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Smashing Pumpkins To Play Free Minneapolis Concert

Group expected to draw 100,000 fans at summer concert.

by Staff Writer Chris Nelson

Corgan called a Minneapolis radio station from London to break the news.

When Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan called Minneapolis' Rock 100.3 radio on Tuesday, it was one of the most eagerly anticipated RSVPs in the station's history.

Corgan phoned in from London to announce that the Pumpkins will perform a free concert on July 17 as part of the city's annual Hennepin Avenue Block Party. The bald guitarist/producer/singer predicted that the show would be "about as big as it's ever gotten" for the alt-rock superstars, said Jay Philpott, Rock 100.3's music director and the disc jockey who took Corgan's call.

"We can probably expect 100,000 fans," Philpott said. "In 1996, the Black Crowes played the block party and that drew 75,000 people."

Corgan told Philpott and his listeners that Minneapolis is the only U.S. city that has agreed to host a free concert by the band.

The singer's call was timed to coincide with a press conference held by Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton to announce the event. Rock 100.3 (WRQC-FM) is sponsoring the mega-show along with city of Minneapolis. If 100,000 fans do turn out for the event, the Pumpkins show would be the biggest free concert in Minnesota history, according to the city's Star Tribune newspaper.

"I think the Smashing Pumpkins are the '90s most influential band," Philpott said. "This has the potential to smash any previous attendance records."

The block-party concert falls in the middle of the four dates that the Pumpkins will play on this summer's H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons Of Rock Developing Everywhere) tour. The group's much-anticipated fourth album, Adore, hits stores on June 2.