Leave it to Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan to try and upstage the man who wrote the book on outrage, Jane's Addiction/Porno For Pyros mastermind Perry Farrell.
When the Pumpkins took the stage at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom Monday night, in a surprise appearance opening for Jane's, Corgan was decked out in a long licorice-red wig, day-glo lipstick and a black and red, full-length velvet dress.
So much for subtlety.
Some stoned students from nearby Northwestern University wondered at first if they were seeing things.
But the hometown heroes left no doubt that this was no stoned vision, as they launched into a potent six-song set drawn from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness that included "Ruby," "Zero," "Tonight, Tonight," "Porcellina of the Vast Oceans" "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and "Muzzle." Jane's fan Michelle Artis of Chicago, who said she'd been "cheated" of her Lollapalooza '91 ticket (Jane's was the headliner) due to a fight with a friend, was thrilled at the chance to see both Jane's and the Pumpkins for her first time. "Yeah, I'm a big fan but I haven't gotten to see them yet," she said, after security bounced her from the pit after pulling her out as she crowd surfed.
Fans in from as far as St. Louis were treated to an extra-special Chicago treat and the scalpers out front were happy as well as ticket prices soared before the show to upwards of $300, close to 10 times the face value.
For the Pumpkins, there was some nostalgia involved in returning to the Aragon. "We played our first show here back in '88 with Jane's," Billy Corgan told the crowd, thanking Farrell and company for having them play.
Following a stunning set from Jane's, Corgan's bandmates, bassist D'Arcy and guitarist James Iha, headed over to the popular SmartBar dance club underneath the Metro to hear Goldie (who had opened the night's festivities at the Aragon) spin in a more conductive setting. Standing in the club, Iha said that both the Pumpkins and Jane's dug doing the show together. "It was a mutual thing," Iha said. "We're glad they asked us to play." -- Matt Carmichael [Tues., Nov. 4, 1997, 9:00 a.m. PST]