In the spring of 1999, the Smashing Pumpkins world seemed to briefly be in harmony. After two years on the road with replacement drummers, founding member Jimmy Chamberlin was welcomed back into the group after receiving extensive treatment for his heroin addiction. He left the band midway through 1996 Infinite Sadness tour – right at the peak of the group’s popularity – and they struggled to fill the void while he was gone.
To celebrate the reunion of the classic lineup, the group launched the nine-city Arising! tour on April 10th at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, Michigan. They were between albums at the time, so the setlist was able to focus on deep cuts like “Pug,” “La Dolly Vita” and “Soma.” They also unveiled songs from the upcoming Machina/The Machines of God like “The Imploding Voice,” “Speed Kills” and “Wound.” There’s not a lot of great video from the tour, but here’s a complete soundboard recording from their show at the New York club Tramps on April 14th, 1999. Fast forward to 57:59 for a killer rendition of “Ava Adore” where Jimmy finally gets to showcase what he could have brought to that album had he been in the band when they cut it.
The tour ended on April 24th, 1999 at the Roxy in West Hollywood, California. Nobody knew it at the time, but the show marked the final appearance of bassist D’arcy Wretzky. Her departure was announced by a brief press release in September they headlined “D’arcy’s Gone!” “D’arcy has left the Smashing Pumpkins,” it read. “The band’s new album is finished and will be released February 15, 2000, by Virgin Records. The Smashing Pumpkins will continue as a band and will tour in support of the new record.”
Melissa Auf der Maur joined the group as their new bassist and the group said very little about the circumstances surrounding D’arcy’s departure, though just months after leaving the band she was arrested for possessing crack/cocaine. In 2004, Billy Corgan decided to finally delve into the matter. “Did it help that D’arcy was fired for being a mean-spirited drug addict, who refused to get help?” he wrote. “No, that didn’t help keep the band together, not at all…it made it very hard to go on, but we soldiered thru it even though our hearts were broken.”
The group broke up in 2000 after a farewell tour, and when they reformed seven years later Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin were the only members to return. Chamberlin left two years later, though last summer he made an unexpected return to the lineup and remains there to this day. Just last week, original guitarist James Iha stunned fans when he joined the group for a set of Siamese Dream songs at two shows in Los Angeles. It was the first time he played with the band in 16 years.
The shocking reunion gave some small degree of hope for fans that long to see the Siamese Dream lineup of the band reform, but Wretzky has been living far off the grid ever since she left the band and it’s very difficult to imagine any scenario where she gets back with the Pumpkins. But we live in a world where Axl Rose and Slash have made peace, so anything is possible.