Springsteen, Smashing Pumpkins Mark Reunions

Boss kicks off tour with E Street Band; Pumpkins welcome back former drummer.

Rock giants from two generations celebrated reunions this weekend.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band launched their first tour together in a decade with an arena show heavy on hits Friday in Barcelona, Spain. The following night, the Smashing Pumpkins took the stage with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin in a Detroit club, ending a nearly three-year separation between the modern rockers and their original drummer.

"This is a special night," Springsteen told a crowd of 20,000 at Palau Sant Jordi. "This is the rebirth of a band."

The Boss and his Jersey Shore band -- guitarists Steve Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren and Patti Scialfa, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, pianist Roy Bittan, organist Danny Federici, bassist Garry Tallent and drummer Max Weinberg -- charged through a set packed with 1970s and '80s classics such as "Born to Run" (RealAudio excerpt), "Prove It All Night" and "Two Hearts."

The nearly three-hour show was surprisingly short on songs from Tracks, Springsteen's 1998 box set of outtakes and rarities, many of them originally recorded with the E Street Band. The only song they played from the collection was the set opener, a rousing "My Love Will Not Let You Down."

They closed the show with a new, unreleased song, "Land of Hopes and Dreams," which they debuted at warm-up shows last month in Asbury Park, N.J.

"[Seeing Springsteen perform] with these guys, you can really feel the difference," said 25-year-old Victor Maled. The tour, which hits the United States in July, marks the first time Springsteen has toured with his famed backing band since he fired them to work with other musicians in 1989.

Meanwhile, an ocean away, alt-rock stars the Smashing Pumpkins were gearing up for the first show of a club tour heralding the return of Chamberlin, who was fired in 1996 after the overdose death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin.

Although the band had refused to confirm Chamberlin's long-rumored return, fans at Detroit's St. Andrews Hall Saturday were ready for him. Many carried signs that read, "Welcome Back, Jimmy."

"The crowd were going insane from the moment they stepped onstage until the moment they left," said Dianna Frank, manager of the 1,000-seat venue. "Seriously, the kids were going crazy, singing along. It was a sea of motion that never stopped."

In a show that included three encores, the Pumpkins played eight new songs along with plenty of vintage material, including their first single, "I Am One," and the rare B-side "La Dolly Vita."

In an announcement posted to the band's official website Saturday, singer Billy Corgan said the group -- which also includes bassist D'arcy Wretzky and guitarist James Iha -- had written and rehearsed 24 songs for possible inclusion on a new album, due in September.

They played only two songs Saturday from their most recent album, Adore (1998) -- "Pug" and "Ava Adore" (RealAudio excerpt).

That suited many devotees just fine.

"Some of the older songs, some of the newer drummers just couldn't play," said Fares Halteh, 17, who drove five hours from Toronto for the show. "So with having Jimmy back, the fans were expecting the older songs. Like 'Geek U.S.A.' There were chants going on for that song. And the last encore they played it."

The Pumpkins are scheduled to play Bogart's in Cincinnati Monday (April 12).

(Contributing Editor Gianni Sibilla contributed to this report.)