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The Smashing Pumpkins

The Aeroplane Flies High


Jul 30, 2013 Web Exclusive
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The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1996 box set release, The Aeroplane Flies High, represented the end of Pumpkins era mark one. After culminating their ‘90s dominance in 1995’s epic double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Billy Corgan and company released The Aeroplane Flies High, a box set of singles from Mellon Collie and assorted B-sides cut during the album sessions. Pumpkins devotees greeted the set with great enthusiasm. However, Aeroplane was scattered and perhaps unnecessary, other than to unwittingly mark the end of an era for the Pumpkins (the loss of touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin to a heroin overdose preceded a stark change of direction, beginning with 1998’s Adore).

This 6 CD/1 DVD box set initially doesn’t do the original set any favors. The deluxe reissue is organized around the original singles, with extra tracks stacked onto each disc. The first CD, the “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” single, features 15 additional cuts from the March 15 and 16, 1994 recording sessions, but each of these is instrumental. Interesting guitar riffs and melancholy cuts are present, but these tracks, while fleshing out Corgan’s idea for what became Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, don’t warrant multiple listenings. The same goes for the additional tracks on the second disc, the “1979” single.

The real worth of the box is in the live recordings that augment CDs three through five and comprise the entirety of disc 6 (and the DVD). Eight tracks of rehearsal at Chicago’s Double Door from February 1995 are loose at times but stellar. The various cuts from several 1995 and 1996 performances that round out the set are fantastic representations of what The Smashing Pumpkins were at the time, veering from electric chaos to charming acoustics. And the 35-minute version of “Silverfuck” doesn’t hurt matters either. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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