“I don’t see no fucking rain!” and “Hey, hey…. Brian Wilson, give me some more!” were two of the most memorable quotes from Perry Farrell last night at the Ford Theatre. Playing along with the crowd from the opening song, Farrell was at his best last night in an intimate outside setting that suited the talents of Jane’s Addiction perfectly. An energized Dave Navarro with his trademark body spins provided soaring guitars throughout the night, while Stephen Perkins drove the songs home with a tight performance on drums. Chris Chaney held his own with the Los Angeles rock gods who put on an unforgettable show. Last night was simply outstanding- an inspired performance for 1000 fans that brought excitement for the return of Jane’s Addiction and their upcoming new release.
When the Los Angeles venue for Jane’s Addiction’s “small club shows” mini tour was announced last month, we have to admit we were a little disappointed. The Ford Theatre holds a special and historical place in the bands lore, but the 1000 person venue was a little bigger than what we were expecting. Admittedly jaded after seeing Jane’s perform for 200 people at The Roxy in the summer of 2010 (our choice for show of the year that year), we were hoping for an even smaller venue this time around. What we didn’t know, but found out last night, was that Jane’s was going to put on a mesmerizing stage performance, with what seemed liked 20 background dancers, a carefully planned light show, and the energy of an early 90s Jane’s Addiction. At the end of the night, I walked out thinking that this show couldn’t have happened anywhere else!
Opening with “Whores” it was evident right away that this was a rejuvenated Jane’s Addiction. It took a minute for Perry to get the vocal level right, but once he did you could hear his voice as clear and crisp as the night air. Navarro was right on from the start, hitting every note and chord with precession as he spun around the stage. With a laser show built for an arena, the crowd was immediately sucked in visually and aurally. With the All-Star closer for the World Champion San Francisco Giants, Brian Wilson, in clear attendance and view in the VIP area along the side of the Ford Theatre, Perry playfully called out the baseball star in front of the crowd: “Hey, hey… Brian Wilson, give me some more!”. Perry was on it all night, playing with the crowd, getting laughs throughout the night, and even blessing a soon to be mother and helping a younger fan understand the psychedelic experience from the cosmos he was having- ya, you kind of had to be there for those parts.
The band played through a sing-along collection of their hits from throughout the decades, but none was more spellbinding than “Three Days” from Ritual de lo Habitual. The highlight of the night, the epic journey of the 10 minute song and performance had the crowd in a haze in the best way possible. Perry’s voice floating over the thick layer of guitar and foggy drums, building to an unforgettable crescendo of Perry’s signature “Wooooo!” and a masterful Navarro solo. Their performance of “Three Days” last night proved two things- that the upcoming tour is going to be something you have to see in your city, and that “Three Days” is one of the best modern rock songs from the 90s with Navarro’s solo in there being his career defining work.
I would be amiss to not mention the 20 or so other performers on stage with Jane’s last night. Always willing to sex-it-up, the band had background dancers on stage, on the side railings and in the tress and bushes behind the stage. The dancers were comical at times, making snake like motions and popping in and out of view during specific songs. As always, Perry’s wife Etty was one of the dancers, sharing an intimate moment with her husband on stage as the two danced around each other. Jane’s knows how to put on a show and entertain- no doubt about that! The band was completely enjoying this experience and you could tell. Perry ran around stage with the energy of a 20 year old, and his short speeches in between songs never felt trite. We also have to give thanks to the Ford Theatre- with their beautiful venue, acoustics and BYOB policy, the venue added to the fun and experience in a way unmatched by any other venue with seating only.
The two singles from The Great Escape Artist got the live treatment last night. I wasn’t overly impressed with “The Irresistible Force” when it was released as a single, but hearing it live last night completely changed my opinion of it. Wow! The song was meant to be played live, and accompanied with the a full on visual assault from spiraling lasers, a heavy smoke effect and flying confetti, it was right at home with Jane’s collection of unforgettable classics. “End To The Lies” was a booming song that allowed Perkins to showcase why he is so important to this band. A very predictable “Jane Says” encore ended the show way too early for fans who could have sat in the in intimate theatre seats for another hour soaking it in. The performance was simply enchanting. Jane’s is back and this upcoming tour should be one of the best of the year. Last night proved that Jane’s Addiction is as relevant as ever.