CHICAGO — Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan performed with
his father, Billy Corgan Sr., for the first time during a benefit at the
Metro club Thursday night. Their two-song blues set was part of an
all-star show that also featured members of the Band, the BoDeans and
“Hello. Some of you don’t know me,” the elder Corgan told the crowd.
“My name is Billy Corgan.”
Said Corgan Jr., “I’d like to thank you for having me at this moment.”
“That’s my boy!,” his father said.
Visually, the Corgans were a study in contrasts. The younger, dressed in
a sharp burgundy suit, stood next to his father, who wore vintage
olive-drab army duds and a Harley Davidson T-shirt.
The dichotomy extended to their music. Both were beaming when they
launched into blues legend Robert Johnson’s “If I Had Possession Over
Judgment Day.” The younger Corgan called the shots and took the solos on
this raucous rocketship ride through Johnson’s eerie classic. They were
backed by the Nicholas Tremulis Band, a local group.
Then the elder Corgan — a top blues session guitarist in Chicago during
the 1960s — stepped to the fore for a more traditional Chicago blues
number, which was written on the setlist as “Muddy Waters”; it contained
lyrics from Jimmie Rodgers’ “T For Texas.” Pulling out solos from his
black Flying V guitar, Corgan Sr. elicited cheers from the crowd and a
look on his son’s face that suggested, “Damn, look at him!”
The concert, dubbed “The First Waltz,” was loosely organized as a
tribute to the Band’s 1976 farewell performance, which was filmed for
the concert movie “The Last Waltz.” Proceeds benefited Neon Street, an
organization providing services for homeless teen-agers in Chicago.