Review — Ball Arena Caught ‘The Spirits On Fire Tour’ with The Smashing Pumpkins

Ball Arena was a rock hot spot last night as L.A.’s Jane’s Addiction and Chicago’s Smashing Pumpkins turned up the volume during their “Spirits on Fire Tour.” Aside from a malfunctioning amplifier — courtesy of James Iha from The Smashing Pumpkins — the night went on without a hitch. Before the two headliners graced the stage, Moriah Pereira, better known as Poppy, showed the crowd why she was there.

The 27-year-old singer who paved her way to stardom via Youtube in 2014 now has over 1.8 million listeners on Spotify and over seven full-length albums. Stylistically, her music differentiated from the other artists of the night but her energy and attitude behind the music were one and the same. Haunting and harnessing, the singer’s vocals go from zero to one hundred at the switch of a verse. Whether it was electropop or nu metal, one thing remained certain — no eyes or ears could glaze over her opening act.

Jane's Addiction, touring band

Jane’s Addiction. Photo courtesy of Jane’s Addiction on Facebook.

As for Jane’s Addiction, the band made sure to put on a show outside of the instruments they were playing. With only an hour to work with, Jane’s Addiction managed to squeeze in nine songs and a background of women dancing in lingerie that oftentimes received the same amount of decibels per applause as the band. Songs like “Stop!” and “Jane Says” were absolutes in their hour-long set. Expressive and iconic with a hint of raunch, Jane’s Addiction provided their original fans with an experience that they could hold on to in the event of a hiatus. Toward the end of their set, lead singer Perry Farrell thanked Denver and shared his excitement about “the fresh powder” with the snow sports enthusiasts in the crowd. From there, the band segued to their last song, “Mountain Song.”Smashing Pumpkins opened their set with “Empires” from the upcoming album, Atum: A Rock Opera In Three Acts. From Gish to Cyr, The Smashing Pumpkins left no stone unturned in their album discography Monday night. And as expected from their lead singer, Billy Corgan turned a routine show into a performance piece of melodies and crackling vocals that only he could do. It was artistic and raw yet the crowd remained passive in their seats. Granted, the genre and tone aren’t the bubbliest but it was odd to only witness heads bobbing and lyrics whispered under their breath. Corgan made several attempts to invite the audience to engage with him, but the arena discreetly refused. There were no feelings lost as the band continued their set, playing song after song with breaks few and far between.

The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins

The group performed its biggest hits including “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “Zero,” an acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight” and a surprise performance of  “Rhinoceros” due to their amplifier issues. There was a lack of action but not of energy. Few danced but all felt the connection from the lyrical precision and stage performance of the unique band.