Waiting in the cold and the slight drizzle on the sidewalks of East Los Angeles, hours before being allowed in to the Echoplex, meeting new people with a common interest, sharing stories and drinking Tecates, brought me back to the mid to late ‘80s before “our secret” got out.
There was no doubt Jane’s Addiction was a great band composed of four equally talented individuals, but some of us in L.A. were greedy. We didn’t want to share and lose them, but we knew there was no way to contain them. Once people heard their music and saw their videos, we knew there was no way we were going to get the genie back in the bottle. Nor should we. Everyone deserves some magic in their lives.
After last seeing the original quartet on the first Lollapalooza tour from the lawn of Irvine Meadows and then 3/4s Jane’s at larger arenas over the years, it was great to see them back in a club. It was their third show they have played since last October and the biggest capacity so far. I was so close I could clearly make out all four standing just a few feet away and off the ground. The two-tone suited Perry Farrell talking with the crowd; Dave Navarro trying to not smile the entire time; the head and arms of Stephen Perkins flailing away in percussive bliss; and completing the line-up, Eric Avery looking as intense as his wicked basslines.
They opened with Avery’s familiar riff on “Up The Beach,” and the crowd started screaming. Perkins offered some cymbal fill and Farrell announced “Here We Go” even though the crowd was already gone. Navarro’s guitar soared above. On this song and throughout the show, Avery’s bass led many of the songs, rather than just providing rhythm. This allows Navarro room to go off without worrying about what he leaves behind.
Next, they went way back to their debut album for “Whores” and “1%” and retained the vibrancy of the previous live versions. They naturally played hits like “Mountain Song” and “Been Caught Stealing” that the crowd enthusiastically sang along to, but surprised and impressed me by stretching out on the seven-minute “Ted, Just Admit It…” The song slowly winds its way along, building and releasing for five minutes, increasing the anticipation before exploding in two minutes of intense fervor. After “Stop!” they took a breather and encored with the one-two punch of Nothing’s Shocking’s “Had A Dad” and “Ocean Size,” emphasizing the rock in “alternative rock,” which they helped bring to the mainstream in the 1990s.
It was a short set, coming in just under 50 minutes, and left a few grumbling for more. Sure, I did as well and would have even liked new material. I also thought Farrell and Navarro got slightly lost in the mix early on at times but the sound guy found the right balance quickly as the show progressed. Still, pound for pound I defy anyone to find a better $10 show. A co-headlining tour with Nine Inch Nails has been announced. I don’t expect the prices or my seats to be the same, but I will be there.
Up the Beach
Ain’t No Right
Been Caught Stealing
Ted Just Admit It
Had A Dad
“Up The Beach”: