Alternative Nation was lucky enough to witness Smashing Pumpkins history last night, as founding guitarist James Iha reunited with the band for the first time in nearly 16 years at their ‘In Plainsong’ concert in Los Angeles. Iha last performed with The Smashing Pumpkins on December 2, 2000 in Chicago, and following the original incarnation of the band’s split he and Corgan’s relationship was strained for well over a decade.
Alternative Nation ran into Jimmy Chamberlin before the concert, with Chamberlin seeming to be in an anxious mood. It is now clear why. Midway through The Smashing Pumpkins’ set, guitarist Jeff Schroeder left the stage and James Iha suddenly joined Billy Corgan on stage with a guitar in hand. The audience was sent into a frenzy. Corgan proclaimed, “Yes, it’s James Iha.” He then announced that Iha would perform the Siamese Dream portion of the show with the band. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin then came on stage, with Jeff Schroeder also reappearing with current touring members Katie Cole and Sierra Swan. The Pumpkins then performed “Mayonaise,” “Soma,” “Rocket,” “Spaceboy,” “Today,” “Whir,” and “Disarm.” Corgan played keyboard on several songs, with Corgan and Iha performing “Disarm” to close out the Siamese Dream portion of the show.
Iha then reappeared for the encore, where Billy told the crowd there was a birthday boy in the house, and it was James Iha. Billy and the Pumpkins then brought out a birthday cake for James and sang happy birthday to him, with a jovial Corgan embracing him. You just couldn’t wipe the smiles off of Billy and James’ faces.