The reunited but reconfigured Smashing Pumpkins have finally announced a concert date in the Chicago area -- that is, if you consider Hammond, Ind. in the Chicago area.
The group will perform at the Venue at Harrah's Horseshoe Casino in Hammond on Aug. 9. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster -- no word on the price as yet -- according to the band's Web site and email blasts.
One of the most celebrated groups of the alternative rock era and one of the best-selling acts to ever have called Chicago home, guitarist-vocalist Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin resurrected the Smashing Pumpkins name and released the new album "Zeitgeist" in July 2007. Still missing in action and/or refusing the invitation to come to the party: band co-founders James Iha and D'arcy Wretzky, who've been replaced by hired hands Jeff Schroeder (guitar/vocals), Ginger Reyes (bass/vocals) and Lisa Harriton (keyboard/vocals).
In contrast to earlier tours in the '90s -- when the band often premiered its new albums in Chicago, or even previewed new material at local venues before recording it -- the Pumpkins Mach II have yet to perform here. And band insiders are taking pains to point out that the casino gig is NOT the group's long-awaited "Chicago show."
Apparently, with typical dramatic flair, Corgan has been waiting to time the band's big homecoming to its 20th anniversary some time in November or December. No word yet on exactly when or where that gig will take place.
Meanwhile, for local diehards who just can't wait any longer to see their heroes, Mapquest places the Hammond casino at a mere 22.84-mile drive from the front door of Metro, the Northside rock club where the band played its last gig back in the day -- and where it really should have played the first of its new incarnation, if you want to talk about a dramatic flourish.
No insult to Hammondites, but there is very little drama or poetry at a casino in Indiana.