November 1, 1996. All Saint’s Day. El Dia de los Muertos. And the night the Smashing Pumpkins headlined Hartford Civic Center on their Infinite Sadness tour.
By November of 1996, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was just over a year old. So the Pumpkins were finally getting around to the secondary markets, hence the Hartford date. I don’t know how or why I missed them on the early leg of the tour; they were my favorite band at the time. But my buddy Chris had a lead on tickets for the Hartford date, so we picked up some other buddies and hit the home of the Whalers for the show.
Garbage opened and they were magnificent. All material off the first album, which is my favorite. Once Shirley & Co. wrapped their set and the lights came down for the Pumpkins, me and my buddies rushed the floor, which had been hastily cleared of the chairs that were laid out. The band opened with “Where Boys Fear To Tread” into “Zero,” and the crowd started moving. Behind me stood a girl who couldn’t have been five feet tall, so she was getting lost in the sea of bodies. So I grabbed a cast-off chair, slid it in behind me, and gave her a spot to stand.
The crowd was starting to fill in between my buddies and me, and they were motioning wildly at me to join them–or so I thought. But you see, I had a young lady to look after now, so I let them drift away and enjoyed the bulk of the set with my newfound friend. The concert ended, the lights came up, and I reunited with my friends, who politely informed me that they were motioning wildly earlier because the young lady I was making time with was, how should I put this politely? Substandard? They probably had some choice words, but I wasn’t bothered. I’d made a friend for a time, and taken in a set from my favorite band at the time.
It was a killer set, too. Heavy on the new album, of course, but with a handful of Siamese Dream tracks and “Drown” from the Singles soundtrack. Take a look.