The Smashing Pumpkins have been one of my favourite bands for years and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to follow them on tour a number of times and shoot some of their shows. Since we’re leading up to their next Australian tour for Soundwave Festival, I thought I’d share some of my favourite images I’ve taken on their tours from 2008, 2010 and 2012.
If you’d like to see more, you can view them on my Flickr.
2008 ‘Zeitgeist’ Tour
I’d seen Billy Corgan play live at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne in 2005 for his solo tour, but 2008 was my first time finally seeing the Smashing Pumpkins live. In March 2008, I flew to Sydney to see them perform twice. The first was for MTV’s The Lair at The Metro, where they played just three songs (The Rose March, 1979 and Lips Like Sugar), and I was lucky enough to get into the taping to watch. The next day I had a ticket to see the band headline V Festival at Sydney’s Centennial Park with Queens Of The Stone Age, Modest Mouse, Duran Duran and more.
Next I flew back to Melbourne to see them play two more shows – at Festival Hall in Melbourne, and V Festival in Melbourne the following weekend. It was a whirlwind trip that also involved meeting Jimmy Chamberlain at a signing in Parramatta, and I’ll always remember those few days as one of the best weeks of my life.
This tour was great, but unfortunately for me it was about 6 months before I started shooting gigs with a DSLR, so I only have a couple of half decent photos. This tour was also the only chance I ever got to see Jimmy Chamberlain play live.
2010 ‘Teargarden By Kaleidyscope’ Tour
In October 2010, the Smashing Pumpkins announced a last minute Australian tour. By now I’d been shooting gigs for nearly two years, so it was finally my chance to get some good shots of the band.
As well as having a photo pass for the Melbourne gig, I won a competition through Faster Louder to watch the band soundcheck before the gig and meet the band – despite the lack of original members, it was still pretty much a dream come true. Billy signed my Siamese Dream vinyl and I snapped a couple of shots with just my 50mm during rehearsal.
At this time I was shooting with a Nikon D80, and their Melbourne gig was a sound desk shoot so I was up the back with my 70-200mm praying for some decent shots. Then I quickly cloaked my gear and ran back inside just in time to hear Ava Adore.
Next I flew to Brisbane for a second show because they were playing at the Tivoli – a much more intimate venue compared with Festival Hall or the Hordern (Sydney). I didn’t get a photo pass for this one, but was front row and managed to sneak in my camera to get a few shots. This one was a great gig with a great set list, including Disarm acoustic – it was probably my favourite gig I’ve ever seen the band play, the energy from both the band and the fans was great.
2012 ‘Oceania’ Tour
In August 2012, the band returned to Australia for their epic ‘Oceania’ tour. I got a photo pass for their Melbourne show at Hisense Area, and this time they (either the band or promoter) had us shoot from the crowd – we could shoot the whole show though. This was a pretty epic show, I had a front row position and even though I was restricted with moving to get a different angle, I was still able to get some shots of each member.
On this tour they played Oceania in full, and then returned for a mix of old tracks. It felt like a really special show, and I think the fans all felt the same way.
For this one I was shooting with a Nikon D7000 and a 70-200mm.
2015 ‘Monuments To An Elegy’ Tour
Back in January I was lucky enough to have one of my photos of Billy Corgan chosen as the cover for Mixdown Magazine from their 2012 tour, and some other live images featured throughout the magazine.
Next week I’ll be seeing the band live four times, and hopefully shooting every performance. I’ll be at Soundwave Melbourne, Soundwave Sydney, and their two Sidewaves – Festival Hall in Melbourne and the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney. Stay tuned for more photos from their 2015 Australian tour – it’s going to be great.