Big news for ‘90s alt-rock enthusiasts and those who spent a little too much time playing Guitar Hero in 2007: Smashing Pumpkins and their pals in Jane’s Addiction will embark on a 32-date tour across North America this fall (grab tickets here).
As two of some of the biggest and best names of their era, their “Spirits on Fire Tour” is already guaranteed to be one for the books.
While Smashing Pumpkins carved out their own space in the grunge scene, Jane’s Addiction were doing the same with their funk-influenced brand of alt-metal, meaning there’s a lot of variety in store for concert attendees. But with over a dozen albums between the two bands, how could they decide which ones to bring out for their arena run?
Picking a setlist is a grueling task, which is why we at Consequence have kindly taken on the burden ourselves and compiled our very own dream setlist.
From radio hits to deep cuts, here’s our wishlist of songs we want to hear on Smashing Pumpkins’ and Jane’s Addiction’s “Spirits on Fire Tour.”
1. “Up the Beach”
This Nothing’s Shocking opener is an essential cut, not only as the familiar first sounds that fans heard on their 1988 debut, but as the soaring live spectacular created by the song’s enveloping crush of distortion and Farrell’s vocal ebbs and flows. — Ben Kaye
With a zippy guitar riff that quickly explodes into a raucous funk-metal breakdown, “Stop” is precisely the type of crowdpleasing energy that would, er, start Jane’s Addiction’s set perfectly. — Abby Jones
3. “Standing in the Shower Thinking”
Few songs are as danceable in the Jane’s Addiction catalog as “Standing in the Shower… Thinking.” Syncopated guitar stabs and tom fills for days are sure to get your body moving like it’s a 1991 Lollapalooza set. — Jonah Krueger
4. “End to the Lies”
Sure, most attendees probably grabbed tickets to hear Jane’s Addiction’s more celebrated early material. But don’t hit the bathroom when they pull out the new stuff, especially if it’s “End to the Lies,” a highlight from their 2011 comeback. — J.K.
5. “Ocean Size”
“Ocean Size” is begging to be played live. You can practically hear the crowd exclaiming in excitement as the acoustic intro gears up, before a stadium’s worth of people join Farrell screaming “THREE, FOUR!” — J.K.
6. “Three Days”
Spanning nearly two minutes, epic doesn’t even begin to describe Dave Navarro’s guitar solo on “Three Days.” Add in the backstory of the three-day bender that inspired the song, and it’s an essential Jane’s Addiction live cut. — Eddie Fu
7. “Been Caught Stealing”
Perry Farrell has claimed that “Been Caught Stealing” — he best song about shoplifting ever written, bar none — is autobiographical. While his status these days isn’t exactly conducive to covert theft, this hit acts as an unskippable ode to Jane’s Addiction’s early days. — A.J.
8. “Just Because”
“Just Because” would fit perfectly for a Jane’s Addiction/Smashing Pumpkins show, as it’s the closest the former comes to the latter’s signature sound. It’s got huge, fuzzy guitar tones and Farrell’s usual spastic vocals are traded out for a croon. Hell, bring out Billy Corgan to sing it, he’d fit right in. — J.K.
9. “Ain’t No Right”
You know, on second thought, maybe they shouldn’t play this one. Because, if they do, I fear there’s a very real possibility of someone’s neck snapping from headbanging too hard. — J.K.
10. “Classic Girl”
Every alt-rock show needs a “lighters in the air” moment, and “Classic Girl” could very well fill that spot. Slow and sweet, the song would assuredly have the whole crowd swaying while creating a very slight fire hazard. — J.K.
11. “Mountain Song”
There are few joys in live music like shouting, “Coming down the mountain!” in unison with 20,000 of your closest friends. — Wren Graves
Despite there being no proper studio recording of “Whores” until 2009, the track was a legendary live staple since the mid-1980s. That was for a reason… — J.K.
13. “Jane Says”
There’s no doubt fans will hear one of Farrell and Co’s catchiest and most well-known songs on tour. The more interesting possibility is whether the group will recruit the Pumpkins for the performance, just as they recently did on The Howard Stern Show. — E.F.
1. “The Colour of Love”
As the most recent album in the Pumpkins’ discography, you’re going to hear a lot of 2020’s CYR on this upcoming tour, and album opener “The Colour of Love” is one of the best of the bunch. — W.G.
2. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”
Has any lyric or hook in Billy Corgan’s catalog been nearly as memorable as the chorus to “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”? The song seems to exemplify the degree to which humans are conditioned by their outside influences, a lesson that arguably rings even more true almost 30 years after its release. — A.J.
As it wavers between a deceptively optimistic chorus and nihilistic verses, “Today” is an entire epic packed into just over three minutes — and one that absolutely can’t be left off a setlist. — A.J.
4. “I Am One”
A highlight from their oft-overlooked debut Gish, “I Am One” epitomizes Smashing Pumpkins’ knack for genre-blending, weaving elements of psych rock and shoegaze into their usual grunge. It’s virtually tailor-made for picking up the pace after a slower moment in the setlist. — A.J.
5. “Tonight, Tonight”
Complete with a swelling string section and marching band drums, “Tonight, Tonight” makes the notion of growing up and evolving as a human feel much less daunting. — A.J.
6. “Cherub Rock”
By the time they released “Cherub Rock,” Smashing Pumpkins were already prophesied as the next Pearl Jam or Nirvana. Over a buzzy, effortlessly cool guitar riff, Billy Corgan asks: At what point does counter-culture become the mainstream? — A.J.
7. “Ava Adore”
A twisted love song delivered with the bravado of Robert Smith, “Ava Adore” ushered in Smashing Pumpkins’ transition from grunge heroes to aspirational goths. — A.J.
A sequel of sorts to “1979,” “Perfect” is an ode to the future drenched in jangly, nostalgic dream pop. — A.J.
With quiet verses and cacophonous hooks, this Gish standout has become a live favorite, allowing Corgan to indulge his theatricality. — W.G.
Many fans have tried to forget Corgan’s short-lived project Zwan, but credit where it’s due, it did produce one great single. The Smashing Pumpkins have never performed “Honestly” live, according to Setlist.FM, but this is a dream setlist, and since in our dreams Zwan never existed, the tune takes its rightful place as a beloved Pumpkins’ b-side. — W.G.
It’s hard to imagine Corgan cutting a rug on a dance floor, but that’s just where he finds himself on the title track to the band’s latest album. With rollicking synths and a toe-tapping beat, “Cyr” is an example of how the later-period Pumpkins have kept their sound fresh. — W.G.
Why now that you mention it, yes we do “want to go for a ride.” Over 25 years later, “Zero” remains one of SP’s most dependable tunes for enlisting the audience to shout along. — W.G.
Going to this tour is an exercise in nostalgia, and what could be more nostalgic than “Disarm,” a song in which Corgan sang, “I used to be a little boy,” at a time when he still had hair? And best of all, the rest of the lyrics serve as a reminder of how terrible being a child could be, so that you can leave the song feeling even happier that you’re a grown ass adult and can do whatever you like. — W.G.
Cameron Crowe’s 1992 film Singles might have been all but forgotten except for the soundtrack, which hosted now-beloved songs by Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and yes, Smashing Pumpkins. “Drown” has some of the most picturesque guitars in all of alternative rock, with gentle chords that lap at the edges of Corgan’s lyrics like ripples in a pond playing in a corpse’s hair. — W.G.
A 25-year-old Billy Corgan might have hated this song, but then again, 25-year-old Billy Corgan had hair. People change, and while the early Pumpkin’s songs had the gritty edge of a city like Chicago, “Ramona” can be appreciated for a beat as irresistibly pleasing as a perfectly manicured suburban lawn. — W.G.
Perhaps their biggest hit to date, “1979” is brimming with the unadulterated bliss of a coming-of-age film montage — and would instantly create goosebumps when sang in unison in an arena. — A.J.