One of the summers’ most anticipated tour packages including The Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and AFI screamed through Irvine and the FivePoint Amphitheatre on Thursday, August 29th.  The month long 16 city tour brings together a generous mix of alternative hit makers.

Veteran alt/hardcore rockers AFI started the evening promptly at 7pm with a high energy 8 song set that only briefly showcased the band’s biggest hits. Instead of working in many of the band’s radio-friendly songs, the band devoted the middle part of their half hour set on displaying songs from their recent EP release, The Missing Man. Lead singer Davey Havok jumped and shouted his way through an opening set that included mainstay classics “Girl’s Not Grey”, “Love Like Winter” and the closer “Miss Murder”.

Co-founding member of Oasis, Noel Gallagher brought his High Flying Birds along with him with the first half of the show focused on his solo work while the latter half “for the fans” – spotlighting his fan favorite hits from Oasis. Complete with a full band including backup singers, a horn section and keyboardist the 52 year old Manchester native brought a polished show throughout his 12 song set that included “Holy Mountain” and “Keep On Reaching” early. The final five songs included two Oasis classics “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, concluding with a rousing rendition of the Beatles’ socially significant hit “All You Need Is Love”.

The Smashing Pumpkins are spending their second consecutive summer touring and again featuring co-founders Billy Corgan, drummer Jimmy Chamberlain and guitarist James Iha. 25 summers ago the Pumpkins headlined Lollapalooza 1994 in support of their blockbuster breakthrough album Siamese Dream, many tours this summer have been focused on the nostalgic rock from the ‘90’s and this tour was no different with the band filling half their setlist with their biggest hits. Each was sprinkled in from the nearly sold out crowd.

Corgan emerged from the darkness looking like a warlock with his black overcoat as the evening kicked off with two of their biggest hits, “Today” and the gritty anthem “Zero”. The synth-heavy “Eye” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” were sentimental crowd favorites.  

3 large colorful geometric inflatables that resembled retro toy figurines provided a whimsical backdrop for the show while a well-choreographed light show helped liven up the performance. While many in attendance would have envisioned “Disarm” to appear near the end of the setlist, they were surprised with it mid-set and was as powerful as you would imagine. 

With the tour winding down, the band appeared tight and in complete control as they took time to cover the James Taylor tune “ Fire and Rain” before hitting a home run with a trio of classics “Ava Adore”, “!979” and “Tonight, Tonight”. As the clock drew closer to the 11pm hard curfew, the band finished up their 17 song, 90 minute set with “Cherub Rock” and the finale, “The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)” – each helping to put a final exclamation point on a great night of music in the OC.

Smashing Pumpkins Setlist:  Today | Zero | Solana | Knights of Malta | Eye | Bullet With Butterfly Wings | Tiberius | G.L.O.W. | Disarm | Superchrist | Fire and Rain | Ava Adore | 1979 | Tonight, Tonight | Blue Skies Bring Tears | Cherub Rock | The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right) 

AFI Photo Gallery:

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Photo Gallery:

The Smashing Pumpkins Photo Gallery: