Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jane's Addiction - October 16, 2001

On a cool autumn evening I was heading to the Continental Airlines Arena with my wife (at the time) to see Jane’s Addiction for the first time ever. I had been a fan since high school, having gotten hooked with the release of Ritual De Lo Habitual. They had split up for a while, but were back on a reunion tour of sorts, and this was my chance to see the great alternative rockers live.

I was excited, not knowing what to expect. I knew that Perry Farrell was an entertainer through and through, and I certainly wasn’t expecting the same old thing that I got from the usual concert. Back in the early nineties, Jane’s Addiction ruled the world, making all sorts of headlines with rave reviews of their insane performances. Not to mention that they had a stable of quality songs on a limited number of releases. This was going to be a good night, I could just feel it.

We settled into our seats, which were way up high on the left side of the stage, and waited for the evening’s entertainment to begin. If there was an opening act, I don’t recall who it was. What I do remember is how empty the arena was. It was far from a sellout, closer to only ¾ full. That was disappointing to me, as I thought Jane’s Addiction would have been a much bigger draw in Northern New Jersey.

I looked down to the floor section of the arena and saw three mini stages set up. It was a curiosity as to what they would be used for, but it wouldn’t be long before I found out. As soon as the lights went down and the crowd roared, two of the mini stages were occupied by scantily clad female dancers. This was just the beginning.

The opening of Kettle Whistle was played as the band took the stage. Perry Farrell came out last and when he waltzed to the stage, I was dumbstruck. He arrived wearing a large flowing white dress, which could only be described as a wedding dress. Three or four girls were carrying the back of the dress and when Perry moved to center stage, they fanned it out, up and down. That was how the night began and Jane’s kicked into Ocean Size. A big grin was on my face. I love that song.

From an entertainment standpoint, this was an excellent concert. Perry was a showman through and through. In addition to the aforementioned dress and dancers, there was a mini-stage set up in the middle of the floor, where the band descended to after playing the absolutely stunning Summertime Rolls. They performed that song note perfect and then went to the mini-stage.

The mini-stage was small enough to hold the band and their equipment and that was about it. Whisking them back to the memories of their club days, the band starting banging out the all too familiar kettle drum notes of Jane Says and the crowd went wild for one of Jane’s biggest song. Unfortunately for us, there was a little glitch with the sound system, which decided to crap out as the song began. Half of Jane Says was missed, due to this technical glitch. We sang along as best we could anyway, but it was a real shame to only hear half one of their best songs performed live.

The band returned to the main stage and resumed the concert. Dave Navarro played a song from one of his solo CDs, that I thought was a complete waste of time, I came there to hear Jane’s Addiction, not Navarro solo. I suppose everyone wants their time in the spotlight though.

Shortly after, the night wrapped up. A stunning version of Mountain Song was followed by an encore of Ted, Just Admit It… and Chip Away and then the night was over. A Jane’s Addiction concert was an oddity, but a lot of fun. Perry Farrel is a performer, first and foremost, and he worked as hard as he could to entertain us that evening. Although their time on stage was short (about 100 minutes), they did work hard to put on a creative and entertaining show.

I would get the opportunity to see them live once more, for my first and only Lollapalooza, a few years later. However, on that cool October night, I left the arena happy. Jane’s Addiction had given a good performance and I was glad to have seen them.

Kettle Whistle
Ocean Size
Ain’t No Right
Three Days
Summertime Rolls
Jane Says
Classic Girl
Happy Birthday Jubilee
Mountain Song
Ted, Just Admit It…
Chip Away

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