Today’s Metro memory comes to us from music journalist Garin Pirnia who remembers a special July 27th in 2010…
“As a music journalist, I spent a lot of time covering shows at the Metro for a few years. I can’t even remember how many excellent shows I reviewed. There was the time where I covered Echo and the Bunnymen and Chicago celebrity John Cusack was in attendance, too, but I didn’t find out until it was too late to stalk him. I attended a sweaty Hot Chip show where someone accidentally knocked into me (because they were dancing so hard) and spilled their beer over me. I wasn’t happy about that. My fondest memories involve two local bands in flux, though.
Smashing Pumpkins played a benefit show on July 27, 2010 to raise money for Matthew Leone of Madina Lake, who had been gravely beaten up after he tried to save a woman from being physically abused by her husband. Leone racked up hundred of thousand dollars of hospital bills, which he couldn’t afford to pay, so Metro organized a benefit to help him out. They asked Leone’s friend Billy Corgan to perform. I’d never seen the Pumpkins live before (shame on me), and they seem to be derided these days, but seeing them for the first time took me back to 1994. I thought the show was great, and more importantly, Billy auctioned off his signed guitar on-spot. Some generous soul purchased his guitar for $10,000, which would go toward Leone’s recovery.
In April of 2011, I had the opportunity to meet and interview Leone in-person backstage at Metro before their comeback show. Leone had made a speedy recovery and was ready to get back on stage. He looked good, albeit, slightly frail. He talked about the “new normal” and his whole attitude was just so damn positive despite everything he went through. I mean, he almost died! Listening to him talk really inspired me and made me realize maybe what I do as a writer was meaningful. After the interview concluded, Leone gave me a hug and profusely thanked me. It was such a poignant moment to see this talented young man surmount his obstacles and face his fears. I know it sounds cliché, but it was true. Now that’s what I call rock ‘n’ roll.”