William Patrick Corgan Plays His Beautiful Solo Work at Athenaeum Theatre

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.

For both of Corgan’s encores, he indulged the audience and played some of the Smashing Pumpkin’s biggest hits, including “1979” and “Today.” He also had some fun with cover songs, most notably an acoustic cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” To see William Patrick Corgan sing a Miley Cyrus song in a modest theater was something his fans will never forget.
Kate Scott
Kate Scott

Kate Scott Daly specializes in music journalism. Her body of work includes live documenting over 200 bands, reviewing several albums and concerts, and multiple artist interviews. Kate continues to brave the photo pits of major music venues and outdoor festivals throughout the Chicagoland scene.

Plan Your Life with 3CR Highlights

Join Our Newsletter today!