A stage lit in multicolor, clad with two large naked women carved from wood, a taxidermy bear motionlessly attacking the audience, and two tall platforms where dominatrix-like dancers would whip the air around them- all drenched in the slow moving smoke of a fog machine. This was the stage where one of the most pivotal bands in rock history, all shirtless and bound by charcoal black leather and would step onto. On Friday, Jane’s Addiction made their way to Miami, amp first.
“People tell bands that it’s not a good idea to come to Miami,” wide eyed front man, Perry Farrell said, “Well, they’re fucking liars.” The crowd roared louder than ever, front row devotees thrust out there arms desperately for a touch from their beloved band members- Perry and Dave Navarro responded without a seconds hesitation, continuously reaching out to their die hard fans. The half naked Perry Farrell- whom I still refuse to believe is 53- with an outstretched arm grasping the hands of his admirers, sang directly to them with unflinching eye contact making them feel like they were personally blessed by a rock god.
Audience interaction was just one of the reasons that Jane’s Addiction put on such an unforgettable show, if you could even call it that. It was a celebration of music, music that will stay with us forever- the music that changed the alternative world as we know it, (in fact, they practically manifested it.) Playing mostly songs from their first three albums, the crowd got all there favorites and them some. From the aggressive and adrenaline greased “Mountain Song,” to the emotional and classic (no pun intended), “Classic Girl,” to the song that turned the venue into a crowded karaoke bar, dripping with inevitable nostalgia, “Jane Says.”
Watching Jane’s Addiction play those hits, it reminded everyone where they got their legitimacy from, and just why they were able to break away from the glam rock scene of the 80s and make with the music world what they wanted- they’re damn talented, and slightly insane. Navarro powerfully delivers intricate guitar parts made for two, Stephen Perkins shakes the venue with his loud confrontational drums, and Perry has an unmistakable wail that is almost as unhinged as his crazed, nonstop stage presence.
Frequently reminiscing of his times spent in Miami, he reminded us that he too was a highschooler at one point, but that his years there were probably a lot more Rock n’ Roll than yours. Remembering those reckless junctures, he talked of his drug use and crime infested youth, ( “I do apologize if I took your television.” ), with a wine bottle in one hand, and a front rower’s joint in the other, he let out rings of smoke with a tilted head, and the crowd went wild.
There are multiple things that this concert did for me, but for starters it showed me reasons. Reasons I listen to Jane’s Addiction’s live album, reasons it’s better experienced first hand, reasons fans travel great distances to do that, reasons they wait hours before the show for good spots. Reasons we, as music fans, go to any and every length to see our favorite bands, reasons why they mean so much to us. Every fan at the Fillmore – young and old- had a story, a memory, a REASON for being there. And for those stories- wether it be highschool memories or drunken nights of recklessness- Jane’s Addiction always provided a sound track. And friday night we relived those times together, howling out lyrics over the blaring guitars.