Jane's Addiction 'Theatre of the Escapist Tour': Nothing But A Good Time…Just Admit It
Alternative rock icons, Jane’s Addiction, stopped by Philadelphia’s Mann Music CenterÂ as part of their 24-city Theatre of the Escapists Tour Wednesday night.Â Touring in support of their latest release, The Great Escape Artist, Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins andÂ Chris ChaneyÂ showed their heady mix of rock, sexÂ and helter skelterÂ theatrical excess stillÂ makes them HoudiniÂ masters of their genre.
Blazing through a set list that was aÂ fiery, yet congealed, alchemy of allÂ the best of their old andÂ new, the Jane’s boys delighted an eclectic mix of metal heads, punks, druggies, die-hards and scene dabblers comprising the crowd, much as they have for pretty muchÂ the entireÂ duration of theirÂ 27(!) years of cosmicÂ existence. MixingÂ old hits such as “Mountain Song”, “Been Caught Stealing”Â and, of course, “Jane Says”Â with newÂ tracksÂ including “Underground” (with which they opened), “Irresistible Force”Â and theÂ characteristically hydrophilic number, “Splash a Little Water on It”, the band was in stellar form.Â
Despite a brief downer interlude featuring a bizarre video ofÂ individuals making like Will Ferrell and punching a plasticÂ baby (a heavy-handed criticism of child abuse?),Â followed by a rather pedestrian acoustic sit-downÂ version of “Jane Says”Â (which really could only serve toÂ disappoint, given how sonically ingrained it is in listeners’ collective cochleasÂ from constant radio airplay over the years), the show was high energy and strung out on the soaring, dareÂ one say incomparable,Â guitar/vocal combination of Navarro and Farrell.Â
Truly, the man formerly known as Peretz Bernstein exhibitedÂ the tendencies which have made him one of rock’s most electrifying front men and even illustrated that he may be growing into a bit of a mensch in his old age. Pouring tequila and red wine in to the mouths of fans,Â tellingÂ them to “Never mix beer with wine” and “When a man sweats on a woman’s breasts they’re bonded,”Â and hugging and conversing with themÂ likeÂ a cross betweenÂ Bacchus andÂ Dr. Oz, Perry the impresario never left one feelingÂ less than entertained. Navarro, of course, held theÂ axe-wielding, top hat-doffing virtuosity down to aÂ key of C5. And Perkins (the drummer)Â and Chaney, (the intermittently used replacement on bass for founding member, Eric Avery), also showed no rust for the wear.Â
Here is a band that reminds what rock is all about. A bandÂ that still somehow harkens back toÂ Los Angeles, circa 1987, whereÂ groups like Jane’s, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and X heldÂ sway, displaying the seedy punk meets metal meets grunge meets ?Â energy of summerÂ night-lovingÂ artistsÂ flyingÂ stratospherically at/on Peter PanÂ speed.Â And they are still visually captivating! Not only with the swinging, twin burlesque dancersÂ with mile-long trains and massive, busty caryatids which wereÂ featured as the stage’s centerpiece, but each unto himself. All in all it was a splendorous evening, confirming that maybe these guys should put out anÂ album more than onceÂ per decade.