Smashing Pumpkins, Interpol, and Rival Sons @PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte, NC 8-22-23

Smashing Pumpkins @ PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte, NC 8-22-23

90s alternative rock legends The Smashing Pumpkins are spending the summer out on the road bringing their music to the masses once again with The World Is a Vampire Tour. Led by frontman Billy Corgan, The Smashing Pumpkins ruled the airwaves in the late 90s after their third album ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’.  This paved the way for commercial success establishing the Pumpkins and indeed Corgan himself as gods of alternative rock. The 28-track double album stands the test of time with standout classics “Tonight, Tonight,” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings.” Over the years, the band has continued putting out top-quality music, always experimenting and revitalizing their sound with every new record. Their most recent release was the rock opera ‘Atum: A Rock Opera in Three Acts’ which was released this past May to much critical acclaim. 

This past Tuesday, the Pumpkins made a stop at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte bringing Interpol, and Rival Sons along to play to a near-capacity crowd. The evening got started early with a surprise as Corgan brought his affiliation with NWA Wrestling to the Queen City with a live match at the Pavilion prior to the show getting started. I was unaware of his involvement in professional wrestling as were some other fans, but a lot of people turned out early to see the women’s match go down and it was definitely something different to experience. 

Musically, the evening kicked off with the bluesy rock of Rival Sons. Led by lead vocalist Jay Buchanan, the band hit the stage hard bringing us rock the way it was intended. There were no bells and whistles just a group of talented musicians doing what they do best and keeping classic blues rock alive. If you’re heading out to see the tour, get there early and be sure to catch Rival Sons’ set. 

Next up was an act that I had never had the pleasure of seeing live before, Interpol. Much like their name, Interpol’s music is mysterious in a dreamy, indie-rock way. It’s definitely a different vibe and their appearance brought out a large group of hardcore fans that were super excited to see the band live. Lead vocalist Paul Banks was a commanding presence on the stage and Daniel Kessler was outstanding on both lead guitar and piano. Their music was accompanied by lots of red and white lighting that helped further set the dreamy mood. Although this was my first time checking out Interpol, I definitely hope it won’t be my last. 

After a short break, it was finally time for The Smashing Pumpkins to hit the stage. The venue lights went dark and the stage was lit up with a series of bright white lights, changing patterns as the seconds went by. One by one, the band took their spots on stage with James Iha on guitar, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and of course, the man himself, Billy Corgan taking his place center stage. Corgan was clad in his usual attire, black, ankle-length coat, and under-the-eye makeup as a taped version of “Atum” played. 

The lights went dark, extremely dark on stage, and the band kicked into “The Everlasting Gaze” to start things off. The stage setup was simple, just the musicians and walls of amplifiers surrounded by their lighting rig. Corgan kept to his persona, hanging back from the lights, throwing devil horns to the fans up front in the pit, and allowing his vocals to soar over the venue. The band sounded tight and ferocious even in the simplest musical moments which if you know Smashing Pumpkins can be quite complex. 

The setlist was pulled from the band’s entire catalog with a few covers thrown in for good measure including Talking Heads’ “Once In a Lifetime.” There were somber moments and beautiful moments as well especially during their acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight,” which featured Iha and Corgan alone with acoustic guitars. But of course, The Smashing Pumpkins are a rock band, and rock us they did. Throughout it all, we were treated to a brilliant light show which added to the overall experience as the stage lighting helped set the mood for certain songs whether we were going back to “1979” or content to still be a rat in a cage. 

Corgan and company always put on a great show and this show was no exception to that rule. It was a sonic explosion at PNC Music Pavilion that Charlotte music fans will not soon forget.  

Set List:


The Everlasting Gaze

Doomsday Clock

Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads cover)




The Celestials

Purple Blood

Ava Adore

Tonight, Tonight (Acoustic)

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

This Time


Hubble Bubble (Toil and Trouble) (Manfred Mann cover)






Cherub Rock


We would like to than Kim Shiver from Livenation for the credentials to review the show.