Toronto- 4am: An early morning radio blasts an ironic tune for my current situation, the song is "Perfect". It's not so perfect a 
morning though. By the time, the bus returned from Barrie, the southbound subways had stopped-forcing us to take two buses to
make it to familar territory. Unfortunately, the bus back to Hamilton doesn't come for 3 hours. But what a long, strange trip we had.

Day one (and slipping into day two)- Winnipeg, August 9-10:

It had all started with an idea, an inspiration. Fanphoria- the collage of fans from North America (because no one overseas gave us
anything sadly) took over two years to complete. Delays and lack of interest plagued the project from it's initial inception. Somehow
we managed to make a pretty good looking hour long video, considering we're only fans and not Virgin Records. Sure, it's not to the
calibre of Vieuphoria but only taped from the fans' own cameras, and edited from own pockets.

At about 1:20 pm, the creators of the video (myself, my brother David, and Jennifer Sloan-also creator of the Listessa books) and my 
friend- "the driver" Jorion Sorrell arrived at the Winnipeg Arena. Shortly after, Karl Daher arrives and we check if the backstage passes
are ready yet. Nope, the guest lists haven't arrive, and we have to keep checking back.

After talking for awhile, and heading to Pizza Hut for a bite to eat, we head back to the Arena. At about 5 pm, the guest lists have
finally arrived, and we pick up our backstage passes and another surprise. Apparently, free tickets had been arranged for us.
Needless to say, we had to get rid of our old tickets. We ended up selling them to scalpers, 3 for $85. I thought it was pretty good
considering it was halfway through Summersault. After a pretty mild search at the gates, we finally entered the stadium. We
immediately headed to find the t-shirt stand, and we picked up some Sacred and Profane shirts.

At about 8:50 pm, the Pumpkins came on stage. I won't bore you with the details of the other bands because this is a SP story ;) 
They jumped into a rocking version of "Age of Innocence", similar to the one we heard at the Toronto show back in March. The band
was in their TEG video gear, with James adorned with a Pikachu Pokemon mask. And then they went into the epic, "Glass + The
Ghost Children", which was slightly shorter than the album version. About 15 minutes in, the crowd cried for water, a gag they tried 
and succeeded on with the Foo Fighters and Our Lady Peace. I was personally sick of this gag, it was getting old, and Billy seemed
to be sick of it too. He responded to the crowd, "Our Lady Peace may give you water because they're Canadian, but we're Americans
and we don't give a fuck". The Winnipeg crowd booed, and then Billy made it look as though he would throw his water bottle into the
crowd, instead he threw it at the speaker. He later asked the crowd whether they would like"him to piss on them yet". The crowd was
being rowdy, fights even broke out at points, and Billy addressed them as "rowdy motherfuckers" or something like that. In the
context of the situation, Billy was right to be hostile to a hostile crowd. It was all in good fun ;)

Other highlights for us included the "Sacred and Profane", "Once Upon A Time", "An Ode to No One", "Don't You "Want Me Baby" a
cover of the Human League with James and Melissa on vocals including a tease "Du Hast" by Rammstein as a joke (this was the first
time James did this but he would do it at the Barrie show too). The band ended off the show in style with "Drown", the first time we
had heard it live. Other songs played included that great cover "Rock On", "BWBW", "Cherub Rock", "The Everlasting Gaze", "Stand
Inside Your Love", "Heavy Metal Machine", and "I of the Mourning".

After the show ended, we went to go backstage but the Summersault guards told us our passes were only good for that show, and
they weren't good anymore. We were told these we aftershow passes, but apparently they weren't...

Distraught we looked around for Karl Daher, he found us and told us to meet him at one of the gates. We rushed through the exiting
crowd and met up with Karl, his wife, Vince( his friend), and a few others(sorry I can't remember all of your names, remind me ;) ). We
asked what happened, why we couldn't go backstage. They next thing I know, I remember Karl saying to Vince "Did you tell them, do
they know?". Then Karl tells us "the band is meeting us at Amici", a classy restaurant on Broadway in Winnipeg.

Not dressed for the occasion, we needed to get home and change. Jenn heads with the other car to borrow some clothes from one of
the other girls in our group. Myself, David, and Jorion go in his car, and speed home and break several traffic laws. We did about the
fastest changing job ever, a guiness record for sure ;) And then we run to Jorion's where his car is pulling out and we jump in the car 
and head for VJ's- the meeting place before we go to the restaurant. After meeting, we go to Amici to meet with the band.

At about 11:20 pm, we walk into Amici and find the band beginning to eat appetizers. The place was dimly lit,  creating a nice
atmosphere. My brother says hi as we walk pass Billy and the rest of the band, and he responds with a hi. Karl says "these are the
people we're waiting for". Karl, Vince, and some of the others are seated at a table near the band's table. Myself, David, Jennifer,
Jorion and Vince's brother are seated at a table next to the band's except we are about a foot above them. We didn't want to interrupt
the band during dinner, so we didn't talk much to them during that time. At their table, were some girls- we couldn't figure exactly who
they were at the time. The group of us we're surprisingly calm for the situation, maybe it was the ambience or the suits we we're
wearing, I don't know ;) It was like a dream almost, and in my brother's words, we were "observers" for the first part. We heard and
reacted to some of the conversation, but never actively participated in it. I don't remember exactly what the band was wearing, not
that it's important. I won't say everything that was said because I can't remember everything, and it would be pointless to say every
joke they made,etc.  One notable thing was Billy talking about "The Streets Are Hot Tonite", he said some of the lyrics "The Streets
are Hot Tonite, and we are feeling alright" or something like that. It was brought up when one of the girls said something about the
lack of cliches in sp songs I believe.

The only band member we had real contact with was Jimmy. He said hi to us from their table after David waved to him. He said "how's
it going, what's up", I responded "nothing much", didn't quite know what to say ;) Jimmy said something to the girls like "look they're
twins" talking about David and myself.  My friend Jorion said as a joke, "We're loners", talking about the three of us. And Jimmy says
"What you guys can't get chicks?". We laughed.

We ordered our appetizers and drinks, we didn't have money for $30 main courses, unlike our rock star counterparts. While the
Pumpkins ate dinner, our table discussed about our concert experiences, the signing in Toronto, Mike Garson, etc.

Later, Jimmy started to leave, and David's heart started to race apparently and he said "Guys, Jimmy's leaving, Jimmy's leaving". We
thought about gving Fanphoria to the other members for him, but decided we'd better resent it to him. So we caught him as he said
his goodbyes. I take out Fanphoria, and Jenn gets his Listessa book out to present to him. Karl takes a picture of Jimmy, and David
says "we better get the camera", and then Jorion rushes to find it in Jenn's bag. David shakes his hand. Jen hands David the video,
so she can shake Jimmy's hand. Jennifer gives Jimmy the Listessa book and explains that she gave the rest of the band one back in
1996 but couldn't give him one until now. David gives him the video, I explain it to him and shake his hand. Jimmy is very happy and
thanks us for the video and the book. Jorion introduces himself as "the driver". Jimmy seemed to remember us from the signing, when
I mentioned Landslide, which is strange because we hardly talked to him then. A blond girl, I think his girlfriend or date, waits for him, 
and after a picture with us, he leaves.

The next to head out are James and Melissa individually.  James is almost sneaking out, we get to talk to him the least out of all the
band, but he signs our stuff quickly. Jenn hands him Fanphoria I believe, and David hands him the 10th Anniversary card from the 
Minneapolis Free Concert that was signed by over 100 fans (at least) but we never got to give it to them until then. James said "Oh
Wow" when David explained it to him. We didn't get a picture with him, because he was too fast for us ;)

Melissa next comes by, Jenn? gives her the video and we explain it to her, she responds "Oh cool, we'll watch it on the bus" or 
something to that effect. Myself and David explain to her that we met her at the Toronto signing back in March, and she remembers
us. She says" oh so you did you end up getting in?" referring to David's story to her at the signing how he couldn't get a ticket for the
concert while I could due to circumstance not under our control. Miraculously, he had got in due to a nice fan who had an extra
ticket. She was happy that he got in. Then Jenn asks Melissa about if she remembers with her cousin working at a bar back in
Montreal, Melissa says basically she might remember her vaguely. We get our stuff signed and take a picture with Melissa, and then
she exits.

Finally, Billy comes around saying his goodbyes. My brother goes to shake his hand and I am trying to hand him the video at the
same time. I pull back my hand, and they shake hands. I hand him the video and the soundtrack, I say "Fanphoria as promised".
Then he says" did  I get everything?". He takes a look over the video case, he seems to be impressed. I explain that the soundtrack 
is by a band named Arcane. David basically says "Did you play the game that we gave you at the Toronto signing, Super SP Bros".
Billy seems to think for a moment then seems to vaguely remember it and says, "Oh yeah, that, all the stuff is still in a box 
somewhere" or something like that. After confirming that Billy has a Mac, David explains that the disk we gave him was for a PC but
that he could download it from our site. Billy tells us that we can give Melissa the address but I tell him that Landslide can be easily
found on Yahoo.  We end up talking to Billy for about 10-15 min. I won't repeat the entire conversation but I will give some highlights. 
Billy said that Try, Try, Try will be the last video/single if it doesn't become a hit. That Virgin cares about the sales, North American
sales. Despite this, he says they are selling more in the rest of the world than ever before. I add "Yeah I once saw the album at #1
on the CNN World Charts".

Also, Jennifer asks Billy if she remembers her from the time they presented the Listessa books back to them in 1996, he does but
asks her if she used to have glasses and that she looks different. She didn't have glasses before but memory can get scrambled after
four years =-). As for the future releases, Konstaninople records, etc. it's all up in the air, "there are only so many hours in the day"
Billy remarked. He said that in the studio, they had worked on "all the favorites: Dross, Cash Car Star",Let Me Give the World to You,
.Real Love, and alt. versions of Machina songs. When David had asked about Real Love, Billy thought that he said "If you Laugh", 
which is on the very rare and infamous Machina acoustic demos.  We asked about Plate XII of Machina, and it's prophetic "5-23", and
asked him if it was planned. He gave us a cryptic answer, and I hope I understood him, basically that he had told the whole concept
of the album to Vasily and the artwork articulates it so well. That the 5-23 was almost predestined, the story is still being written as
the band plays it out. It's almost like the idea of the chicken and the egg, what came first. Apparently, Mike Garson -known for his 
piano work on the Adore tour and "With Every Light" will be joining SP for VH1 storytellers.

At one point, David says about how crazy the boards can get like Netphoria and the official boards, even the Siva boards. He said,
"People sometimes read into things way too much, seeing mysteries that aren't even there. I am actually a moderator at Siva for the
SP and Garbage forums. I know you guys are sort of good friends with Garbage". Then Billy responds, "Yeah." A brunette girl who
was sitting at the table with the Pumpkins comes up to David, and asks  "What boards are you on? Netphoria?"or something like that.
David tells her that he doesn't go to Netphoria that often, that he is moderator on Siva. She then says, "Oh. What's your screen 
name?". He replies, "Eye".

Another important thing to note what Billy said about fans. That they sometimes take things too seriously, that they should have a
sense of humour about things. He doesn't want everybody to view the end of the band as a horrible tragedy because it's not. Without
a sense of humour in the band, Machina would have never happened. It's not a big joke on everybody though, despite what some
people might think. He said sometimes a fan interprets something precisely in the way they intended it to be, "usually a girl", and he
is so tempted to email them and tell them "you're right". But he knows he can't. Also, in reference to his posts on the boards, people
used to view it as something big, but now they get over it in a couple of hours. Finally, on the issue of leaking rare stuff, he said he
told one unnamed fan (I won't name names even though I know who it is) that he "could give him every bootleg, give him everything
but it would take the fun out of it". That statement has a lot of truth in it, I think, I mean if we had everything, if would take the fun out
of finding new material. Finding it is half the fun. After our talk, Billy signed our stuff, we got a picture with him, and then the night
came to a close. It was just after 1 am when we left the restaurant.

The overall feeling from the meeting was fulfillment, our work had paid off, and the band was being really nice about everything- I mean
not only did we have free tickets and backstage passes(although there was miscommunication or stupidity on behalf of the
summersault people), but the band was willing to invite us to meet them on their private time to give them our video. They never talked
down to us once, we weren't made to feel lesser.

But we couldn't sleep till 5 am, we talked at Jenn's house for awhile and watched Vieuphoria after a short game of pool at Miss Q's
(a pool hall).

At 4pm, we had a flight back to Toronto, and picked up our luggage at carousel 33 of all places, after some mixups with it in the 
airport. The new day would bring it's own share of pleasure and pain.

Day Three: The Greater Toronto Area- August 11:

The long trip to Barrie begins. Two buses and a subway ride and we (myself and my brother) finally meet up with our friend Johnny at
Yorkdale to head out on the bus to Molson Park. We didn't arrive at the gates of the park until about 1:30 pm.

The guards at the gate were surprisingly lax, we could have brought a camera if we only knew. We wonder around the park for a while
after Johnny and me buy SP shirts. Finally, we find the Chart magazine tent, where friends of our from the Toronto signing were. Later
on during the day, we see a few more people from the signing including Stephanie, who was friends with a girl, David thought he saw
at the Winnipeg Summersault. It turns out that had been her friend, who had moved away earlier that year.

Around 5:45 pm, Johnny and David met up with me and tell me that Shauna just went with Andrew to apparently meet some lighting
guy of the Foo Fighters, that can possibly get them backstage. After roaming the area, we enter into the crowd at the start of A 
Perfect Circle's set. We gradually make our way closer to the stage.

Before Foo Fighters come on stage, we see Shauna and Andrew watching the stage from above. Obviously, they were able to get 
backstage. We try to wave to them but it doesn't look like they see us. The Foo Fighters come on, and they play mostly the same
songs as  the Winnipeg show except they play "Next Year" which was interrupted and stopped because of the Winnipeg crowds' 
gag cry "Water, water". The crowd wasn't really into it but we were ;). They also played "For All the Cows" and the crowd pleasing
"My Hero", which included David Grohl playing and singing in the crowd. After their set, Johnny says that he needs to rest and have
something to drink, so we exit the crowd.

As we rest our legs, Our Lady Peace starts their set. We were sitting outside the crowd near one of the food stands. Our Lady Peace
proceeds to play the exact same songs in the exact same order as they did during the Winnipeg show. They say the same jokes and
make the same movements as if it was scripted. I'm not a fan of OLP but at least they could they could have changed something, I
would feel bad for fans of theirs going to multiple shows and hearing the same setlist over and over again. About 20 minutes before the
end of OLP's set, we try to make our way through the crowd to get a better position for SP.

When the Pumpkins' set is imminent, the crowd becomes like a brick wall, we can't move any further up. Still people try to push
through us despite our troubles with moving forward and fail as well. The only ones during the night that could really push through
were bulky, sweaty, grotesque asshole guys. SP exploded on to the stage with "Glass and the Ghost Children". One of the highlights
of the set, was hearing "Mayonaise" played live, which we never heard live ever before. During the set, David was able to move slightly
farther then Johnny and myself. We kept on trying to wave and get Melissa's attention throughout the set because we were closest to
her. After several times of waving, David finally got her attention while waving at her. She lowered her head slightly, smiled and waved
back. We were never sure if Melissa actually saw that it was him waving at her or if it she was just responding to a nameless fan 
waving at her.

Additional highlights were a randition of "Don't You Want Me Baby" that we could actually hear properly, and a cover of "Once in A
Lifetime" by Talking Heads. The crowd was really into "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" as usual but afterwards some of the same people
said that they didn't like that version of the song."Drown" was once again memorable as the last song. Near the end of the concert, 
some guy emerged from the pit bloody, and out of it, he almost threw up on my shoe, just another symptom of what a dangerous
place the mosh pit can be. As SP left the stage, Melissa draped the Canadian flag with her name on it that Todd White (one of our
friends from the Toronto signing) made for her over herself. The last one to leave was Billy, who walked the length of the stage in both
directions, greeting some fans with handshakes and he took a black poster with silver writing on it from one of the fans. Shortly after
he left the stage and "My Blue Heaven" started to play off a recording as everybody started to leave. We met two people from the
official boards that turned out to be friends, their screen names were OraSP and Ota.

It was so packed as we left the park, that people even started to climb the fences. We had trouble finding where exactly the Go buses
were because it was dark and being in the park for so long, we lost our bearings. We met up with Todd, Christina, Nicki and Bonn
before along the way. We said our goodbyes to them since they were about to head off to the shows in Montreal and Ottawa. Then
we turned back when we found out we were going the wrong way, we turned back and met up with Aaron and Justin. Aaron informed
us that he had taped the show but that "Drown" may have been cut off partially. It turned out that he lost all of "Drown" because it the
tape finished.

Once we finally got proper directions, we saw some guys trying to sell some black and white bootleg versions of the Summersault
shirts for ten dollars. It was quite funny. David, Johnny and myself reached the stop where waited for the Go buses. There we met up
with Stacey, another person we had previously met at the signing. We talked with her about the performance and passed shows that
we had seen before she had to leave for her bus to Newmarket. On the other hand, the three of us had to wait to get on one of the last
Yorkdale buses.

During the bus ride to Yorkdale station, Johnny and I talked, meanwhile. David overheard a conversation that the guy beside him was
having with some us his buddies across the aisle. The guy asked his friend a question,  something to the effect of "who did you think
was better Smashing Pumpkins or Treble Charger". Then his friend responds "Treble Charger". The comparison was hilarious, one of
the greatest bands of our era v.s. a second rate ' anti-American Canadian band with a fan base of 10,000.

It was about 1:45 am when we reached Yorkdale station. To our dismay, the last soutbound subway has already left. Johnny says
goodbye and starts onhis way to walk the rest of the way home. That is not option for us since we live all the way in Hamilton. To get
to downtown Toronto, we had to take a subway northbound a bit and take two night buses to get close to it.The last Go Bus back to
Hamilton had left a few hours before, so we were basically homeless but with some money for several hours. We stayed in Tim
Hortons and another deli place ordering some food and drinks to pass the time.

The Tim Hortons just behind Yonge Street was a familar site. History had be written there as many of us from the Toronto signing had
taken refuge their during the cold, snowy night before the signing. We couldn't of course, stay there forever. Around 4am we headed 
to a near by deli. Near Eaton Centre, "Perfect" echoed off the surrounding buildings as it played on Q107.

We exited the deli at 6:15 am and headed towards to Union Station since the earliest bus was at 7:30 am but a Go train leaving for
Oakville was set to leave from Union Station at 6:43 am. After catching a connecting bus to Hamilton, we arrived at home finally at
about 8:30 am. Tired and exhausted we fell asleep as soon as we got home. It was the end of the long strange trip of Fanphoria.

Two shows and one meeting in three days, what can I say, it was an amazing experience. My only hope is that we can possibly see
one of the final shows because it would be good to see a full show before the curtain falls on the story of the Smashing Pumpkins.

Written by Steven and David Pukin


We would like thank the contributors to the video: Steeve Gilbert, Nick Liappis,Craig Saarie, Ryan Swain, Patty Vig, and Anthony
West. Also, thanks to Caroline Foley for the lovely cover art, John Morton for the sketches, and Dan Young + Arcane for supplying
the soundtrack. Special thanks also goes to Karl Daher for arranging for the backstage passes and giving us the opportunity to meet
the band to present the video.


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