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Watch Michael Angelo Batio join Smashing Pumpkins for a shredtacular jam at Chicago's Riot Fest

The Smashing Pumpkins were joined onstage in Chicago recently by shredhead Michael Angelo Batio for a virtuosic live version of United States

MAB was invited onstage with the band for a guest appearance at Chicago’s Riot Fest on Friday September 17.

It seems the performance was prearranged as Batio had been posting about it on Instagram up to a week beforehand and revealed they had rehearsed the song. Batio also shared a picture of himself with James Iha and Jeff Schroeder ahead of the show.

The song is a highlight from the Pumpkins‘ 2007 album Zeitgeist, which is not widely available on streaming services and received something of a mixed reception upon its release.

Here, though, it was reborn as the apocalyptic finale to the band’s headline set. Watch the video and you'll see MAB jams with Corgan and the rest of the band throughout the early stages, before they give the shredder center stage for a lead meltdown. 

Corgan is content to give MAB his dues, too – the frontman even picks up the shredder's pick for him at one point – before taking the baton for some haunting lead lines, which flow into the final strobe-laden crescendo.

The evening's setlist was also notable for the band's first live performance of Siamese Dream rager Quiet since 1994, as well as deep cuts Crush and Shame.

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We wonder whether it's a hint that Corgan and band are headed back into rock territory, following the synth-led sound of 2020’s Cyr. They certainly seem to be enjoying themselves, either way.

Guitarist Jeff Schroeder recently offered an update on their new record, saying it will “probably take most of the rest of the year”, which makes sense given he says it’s a 33-track collection…

For more information on the band's remaining tour dates, head to The Smashing Pumpkins site (opens in new tab)

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Matt Parker
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.