I found a copy of this being sold at a local record shop a few days ago (November 7th to be exact). Among other things, they sell a lot of "tobacco" water pipes and rolling papers so I wasn't surprised that they had this dvd on the shelf before it was supposed to be released. Needless to say, I very excitedly handed over the $21.99 to purchase it.
The two disks in this set are totally different, so I'll comment on them separately.
Disk one is a documentary. It does feature a few songs and some snippets of songs, but for the most part it's interviews. It's not something that I plan on watching again (unlike the concert disk!), but it was very informative. I've been a fan of the Pumpkins since I was old enough to be a fan of anything. And although most Pumpkin fans all miss the glory days of Siamese Dream and the like, I can't help but to have a lot of respect for their willingness to change .. or, should I say, Billy Corgan's willingness to change. Personally, I'm still not sure what I make of Zwan, The Future Embrace, and Billy's decision to break the band up only to reunite it again seven years later. But what I do know, and what this documentary helped me to understand, is that Billy Corgan is the essence of the Smashing Pumpkins, and he's on a journey that will never stop evolving because he as a person will never stop evolving. He explains a lot of struggles he has dealt with, from therapy to trying to understand the fans, and how that has affected his artistic direction. What comes across most to me in this documentary is that Billy truly does want to keep on keepin' on with the Smashing Pumpkins. He wants to give us what he's always given us -- thoughtful songs, beautiful melodies, and superb musicianship. He still knows how to rock our socks off one minute and sing us to sleep the next. That hasn't changed.
The second disk (concert) is fantastic! The sound/video quality are great. I suppose the setlist might leave something to be desired for those looking for a lot of songs from their older catalog, but I was personally very impressed with the new material. Gossamer was a major highlight, and it rocked just as much as the live version of 'An Ode to No One' from the Pumpkins' Music Video DVD. Starla, an old favorite of mine, was also great. Billy's vocals were as good as any other show, Jimmy's playing was amazing as always, and I actually really liked watching the new members. Ginger, their bass player, really seems to have a knack for adding flare at just the right moments in a song. The keyboard player, Lisa Harriton, plays beautifully and adds incredible dimension to the music. Jeff Schroeder, guitar, is new as well, and he can actually keep up with Billy's playing. He has some solo spots throughout and proves over and over to the audience that he's worth listening to. All in all, I love the new SP cast. I'm also glad there's finally a Smashing Pumpkins concert DVD that you can watch all the way through, from one song to the next, without any interruptions or interviews thrown into the middle of it. Lord knows we've all been waiting for this.
Keep on rockin' Billy.