded the group’s stay there as nothing less than a triumph.)

The concert DVD is a mesmerizing, nearly two-hour, 15-song concert, which really shows the incredible range of this band: from introspective acoustic music to driving sonic squalls, on a selection of old and new songs (some written during the two residencies). You may think of this band mainly as the one-time darlings of the alternative movement, but they jam, too, and no doubt would’ve rocked the Fillmore crowds in ’66, as well. A cool bonus feature is a rehearsal where the band is set up in the middle of the Fillmore’s floor on a patchwork of Persian carpets, and plays a few songs. With the recent departure of Pumpkins drummer and mainstay Jimmy Chamberlain (the only other original member on the comeback tour), this DVD set has now taken on an added historical importance. Audio and video are tremendous throughout—definitely state-of-the-art Pumpkins. It’s also a great look at the Fillmore!

If All Goes Wrong documentary directed by Jack Guliek; The Fillmore Residency directed by Daniel E. Catullo III. Live audio recording by Randy Ezratty/Effanel. Mixing by Kerry Brown.

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