Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Rah Rah Rah Concert

The Smashing Pumpkins 3.0
Metro, Chicago, IL 07/27/2010
Last week I went to the Smashing Pumpkins  (SP) concert in Chicago to raise money to offset medical costs got musician Matt Leone who valiantly tried to fight off a man beating his wife while passing them on the street.  Matt's insurance lapsed two months prior to the altercation that put him the hospital, and the medical procedures required to save his life are incredibly expensive.  Thus, someone at Sweet Relief.org organized a benefit for Matt at the Metro featuring the Smashing Pumpkins along with Kill Hannah (KH) as the opening act.  Tickets were:
  • $500 for VIP seating during the show, merchandise, a sneak preview with the band during their soundcheck, and a picture with the band.
  • $100 for VIP seating only during the show.
  • $10 for a pair of tickets to the show done via raffle.
 I decided to go with the the $500 ticket as I figured it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Only 20 of us got the actual ticket so it was nice that Gawd looked upon me and blessed me with a coveted golden ticket (even if the ticket was paid for and benefited someone else).  All proceeds that night (as far I know) went to Matt's fund which included niceties such as large checks from Joe Shanahan (owner of the Metro), Billy Corgan, sales from on-stage (someone paid $10K for a guitar Billy played that night and another paid $4K to just do a 15 minute meet-and-greet) and online auctions, merchandise sales, and of course ticket sales.  Overall, I enjoyed the show (for a review, check this out).

The one thing that did irk me a little bit was the stage banter from KH and SP regarding how "Chicago came together to support one of their own" and how "we should be proud of what we've given to Matt".  Don't get me wrong.  I plan to write off my donation to charity at the end of the year.  I was there to see the might SP play, and inadvertently gave my money to help Matt out.  My intention wasn't to be charitable per se.  So, I'm not going to try to justify my attendance at the show as a sign of good father but rather as a sign of my selfish want of seeing my favorite band of all time play in a small venue.  Maybe they were doing this rallying to get people to give more which I guess is fine within itself, but I found it funny that people were cheering for themselves as if they were there to truly support Matt.

Let me restate this: 96% to 98% of us there were there for the same reason - to enjoy SP; not to give Matt our money; not the watch Kill Hannah, not get all hot and sweaty with 1200 other mofos to get closer to the stage.  If SP wasn't there driving this effort, this wouldn't have been a big deal enough to see Gov. Pat Quinn swing by to declare it Matt Leone Day.  It's a farce to think any other way.

Another Matt Leone benefit show is being put on by a ton of bands on August 21st. Will this make the news? I hope so. Will it be the smash I attended? Probably not.

Note: I wish no ill-will towards Matt and hope he does recover from his injuries quite soon.  I have a lot of respect for what he did for I probably wouldn't have done the same.  To donate to his benefit, please visit http://www.sweetrelief.com.