Billy Corgan and friends go wild in Highland Park for a good cause

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Smashing Pumpkin frontman and Highland Park resident Billy Corgan took the stage Wednesday night for a good cause.

The ‘Tonight, Tonight’ singer held a benefit concert, ‘Together and Together Again,’ to promote healing through music, weeks after a gunman opened fire during the July 4 parade in Highland Park, killing seven people and injuring dozens more.

“We spent time thinking and listening to the stories of our friends and those involved in the shooting,” Corgan said. “Some of our closest friends were literally down the barrel. It’s so awful to talk about.

More than three weeks after the shooting, the longtime Highland Park native said he wants to do what he wants to help victims and survivors.

“When you see trauma up close like this and see real heroes who rushed into the line of fire to help others, it’s not just humbling, it’s astounding,” Corgan said. “It’s so beyond human comprehension. These are the survivors. They are the heroes and they are tackling them not only today, but will be for the rest of their lives.

Smashing Pumpkins fan Jason Celiz said 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 peek inside, while a select group of friends and family made their way inside the show.

“Amazing gesture,” Ritter said. “He and Jimmy Chamberlin, who we know personally, how could we not pass it up.

The event, Together and Together Again, took place at Madame Zuzu’s, an herbal 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 streamed live 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 4th Highland Park Shooting Response Fund.

Corgan hoped Wednesday night’s tribute concert would go a long way in the healing process.

“For (the community), it’s been very heavy,” Corgan said. “So just the power of music to energize the room, make people laugh and clap.”

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