Jane’s Addiction Concert Review – 12/29/12 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
Jane’s is one of those bands I will go to out of respect – regardless how bad their last album was. As a kid I snuck up to LA twice to see them play the Roxy and the Whiskey in 87. Obviously this band is nothing like that band. But anyway, none of that matters now, this is not a nostalgia trip. These are the last days of 2012, and as the king of all media asked me just yesterday when I told him about the show, “Wow those guys are still together?” You know you’re in trouble when the previous, twice removed, Beatles-are-god generation talks about you like that. Geeez. Embarrassing.
Despite being there near the beginning, some of the best shows I’ve seen Jane’s play are at amphitheaters. The recent NIN farewell tour comes to mind. It was a festive, cheerful gathering that played to Mr Perry’s false teeth Willy Wonka tour guide talents. The soaring notes of the best moments from Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual, two of the best albums of the era, could be emphasized outdoors. Navarro’s distracted sleaziness could be overlooked, and his sneaky good (not great, again because he is denied his potential by “adult” pursuits) playing had room to breathe. Those 87 shows were great in the same way Nirvana was great at the Covered Wagon or the Kennel Club, but Jane’s really shines in a Circus Circus like environment.
Finally, and most importantly, Eric Avery was back with the group then and he is the true backbone. I don’t know who Chris Chaney is, I don’t want to know, but he is a limp noodle of a bass player. The decider of Addiction is Avery; if he is in the lineup, go see. His intensity and drive makes it click.
The show on Saturday Dec 29th was truly like a sad dress rehearsal. Yes, Perry looks and sounds great for 50 something. But it’s like “Ok we all get it, Perry, you’re the leader of the tribe, the great conjurer of the freaks, the MC of the kinky and mysterious.” But what tribe is he the leader of in these days? Certainly not myself, and not anyone (except the always deluded) at the Terminal 5 that night either.
So I paid my fare for the ride, and I watched a re-decided setlist from the side. But here’s a tip for all you concertgoers: when Jane’s pulls out the honky bongos, they’re about to play that famous but not-so-good sing along song, and its near the end of the charade, so time to hit the exit early. Theses guys clearly have other things on their minds. Perry has to go DJ some late night decadent shindig, and celebrity Dave is drowning in adult pursuits.
We expect more. Jane’s could do better, so much better.