Live at Liberty Hall
November 12, 2019
Good Monster Grade: A+
Perhaps you do not recognize Billy Corgan’s name, but most surely you have heard his voice. His voice was singing in the background when you were trying to kiss that pretty girl. It crooned in the foreground whilst wreaking havoc. It aided you as an astronaut while exploring your mind, feelings, and the universe. Billy’s voice was the one that seemed to sing to your soul, as if he knew all the woes of the world. As the front man for the iconic band, The Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan whined his way too many classic hits with the band and also as a solo artist. Corgan along with bandmates James Iha, D’arcy, and Jimmy Chamberlin are responsible for such songs as “Today”, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, and “1979”. The discography of Billy Corgan is massive, melodic, and amazing.
There are a handful of my heroes still alive. For these people I would change plans to witness their art. Eddie Vedder, Joe Rogan, Beck, Dave Chappelle, Weird Al Yankovic, and Billy Corgan are among the living legends on my list of acts I cannot miss. When I heard Billy would be in Lawrence, Kansas and under three miles from where I reside, I knew there was no excuse convincing enough to usurp my desire to see one of my idols.
The venue was impressive. Liberty Hall is located on Massachusetts Street. I heard it had a reputation for being bold and honest in the content they presented. I was eager to go see for myself. My ticket was sixty dollars, a bit on the pricier end I admit, but Billy was worth it. I went through security and found my seat. I was amazed at how intimate the venue was. All seats were moderately close to the stage, even the balcony! Whereas somewhere like the Lied Center you need binoculars to see the stage, Liberty Hall was pleasantly personal. Cosmic art adorns the walls of the theater. The chairs were basic and fold-out. The beers were fairly priced. A lone piano sat upon the stage. The theater was only a little more than half full. Those in the crowd were all fans. Then Billy came out.
Music can become a friend. Songs feel like companions. Melodies can store memories. The man behind the voice of my adolescence walked onto the stage before me. He wore a long black cloak with an emblem on the back. He was dressed in all black. He had a guitar slung around his neck. His energy was reverent and even timid. Then he sang. The magic washed over everyone present. He received multiple standing ovations. At several points in the show he spoke to us about his life and music. He seemed very jaded by fame and show business. He had an unlabeled spray on stage that he would squirt in his mouth about every other song. He told us that whenever anybody asked him what was in his bottle he always told them the same thing. The crowd was silent as I shouted “What is in the bottle?!” to which he responded “cocaine.” I had had a micro-interaction with Billy Corgan and I was stoked. He played classic Smashing Pumpkins songs like “Perfect”, “Disarm”, and “Tonight, Tonight”. He serenaded us with new songs and old, every one of them enjoyable. His skills on the piano were equally impressive. It was a great night. Three hours went by too fast. The show came to an end and Billy Corgan bid us farewell.
I hung out behind the venue to meet Billy. I was told by multiple of his roadies that he would not hang out in the cold night and talk. That was alright with me, I just wanted to see him. I waited about 45 minutes. During that time a van pulled up beside the building. Suddenly, Billy came out. He was dressed in a green fur coat and bundled up to the max. Two security guards walked alongside him. As he walked by, I told him what a great show it was and expressed my gratitude for him coming to Lawrence. He paid no attention, entered the van, closed the sliding door, and was shuttled off into the night. There went a legend, I thought, one of the last true rock stars. I smiled dumbly as I walked off into the night. On the down low, Billy Corgan may or may not be a vampire.
I highly recommend the venue, Liberty Hall. I infinitely endorse The Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan. If you do not know who those names are, please check out some of their music. I would describe them as highly emotional, sensitive, painful, and haunting.
This review contains adult language, bias points of view, and personal opinions. For entertainment purposes only. Reader discretion is advised.