God Chooses Billy Corgan to Catch Cheap Trick Record at Illinois ConcertMusic Features Billy Corgan
Sometimes it just takes a record to send you back in time.
Last weekend my wife, two of our best friends, and I had the opportunity to see our friend Gingger Shankar perform with Cheap Trick at the Ravinia Music Festival just outside Chicago. The ‘70s supergroup performed The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety (a regular act for them), then did the same for their own album At Budokan. Even more exciting, the comps Shankar provided us lay two seats down from Smashing Pumpkins frontman (and longtime raving Cheap Trick fan) Billy Corgan. It all made for quite the memorable evening. But one moment especially stood out.
About midway through the At Budokan performance, guitarist Rick Nielsen grabbed a vintage copy of the record from the back of the stage and casually flipped it into the audience with a strong, frisbee-like flick of the wrist. The updraft caught the record, and it drifted into the air—10, 15, maybe 20 feet. On the way down, it began tracing a gentle arc to the left, seemingly headed straight for us.
But another small gust of wind pushed it just over our heads and into the waiting hands of… none other than William Patrick Corgan Jr. himself. It was an impossible coincidence, akin to seeing now-retired Chipper Jones catch a home run ball at a Braves game. As you can see in the attached picture, Corgan was as giddy as a starry-eyed junior high kid.
Which, in a way, he was.