Tearful Corgan calls time on Pumpkins at emotional Chicago show...

SMASHING PUMPKINS said their final
farewell at the 1,100-capacity CHICAGO
METRO club last night (December 2).

Some fans had kept vigil for up to two days in
freezing temperatures outside the venue where supports
with bands such as Jane's Addiction
had helped secure their place as one of
America's most popular international
rock acts.

The show which marked the end of their 13-year
career lasted four hours, drawing from their back
catalogue. They were joined on stage by Cheap
Trick's Rick Nielsen and
Billy Corgan's father, Bill
Snr, who had appeared alongside them at their
show Chicago on Thursday last week.
He sang a cover of blues standard 'Born Under
A Bad Sign'. Former Pumpkins
drummer Matt Walker also joined them
onstage, while Jimmy Chamberlain
switched to acoustic guitar. There was no sign of
ex-bassist D'Arcy Wretzky, who left
the band earlier this year to be replaced by
Melissa Auf der Maur.

'It was a great, warm atmosphere,' said fan
Laura Frankowski of nearby
Lombard, Illinois, who first saw the
band at Metro in 1988. 'All the
people in the crowd either stood in line for 20 hours
(when general admission tickets went on sale in
October) or paid an arm and a leg to buy tickets, so
the atmosphere was great. It's definitely something
I'm going to remember for the rest of my life.'

During the day, fans without tickets gathered from
near and far (Argentina, Toronto and
California were among the places
represented). Few, if any, got lucky. A pair of
tickets that turned out to be counterfeit went for
$800 to two Canadian fans, who at least got their
money back from the scalper with help from the local
police. A security guard reported seeing at least a
dozen fake tickets in the hands of disappointed fans.
Real tickets reportedly had a price tag of up to
$4,300, more than 100 times the original $35 price.

'I saw a kid get caught with a counterfeit ticket.
They used a black light at the door to check it. He
paid $175 for it,' said hopeful fan Grace
Lally, who waited outside the venue during
the Pumpkins' set after failing to
find a willing ticket seller. 'They just laughed me
away. They were asking $4,000 a piece. If I had a
ticket, I wouldn't have sold it.'

Back inside on the Metro's stage,
the end was close at hand and the hard-driving band
appeared more at ease than ever.

'They had a lot of fun,' Liz
Gilbert of Downers Grove,
Ill., said after the show. "They'd laugh and
crack a lot of jokes. It was much more laid back than
other shows."

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