News 980729-1

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Friday August 1 The Washington Post --Patrick Foster

PUMPKINS SQUASH THE MOSH

   People crammed Constitution Hall on Wednesday night chiefly to hear

the Smashing Pumpkins' distinctive depresso-rock, and Pumpkin king Billy Corgan (clad entirely in black, natch) gave them earsful.

   Leading the group--D'Arcy (bass) and James Iha (guitar), plus piano

and three percussionists--through "Ava Adore," "Perfect" and "Annie-Dog" from the recent "Adore" album, Corgan played rock star and sensitive songwriter.

   Turning the record's gentle timbres into loud declarations, rock

passages into bombastic overloads, and confessional ballads into overwrought confessional ballads, the band members, who donated the proceeds from the concert to the District's City LIght School, were received like conquering heroes.

   Though the convulsive dancing was minimized by a set list that drew

heavily from "Adore," bodies flailed when Corgan dipped into the back catalogue for "Bullet With Butterfly Wings."

   Occasionally hampered by muddy sound, the set, nearly two hours

including encores, touched all the points of a classic rock concert: drum solo, guitar histrionics, the occasional acoustic ballad, even a bouquet of roses for the star.

   Like many classic arena rock shows of the 1970s, from which the

Smashing Pumpkins draw much inspiration, the anticipation was ultimately more satisfying than the actual event.