Smashing Pumpkins fans know him as Billy Corgan, but the veteran rocker is now using his full name as a solo artist. With the release of his first solo album in over a decade, Corgan has been touring the U.S. playing a number of intimate shows at unexpected places. The Athenaeum Theatre mostly hosts theatrical productions and stand-up comedy, but Corgan’s acoustic performance was right at home in this cozy venue. Corgan started his second night at the theater with “Zowie,” a tribute to David Bowie (the song is a nod to Bowie’s son Duncan Jones, who was first known as Zowie Bowie). The song is off Corgan’s newest album, Ogilala, and proudly displays his signature vocals and a soft, somber piano.
Ogilala is a primarily acoustic album and features Corgan’s first collaboration with former Smashing Pumpkins member James Iha in 17 years. “Processional” is the second track on the album, and Corgan played it solo at the Athenaeum to a round of applause. The Smashing Pumpkins went through a tumultuous breakup in 2000, and although the band reformed in 2005, both Iha and original bassist D’arcy Wretzky turned down the opportunity. The fact that Corgan and Iha have seemed to bury the hatchet since the original lineup’s dispersal is a huge excitement for Smashing Pumpkins fans.