The story of how I got first row seats for The Smashing Pumpkins

A quick story on the concerts and things I’ve done for The Smashing Pumpkins, my favorite band in the world.

Siamese Dream Era

I think it was Disarm the very first Smashing Pumpkins song I heard in my life, some time around 1993 or 1994 in a local music video channel in Monterrey. Unfortunatelly they had the bad habit of not showing the song or band name in most of the videos, so it was until 1995 that I saw again that guy in silver pants in the BWBW video that I realized who that band was and simply fell for them, altough there was Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden etc. leading the grunge alternative movement at that time.


I remember asking my mother for some extra money, since Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness was a double album (the best-selling double album of the 90’s) and it evidently costed more than what a 15 year-old could afford. I maybe heard BWBW and 1979 like one million times before ever listening to any other songs in the record. Needless to say the influence it was for me in my writing, and later musically, when I started to self-learn guitar when my mother gave me one as present at 16.

Around those days I started high school and as any die-hard-fan to be I obviously used to wear my ZERO t-shirt a lot. I remember getting to school in the morning and sometimes three guys stared at me, my paranoia told me they were jealous because I had that shirt and they didn’t. Never confirmed that theory actually, eventhough one of them is my best friend to date, Daniel, but at that moment it was more important knowing that I was not alone. Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, we grunge/alternative people are the predecessors of Emos.

Adore Era

It was until 1998 that I could have the chance of attending a concert of theirs in Mexico City for the Adore tour. It was perfect, round bus trip, ticket, some meal for a very affordable price. Daniel for some reasons that I cannot remember couldn’t attend, so it was up to me to buy the tour deal and get into a bus with unknown people and have probably the best experience in my life up to that point. I still regret being afraid of going alone and missing the show.

Machina Era

Around the year 2000 the Pumkpins released a long awaited album, “Machina: The Machines of God”. Along with it, I started putting together what I called “The Awaited Tribute to The Smashing Pumpkins” (I confess I took the name from a Depeche Mode tribute album) at Café Iguana, a rock sanctuary in Monterrey. We did huge promotion, a very good friend of mine designed the posters, flyers, emails, etc. There was something lovely about that tribute, we gathered an army of fans through ICQ initially and then people just keep inviting friends and friends until suddenly we became some Fight Club kind of thing. We would wear SP shirts and go to any place where there was people, music, record stores, radio and TV rock shows, just spreading the word for what ultimatelly became something bigger than the tribute itself… we founded the Everlasting Pumpkinfans.

Anyway, the show sucked and it hurts more because the place was sold-out, around 350+ people according to the administrators of the bar. The performance was terrible because of lack of commitment of the other bands, and to be honest my band itself was not that good for such a responsability, I singed worse than I do now, etc, etc, etc. I think there were some people that liked it, but just because it was something never done before and there were too many emotions in the atmosphere that day. Still today I feel I owe a really good gig to that place.

But we had created something, the yahoo e-group got to over 120 members only in Monterrey (there was no Facebook at that time) and we got in contact with other network fans in Mexico City and Guadalajara. We once had a “national meeting” with over 40 people at Farias’ house, just singing SP all night long, talking, drinking, sharing toughts, song meanings, OUR meanings, which were the most important. I used to say that Monterrey was home of the world-wide famous “Pumpkin Pedas” (Pumpkin Parties with lots of alcohol… yes we’re geeks). This was later proved as we got in touch with other fans in Chile and Argentina, and I’m not kidding, they knew about our parties!

smashing pumpkins fans, monterrey, méxico

Finally on May 13th 2000 I attended my first Smashing Pumpkins concert at Aerial Theater in Houston, Texas (Verizon Theater nowadays in Texas Av.), three days after my 20th b-day, how can I forget. After the show my aunt who was hosting me went to pick me up and it was her who offered to wait a bit while I went to the back door to see if I could see the band.

The bus was parked in the middle of a street, while the sidewalks were blocked with barricades. Jimmy was the first to come out, I have his autograph inside my “Aeroplane Flies High” B-Sides Box Set in my mother’s house in Monterrey. James was next, he just came to hi five us. Melissa went directly into the bus and didn’t came out after.

Billy came also to the barricade, he didn’t gave out any autographs (which I later got by asking my friend Tagino to attend an autograph day at Barnes and Nobles in DC when Billy published his book Blinking With Fists in 2004), nor approached anyone else, but me. It was the first time that I shook hands with him and the first time I had to ask him to please come to México. 10 days later, May 23rd, Billy announced in LA that the band was splitting up. I was lucky to see them.

libro billy corgan blinking with fists autografiado

Zwan & BC Solo Era

On April 2004 I went again to Houston to see Zwan, Billy’s project after SP and his solo project in Dallas in 2005.

Zeitgeist Era

In 2006 he called for a Smashing Pumpkins’ reunion and we got to see them on the Zeitgeist Tour in Tucson Arizona in September and Dallas Tx in November 2007. It was Dallas when I got to talk to him again and of course repeat my “Go to México” request. I was with my friend Daniel and he took the time to talk to us and explain to us about the costs of putting up a single concert, etc, etc.

billy corgan post concert dallas texas

But he had something prepared for us, because a few weeks later, the Smashing Pumpkins announced a Latin America Tour, initially with only Mexico City scheduled for April 12th 2008. Weeks after, dates for Guadalajara and Monterrey were announced for April 14th and 16th respectively. I remember going to the Mexico concert and coming back to Monterrey on Sunday the 15th, I was so excited so I looked for tickets for Guadalajara and traveled Monday morning there. I called my boss to tell him I decided to skip work Monday and Tuesday to attend the show, he was so pissed off!

I came back on Tuesday afternoon directly from the airport to the Camino Real Hotel in Monterrey. A friend of ours working in a local newspaper had interviewed Billy in his hotel room and told us they were staying there. We were like 10-12 fans and friends waiting for around 2 hours until Billy finally came down to the bar to us. I remember he said “Let’s make a deal, I give you an autograph and a picture and you leave me alone!!!” … we agreed (I love his sense of humor). I had his autograph already so I exchanged that for a few words where I reminded him the couple of times we had met before (he said he remembered the Dallas one) and gave him a letter that I wrote and had been carrying around hoping to give it to him in any of the three cities.

ernesto ibarra, billy corgan, ernst kappa

The Monterrey show next day was special, it was what we have been always waiting for, the Everlasting Pumpkin Fans closing a beautiful cycle and time in our lives. I cannot even describe the feelings in each of the songs they played, I just tried to relax, enjoy and sing along with the rest of my friends there. There was a point in which he approached and played a solo in front of us, I guess he does recognizes his stalkers (I mean, fans!) very well.

billy corgan, monterrey, arena monterrey

There is a phrase in one of the Oasis songs that says “Please don’t put your life in the hands or a rock & roll band, they’ll throw it all away”…… and maybe they are right, but whatever means or reasons brought us together, I can say its been a rocking fuckin’ amazing journey. And by the way, how I got those first row seats? A friend of ours got them for us by hacking into the tickets website. Remember we are a kind of Fight Club!

smashing pumpkins, monterrey, first row, primera fila

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post Next Post
Mexican blogger living abroad and writing about experiences of traveling around México, Italy, India and Spain.


Add Your Comment
    • gerardo
    • August 22, 2010

    Me encantó revivir todos esos momentos, gracias carnal.

    • Eder Iván
    • August 20, 2011

    Yo también estuve en ése concierto, de lo mejor que he vivido, obvio también quería en las primeras filas, pero era mi época de estudiante, estaba en el último año de medicina, aún así estuve en cancha, como en la fila 17. Que chido recordar todo eso, que bueno que hayan publicado tu historia, es un orgullo que se hayan fijado en un gran fan de Monterrey, por que supongo que les llegan miles de historias. Ojalá nos toque verlos otra vez en nuestra ciudad. A mi me recomendaron el grupo de fans, pero solo los conoci por facebook.

    A seguir rockeando!!!

    1. gracias por tu post!

    • Anonymous
    • August 20, 2011

    Me gusto el concierto, lo que no me gustó tanto fue el ritmo que le dieron a ciertas canciones. Entiendo que no tiene que ser “como en el album” pero creo que algunas canciones las hicieron casi correteados. Espero que no hayas sido tu al que le dijo que su playera de Zero era pirata jajaja. Ahh y muy chida su canción del “monorail”, como pronunciaba Monterrey…Monterrey, you are so gay jajja..buen puntacho.
    Por cierto, terminando el concierto me fui de stalker al Camino Real y me sorprendio ver tan poca gente esperandolos. Creo que como fan de los SP suponpia que iba a estar repleto de gente como si fueran los Jonas Brothers jaja.
    En fin. Saludos!

    1. gracias bro. bueno las rolas siempre las tocan diferente de alguna forma y tienden a tocarlas muy rápido. no, no fui yo el de la camiseta de zero, pero hicieron mucho pedo por eso, la vdd el wey si es mamón pero nadamás. lo q me cagó fueron los pendejos de el norte. nadie hizo pedo x ejemplo hace poco q dave grohl se le pasó de lanza a un wey en un concierto. pero en fin, saludos!

    • Andres
    • August 20, 2011

    La persona que escribio esto, por favor agregame en el facebook…Soy de Ecuador y tambien soy fan desde los 15 años (Actualmente tengo 30) y el año pasado viaje a Lima – Peru solo por los Pumpkins y tuve la suerte de tomarme una foto con Billy…Todos los pumpkins hermanos debemos estar unidos yeiiii

    1. Q tal Andrés, mi fb es
      saludos desde la India

    • Octavio Gaona
    • August 20, 2011

    Felicidades Neto, que se sepa que Monterrey es la ciudad con mas fans pumpkins de todo México, al menos en proporcion…….

    1. gracias carnal, este post va por todos los EPF´s
      q se sienta el pumpkin power regio! jajaa

    • Paco
    • August 20, 2011

    Yo estuve en el hotel contigo, en el trato con billy, en el bar , etc etc y gracias a abe por el hack de el sitio de los boletos, buenos, buenos momentos

    1. asi es k. q buenos tiempos
      abrazo enorme

    • August 20, 2011

    i am in the last picture!!! best concert ever

    ahi salgo yo en la ultima foto en una de las mejores noches de mi vida

Leave a Reply

Translate »