Smashing Pumpkins halt Birmingham show as guitarist says 'I'm trying'

Smashing Pumpkins' stalwart guitarist James Iha gave a resounding thumbs up to Birmingham at the band's first show on its 2024 tour.

Taking to the stage at the Utilita Arena last night, the two-hour set was a journey through some of their monster hits like Today and 1979 and more recent offerings like Empires and Springtimes from their latest album Atum.

Read more: Smashing Pumpkins at Utilita Arena Birmingham - full show review

And James was happy to praise the city chosen to kick off the 2024 dates on their The World is a Vampire tour - the name itself a nod to another 90s hit, Bullet with Butterfly Wings.

"I am trying to take in everything Birmingham can give us. It's a beautiful place," he told an exuberant, near sell-out crowd.

Billy Corgan, his long-time band mate and the Pumpkins' iconic singer and songwriter, added: "We are so proud and honoured to be with you on this lovely night here in the United Kingdom.

"And of course, for The Smashing Pumpkins, to be in the home of heavy metal in Birmingham."

To which, Iha responded: "They told me it's 'Burm-a-nam'."

Corgan played a few bars from Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf, praising the "genius" of blending Birmingham's heavy metal heritage and the song's rather controversial subject matter.

At one point, Corgan suggested they played some Oasis but Iha had to correct him and point out that it might be more appropriate for their show next Thursday in Manchester.

The Smashing Pumpkins are playing five more UK and Ireland dates before hitting mainland Europe during June and July and then back to North America.

They are being supported by Weezer and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello among others.