Smashing Pumpkins to perform "Siamese Dream" tributes in Highland Park
This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the best albums a Chicago rock band has ever produced.
Why it matters: "Siamese Dream" was a breakout smash for The Smashing Pumpkins, taking them from a darling independent rock band to commercial pop stars.
What's happening: Billy Corgan is celebrating the anniversary with two acoustic shows at his Highland Park tea shop, Madame Zuzu's, on Sept. 17.
- Tickets range from $345-$495.
Context: The Pumpkins went on to have commercial success with several albums, but "Siamese Dream" is considered the band's best. It was released at a time where the record industry was feverishly signing Chicago acts to major labels.
- The Pumpkins joined bands like Urge Overkill, Liz Phair, Material Issue, Veruca Salt and others in signing major label record deals, putting Chicago on par with cities like Seattle as a mecca of alternative music.
What they're saying: "Nirvana was making records, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were making records, Pearl Jam was making records," Metro owner Joe Shanahan tells Axios.
- "But they didn't sound like what the Smashing Pumpkins were doing. 'Siamese Dream' had a bright, fresh sound that most people had never heard before."
Flashback: In the summer of 1993, the anticipation was building for the Pumpkins' major-label release. They had signed with Virgin Records after the indie-success of the album "Gish."
Once MTV's "120 Minutes" started playing the video for their first single "Cherub Rock," the band famously came home that summer to play a secret show at Metro, using the band name The Turnips before going out on a massive national tour.
- The shows were leaked to WXRT and fans lined up on Clark Street for hours. When they hit the stage, Corgan and his bandmates put forth a legendary performance.
- "While they were very serious about what they were doing, there was this playful side that was undeniable," Shanahan tells Axios.
- It wouldn't be the last time they played Metro, but from that point on the band hit the stratosphere and attracted throngs of new, international fans.
By the numbers: The album sold more than 6 million copies.
Between the lines: The band's status as Chicago darlings soured around the time of the production of this album, as others in the community dissed them in interviews and songs.
- Bob Mould famously called them "The grunge Monkees."
The bottom line: The album was not just a huge hit, but a defining moment in Chicago's alternative rock history.
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