Alternative Nation posted an article about first day ticket sales for The Smashing Pumpkins’ Shiny and Oh So Bright tour a couple of days ago. The article was inspired by a friend posting a photo of Billy Corgan looking at his phone and reacting to ticket sales, seemingly very pleased. We posted screenshots from ticket sales showing that sales were strong in major cities in big metro areas like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Duluth, Uncasville, Kansas City, and Austin, but much slower in other cities like Miami, Glendale, Louisville, Salt Lake City, and Portland.
Our article laid out how the expectations for early sales for a tour like this were difficult to gauge based on how this reunion is very different to other bands like Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots who reunited in the past, especially since Billy Corgan has carried on the name on his own and D’arcy Wretzky is absent from this tour’s lineup. Guns N’ Roses also isn’t a fair comparison due to the iconic stature of Axl Rose and Slash. Our article presented the charts, and was overall very supportive. Alternative Nation are big supporters of The Smashing Pumpkins and want to see the tour do well, and we definitely think it has a shot at being a big success. While we’ve published our interview with D’arcy where she’s very critical, we support all of the Pumpkins’ original members.
After our ticket sales article, Consequence of Sound published their own titled ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ reunion tour doesn’t appear to be selling well.’ This led to a strong reaction by The Smashing Pumpkins fan community, including on The Smashing Pumpkins fan Facebook group. Keep in mind this group are big supporters of Billy Corgan, they even ban links to Alternative Nation’s interview with D’arcy, so this isn’t a discussion from a place like Netphoria that dislikes him. Several fans discussed why some of the shows are slower in sales in a thread on Sunday, before it was deleted by moderators. Below are some of the posts by fans, where some complain about ticket prices, claim that Radiohead’s shows at the same venues are selling better, and others say everybody should remain patient.
“I guess tickets aren’t exactly flying off the shelves. ?”
“Well to start with they’re a bit overpriced! I mean hundreds and thousands for some seats!? Cmon!”
“Yeah $150 for the entire lower bowl is silly.”
“I’m going to Pitt and they want over $500 for the front I mean come the fuck on! It’s not like Pink Floyd is back together or The Stones are touring with Clapton or something.”
“They want $1500 for front row platinum seats in Toronto. Get fucking real.”
“I saw something similar $1250 for front row in Toronto. I was telling people that Ticketmaster would have to build me a time machine and give me a ticket to the final Metro show for that price…that’s how much scalpers were charging for those tickets.”
“I know several people who are going that haven’t bought tickets yet. They’re not die hard fans.”
“I’m a die hard fan and I havn’t bought tickets yet. I’m sure loads of people are just waiting for ticket prices to go down.”
“They’ll drop the prices eventually.”
“No they won’t. Those are set in stone. TM may offer some weird promotional discount or sell them through Groupon, but those are last resort tactics for really bad sales. Like the Oceania tour.”
“It will be okay. There’s 5 months left to sell tickets.”
“I thought they tried doing some Groupon fire sales last time. I always buy tickets the day of but I didn’t this time because I knew those venues wouldn’t sell out.”
“Just to compare: Radiohead are touring the same venues in the same cities and nearly all tickets were sold within an hour or two. They were cheaper too. $230 for a pair vs $350 for SP.”
“There was no reason for SP to try and fill these kind of venues. They could have had better shows at smaller venues. The demand wasn’t there.”
“Yeah I bought Radiohead tickets! They WERE cheaper!”
“i bought two radiohead floors GA for 210, two pumpkins row 13 for 290.”
“let’s be honest interest will pick up if they add Darcy! Oh man I’m praying it comes to fruition.”
“i dont care about D’arcy at this point. She ruined it.”
“My attitude is I want all of them back together on good positive vibes! Just letting all the bs past social media nonsense go and rocking out and vibing together!”
“Funny how many people are boycotting the show over the least important, least talented filler band member. Just goes to show how many don’t really know anything about the Pumpkins.”
“yup. People dont listen to music anymore.. everyone seems to be a casual music fans and only knows hits. And most people are sheep.”
“I’m not sure it’s a matter of people boycotting the shows, it’s a matter of these venues being huge and the fan base being what it is. It’s been a long time since SP was filling arenas. The fan base is passionate, but it’s not as large as some people think.”
“In my opinion, Radiohead used to be great. Not anymore. The Smashing Pumpkins are still great and I’ll spend whatever it takes to see them.”
“Some cities are doing okay – Chicago, LA, NYC, Nashville, and some others. Some aren’t doing well at all.”
“I was happy to have paid over $600 each for front row seats. I’m almost guaranteed not to hear the type of bitching and complaining like I did from some idiots during the Plainsong tour. I wanted to throw them out myself.”
“When i look to buy detroit tickets, im pretty sure the ones left are all from scalpers. This means they were sold and the pumpkins made their money. The scalpers are the ones that are going to lose here.”
“There’s over 5 months until the start of the tour, and I can guarantee that those arenas will be mostly filled…just because they don’t sell out immediately, means absolutely nothing.”
“I’ll be spending over $30,000 on this tour. I’ll be spending ZERO on Radiohead’s tour.”
“Why does everyone care about how well it sells? They booked it knowing what they were up against. We’re going to a SP show in the same vain if it was a 3000 venue theater.”
“Because it will have an impact on the future of the band especially with regard to touring. We all want them to be successful because we love the music and know that it deserves to be.”
“too ambitious this was the same run Guns n Roses just went on. Billy adding James is not Axl adding Slash. And the prices aren’t that different. I love SP just being honest. So I say let’s enjoy the show.”
“Also, radio head might have sold out, but I can get online and buy tickets right now. Which means that not everyone going has purchased their tickets yet.”
“To all the Radiohead haters here.. looks at Brad Davis, they put on the best damn show I’ve ever seen in my life last year, and they’re just as current as SP.. A Moon Shaped Pool is an awesome album.. they still continue to release music I’m blown away by regularly.”
“Price point is fairly high. More people will buy tickets, price drops will probably happen once it gets close. I have noticed Groupons for bands over the past few years in CBus. $99-$125 is a lot to pay.”
“It’s been two days guys – this is the first time I’ve ever bought tickets for a bands show even close to the day they started selling. I remember for the Plainsong tour they did in ’16 I didn’t buy tickets for that until 3 weeks before the show. The tour with Manson in ’15, I bought them maybe a month or two out. Same with every other band I go see.”
“Fucking lol if you are offended by a frank discussion about ticketing sales and pricing. It has nothing to do with how much you love the goddamn pumpkins.”
“What’s funny about that consequence of sound article that’s clearly click bait at its finest, is that the screenshots of all the arenas showing the “lack of sales,” were all taken a short time after the tickets went on sale…to anyone questioning whether or not they will fill the majority of the arena, check back before the tour starts and keep your brainless argument going.”
“Im sure there’s a bunch of folks who needed to save up before buying tickets. I mean they did spring a tour on us fast. And then ticket sales within days. That’s poor marketing right there. I honestly don’t understand arena shows. But I’m sure they’ll sell well enough.”
The Smashing Pumpkins Reddit, which is also very pro Billy Corgan, has also had an interesting discussion about ticket sales.
I’m not sure how they thought they could sell out these giant arenas. Billy has earned enough credit with me that I will see anything he does. Add Jimmy and forget about it. I would pay $50 to watch that guy drum on a bucket, but I’m a rare bird. For people at large the brand has been sullied with clickbait headlines about Billy, revolving door of nobodies, and club tours. It would be hard to turn around from that and simply decide that a massive arena tour would garner any excitement outside the fan base. The Plainsong Tour was the same line-up sans James and it was small to mid theaters. How could adding James sell 17,000 more tickets? You could add Jimmy Page and Slash and not sell that many more tickets. End Times wasn’t a blockbuster tour either. This is basically End Times with James. I’m excited as fuck, but … They should just sell out 5-10k seaters and do multiple nights in big markets. They’re better in those venues anyway.
I was so confused when I saw they were going the arena route. I don’t even know if Radiohead could do an arena tour (possibly, but there are key differences between these bands) – and Radiohead is doing MSG this summer, but they rarely play and that’s a one-off, they’re not doing a full scale arena circuit.
My theory on the band now is that Billy has intentionally isolated himself. I think this is why Jimmy said that he could no longer contribute to something he “didn’t fully possess” when he left the band the last time. I think Billy makes 100% of the decisions in the band – tracklisting, single choice, lyrics, guitars, drum parts, bass lines, tour planning, who’s in the band— etc. Literally everything. I love BC but the guy needs to be reeled in and there are countless documented cases during the band’s heyday. “Ruby”, which you guy started a petition for, wouldn’t even be on MCIS without Jimmy. D’Arcy helped pick which songs should go on/off albums, Billy citing her as having the best taste of the band. Virgin CEO had to beg for “BWBW” to be lead single over “Jellybelly”. Look, I don’t give a fuck how much you like “Jellybelly” (I love that song, it’s so fucking good), it’s lunacy to pick that over BWBW in 1996 when you need an anthem to sell a double-record in the wake of grunge’s death.
I don’t think Billy “lost it”, but I think he has lost the choir of people around him that kept him in check and helped guide his vision. Doing a stadium tour when you don’t even have an album out? And you haven’t released a charting single in over a decade? You don’t have all the original members? AND you’re going to (obviously have to) charge HUNDREDS of dollars for tickets?
This is not a winning formula. I totally believe D’Arcy when she recently said she got tired of trying to reel him back over the edge. It’s so obvious. I got tickets to the LA show but I paid $150. For reference I paid $200 for (slightly worse) seats at the United Center show in 2000. This is ridiculous. I have money to burn, but not everyone does, you can’t expect to sell tickets in this atmosphere. In the FB comments section of their ad there are SO MANY people saying, “I wish I could go”, but they don’t have the money.
I would bet money that Billy will blame the fans and/or our culture/society when/if it doesn’t sell well. I was there when he did it for TFE not selling. Mark my words.