HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Smashing Pumpkin’s frontman and Highland Park resident Billy Corgan took the stage Wednesday night for a good cause.
The “Tonight, Tonight” singer hosted a benefit concert, ‘Together and Together Again,’ to promote healing through music, weeks after a gunman opened fire at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade, killing seven people and injuring dozens more.
“We spent time reflecting and hearing the stories of our friends and people involved in the shooting,” Corgan said. “Some of our closest friends were literally right in the barrel of the gun. It’s so horrific to even talk about.”
More than three weeks after the shooting, the longtime Highland Park native said he wanted to do what he would to help the victims and survivors.
“When you see trauma up close like that and you see true heroes who ran into the line of fire to assist others, it’s not only humbling, it’s staggering,” Corgan said. “It’s so beyond human comprehension. These are the survivor. These are the heroes and they’re grappling with it not only today but will be for the rest of their lives.”
Smashing Pumpkins fan Jason Celiz says he was eager to support the cause.
“It’s a great thing for him to do for the community, especially with someone of his name and stature,” Celiz said.
Ken Ritter was among the fans who lined up early to get a peek inside, while a select group of friends and family made it inside the show.
“Unbelievable gesture,” Ritter said. “He and Jimmy Chamberlin, who we know personally, how could we not pass it up.
The benefit, Together and Together Again, was held at Madame Zuzu’s, a plant-based tea house owned by Corgan and his partner Chloe Mendel.
Alongside Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins’ bandmate Chamberlin, performances included Jazz saxophonist Frank Catalano and other special guests.
The event was live-streamed on The Smashing Pumpkins’ YouTube Channel, where viewers were able to donate. All proceeds will go to the Highland Park Community Foundation and be directed to its July 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund.
Corgan hoped Wednesday night’s tribute concert would go a long way in helping with the healing process.
“For (the community), it’s been very heavy,” Corgan said. “So just the power of music to bring some energy into the room, get people laughing and clapping along.”