Back in August of 2003, Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell prophetically proclaimed from the stage of his festival, Lollapalooza, “Next year you’ll all bring cell phones!” He was right. And way before that, when he sang about media desensitization in “Ted, Just Admit It” (“Camera’s got them images/Camera’s got them all/Nothing’s shocking”), none of us had any idea just how right he’d be. And then there’s the band’s first release, the gritty and glorious Triple X self-titled, “live” record which had songs about street life, making art and the 1% that are still relevant today (“the gang and the government– no different”) and they put two of the best covers ever out there– The Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll” and The Rolling Stones “Sympathy.” That record in particular was the soundtrack to this writer’s coming of age, especially since it came out around the time we starting sneaking into clubs like Downtown L.A.’s Scream as a teen– and actually got to see the numbers performed new, messy and urgent.
On Thursday night at the Hollywood Palladium, the messiness and urgency was gone, but the power and persuasion of the songs had not diminished. Jane’s Addiction’s showmanship is more potent than ever, even if it is different. Now, Perry wears sparkly get-ups and talks to the crowd. He dances and he drinks wine and plays with the mic, pulling it near and away with symphonic precision as he swoons and wails. The past several years, his wife Etty’s dance troupe has provided choreographed movement that highlights the sensuality in Jane’s music. These moments elevated the spectacle better than we’ve ever seen before on Thursday.
Of course, Dave Navarro — who’s sitting out the tour due to a battle with long COVID– was missed. He’s a dynamic guitar player, a real rockstar who brings a signature swagger to the stage and plays off Farrell in a Keef-to-Mick sort of way. But Josh Klinghoffer who’s filling in, sounded pretty wonderful actually, with whirling riffs that held their own against Stephen Perkins’ persistent pummeling on drums and returning original bassist Eric Avery’s inimitably raging rhythms (for a lot of us, it’s ‘all about that bass’ with this band).
What more is there to say? We’ve been writing about this band for nearly three decades so we’ve said a lot. The first Lollapalooza, created by Farrell, is the reason we became a music journalist. It will play a big role in our memoir some day. (We just got word a docu-series about it is in the works and it’s about time).
Seeing Jane’s Addiction at the Palladium made for a classic (and crowded) L.A. rock and roll evening, the kind we thought we might never have again due to the pandemic. It was nostalgic of course (Perry even shouted out Christian Death’s Rozz Williams for some reason early in the set), but there was also something new– they kicked off the encore with a fresh track called “True Love,” before ending things with “Jane Says” and “Stop!” A new album is reportedly on the way, too.
We’re grateful they played a few from that first indie record that started it all and some universal favorites like “Ocean Size,” “Mountain Song” and “Three Days.” The show at Hollywood Bowl with Smashing Pumpkins a few months ago felt like an appetizer for this heartfelt hometown set, which by the way, featured a magically delicious warm-up from L.A. Witch. Til the next show: ‘Thank you, boys!”
Photo of official setlist below.
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