Jane's Addiction Return To The Garden: Less Talk, More Rock

NEW YORK — The day after Jane's Addiction's last Madison
Square Garden gig some 10 years ago, Perry Farrell
complained that the place was just too big, and that trying to
reach out and grab 20,000 people with music from a new
album just didn't work.

That was then. A decade later, they're riding a legend that's
grown steadily. Their albums have held up musically for an
audience that's larger now than when the original band was
tearing up sheds and inventing Lollapalooza. On this wave,
Jane's Addiction returned to the Garden to play to an audience
that reached out to them, singing along mightily with just about
every song in the set.

The band opened with "Kettle Whistle," new to much of the
audience as the song was available only on bootlegs until it
went into the studio to record it (with Flea from Red Hot Chili
Peppers replacing original bassist Eric Avery) for 1997's
oddment collection of the same name. Underneath sparse laser
play and swathed in an expansive, billowy white skirt that hid
several dancers underneath it, Farrell explained, "We all want
to be beautiful too."

And so the show was launched. Into "Ocean Size," "Ain't No
Right," "Three Days," "Stop" and "Summertime Rolls" they
went, with Farrell in a red tux, guitarist Dave Navarro shirtless
and oh-so-cut as always, drummer Stephen Perkins sporting a
mohawk and touring bassist Martyn Le Noble (who played with
Farrell and Perkins in Porno for Pyros) wearing a New York City
tank top. The band was accompanied by a cadre of dancers, a
black light clown, and staging that, as usual for Jane's, lived
somewhere between pagan festival and carnival.

Then it was off to a second stage in the back of the Garden for
an acoustic set, where the band served up "Jane Says" and
"Classic Girl." What followed was a first for the reunited Jane's
Addiction: solo tunes. Navarro performed "Hungry" from his
album, Trust No One, and was followed by Farrell doing "Happy
Birthday Jubilee" from his Song Yet to Be Sung. On their
Relapse Tour in 1997, non-Jane's material was avoided (Farrell
and Perkins had Porno for Pyros tunes available, and Navarro
had recorded an album with Eric Avery under the moniker

Returning to the main stage to close it hard, it was time for
"Mountain Song" and the finale, "Ted, Just Admit It ...," during
which Farrell tweaked a line about sex and violence, replacing
the word "violence" with "terrorism." There wasn't much
reference to New York's share of the September 11 tragedy,
though, except for a moment when Farrell noted that those
who had died were "all here." Fans who had seen Jane's
Addiction in their original incarnation would have noted that
there were no real rambling monologues from Farrell, no
audience-baiting, and in general much less talk than in tours
past, with the band instead focusing on an immaculate

Having said that, Jane's reached back to their early touring
days for an encore, putting down their instruments and getting
into it with a line of drums for "Chip Away," which, back in the
day, they would sometimes beat out on a few ice coolers. But
this show of primarily decade-old material did not seem like an
attempt to recreate 1991, when Jane's Addiction were the edgy
and unpredictable guiding light of the art metal, alt rock heap.
Sounding and acting up to date, they appear ready to record
something new, together. If only.

— Michael Alex

[ Tues., October 16, 2001 2:13 PM EDT ]