LIVE: Jane’s Addiction @ the Palace Theatre, 3/2/12

Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)
Perry Farrell (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

Review by Kirsten Ferguson
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Additional photographs by Kirsten Ferguson. Click here to see more of her photos from this show.

“Are you ready to come yet?” Perry Farrell asked the sold-out Palace Theatre crowd as a prelude to the night’s final Jane’s Addiction song – a thundering version of “Ocean Size.” After Farrell stalked the stage in his insanely limber-kneed style, dipping close to the audience so they could paw at him, the singer lifted his beater-tee, flashed the crowd his bare chest and pointedly lit a “post-coital” cigarette.

If the Palace show was paced for build-up-and-release, then the end – which came after a set full of crowd pleasers from the band’s first two albums, “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual de lo Habitual” – hadn’t felt quite like satiation. The crowd, adoring to the end, probably would have preferred to drag things out much longer.

Before embarking on this tour of theater-sized venues for Jane’s Addiction’s latest album, “The Great Escape Artist” – their first since reuniting in 2008 after several years apart – Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Chris Chaney promised an “orgy of musical and visual delights.”

There was plenty of visual weirdness – not quite connected to any narrative, but still cool to look at – including the two dancers (including Farrell’s wife Etty) who started the night on a trapeze bar high above the stage in immensely long wedding dresses, as well as a mystery figure who appeared with a doll and a noose just prior to a mid-show acoustic set featuring the band’s steel-drum powered ballad, “Jane Says.”

The intimate Palace setting suited the band well. Although Farrell sounded hoarse – he admitted onstage that he’d lost his voice – he made up for it by being an explosive and unpredictable frontman, who spent much of the show working the front rows and slapping hands like a rock and roll politician. A more serious Navarro straddled the stage like a tattooed, nipple-ringed guitarist/love-boy, dodging women trying to grab his legs.

“So this is the state capitol of New York? I’ve never been here,” Farrell said before an explosive version of “Been Caught Stealing,” the band’s biggest hit. He may not remember, and yeah, technically they weren’t in Albany, but there’s a good chance many people in the crowd attended one or both of Jane’s Addiction’s prior area appearances: their 1991 show at the RPI Fieldhouse in Troy or Farrell’s inaugural Lollapalooza at SPAC that same year.

The churning “Ted, Just Admit It” – with its reverberating “sex is violent” refrain – was one of the highlights of the set. And then Farrell came out chugging a bottle of wine during the plaintive “Broken People” – one of the best songs from “The Great Escape Artist” – before passing the bottle among the crowd. (Did I really drink from that? There must have been at least 30 mouths on the thing.)

“Fuck the Black Keys,” someone in the crowd yelled before “Sealed with Thorns,” a song during the enjoyable, hard-working opening set by Belgian rockers Black Box Revelation, who share the two-piece guitar/drums set-up and fuzzy blues-rock leanings with the better known American garage rock band.

Andrew Hill’s photographs at State of Mind
Pete Mason’s review at Upstate Live
Jeremy D. Goodwin’s review and Martin Benjamin’s photographs at Metroland
Sarah Foss’ review at Foss Forward
Shannon Fromma’s review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Brian McElhiney’s review at The Daily Gazette: Highlights included the snaking bass grooves of ‘Been Caught Stealing’ and the percussive grooves on ‘Ain’t No Right.’ Throughout, Farrell was the primary focus, whether he was leaning down to high-five fans in the first row, dancing with two female models who made appearances throughout the night or throwing his head back and really digging into the lyrics. Navarro was the other pillar of showmanship, lighting into snarling noise solos while the rhythm section held down the music’s fat grooves. Best of all was set centerpiece ‘Sex is Violent,’ featuring a near-recreation of the cover of the band’s 1990 classic ‘Ritual de lo Habitual.’ The band turned the song into another groove-fest, stretching out as the audience chanted along.”

Just Because
Mountain Song
Been Caught Stealing
Ain’t No Right
Ted, Just Admit It
Broken People
I Would for You
Jane Says
Chip Away
End to the Lies
Three Days
Words Right Out of My Mouth
Ocean Size

Perry Farrell passes the bottle (photo by Kirsten Ferguson)
Perry Farrell passes the bottle (photo by Kirsten Ferguson)
Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction
Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction
Black Box Revolution
Black Box Revolution (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)
  1. Mike H says

    great review, Kirsten, and great photos – & hope you didn’t catch a cold from the bottle-passing : )

  2. Kirsten says

    Thanks Mike! Yeah, I had a sore throat for a day… but it went away.

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