Conert Review: Jane’s Addiction brings back decadent arena rock

by Matt Neznanski
November 15, 2001

Concert goers after Sept. 11: Beware!
Walk-through metal detectors and pat downs are the "new business as usual," at least in Boise.

Jane's Addiction came to the Bank of America Center on Monday, Nov. 5 for their first-ever show in Idaho, in support of their reunion tour. The show started late due to this increased security.

The line of people waiting to enter the arena stretched around the Grove, looking like a late season Alive After Five.

Upstairs in the sports bar, sipping a drink and watching the last of the Monday night game, I heard muffled beats thumping from inside the arena; the closest I was going to get to the Stereo MC's, Jane's Addiction's supporting act this tour.

The line finally thinned and I entered the arena.

From the first moments of the show, Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell led his band through an old-fashioned stomp through the band's catalog.

Jane's Addiction is a band that follows the classic combination of stereotypical players with a charismatic singer.

Think of the Rolling Stones with a DJ supplying break music, and you get the idea.

Jane's Addiction on stage sounded much different than their recordings. Farrell's vocals were barely above the instruments in the mix - favoring loud guitar and drums in the live show.

Farrell's gyrating antics and flashy costumes are the picture of rock flamboyance, set against the plainness of his band.

Guitarist Dave Navarro, who is known for working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers after Jane's Addiction disbanded in 1992, laid down heavy rhythms and solos that sounded right at home in music that was born 10 years ago.

Even so, it can be comforting to know that old habits die hard, especially in the rock world.

Jane's Addiction opted to hire dancers instead of a fancy light show or pyrotechnics.

The women lolled on stage, in the scaffolding, and took it to the people from go-go stages set in the midst of the crowd.

The effect reminded me of a Poison video from 1980s MTV. (You know - when they used to play videos?)

Farrell is the guy who gets credit for founding Lollapalooza in 1991. Jane's Addiction headlined the fledgling festival, and then split up.

The carnival man in Farrell was apparent Monday night, as the band first played on a main stage, then swapped to the other side of the arena in a one-band "face-off."

During the break, sideshow-style shamans shook antlers and waved lighted staffs at the crowd.

Acoustic guitars and steel drums on this stage offered the most eclecticism of the night.

Still, fans of the band pumped their fists in the air and sang along with Farrell.

It's easy to see why this band came apart after watching them onstage. The charismatic Farrell leads a band like a modern Dave Lee Roth and without huge arena ticket sales to entice Jane's Addiction back for more, I assume ego clashes were too much to bear.

Jane's Addiction offered a chance to look back on the way arena rock used to be, before the self-consciousness of the 90s and the bored hipness of the past couple of years.

Sequined jumpsuits, loud guitars, and strippers: Jane's Addiction makes it look cool to be a rock star again.