October 8, 2001
Ten years after Lollapalooza entered the American lexicon, founder Perry Farrell has set out on the road with the reunited Janes Addiction. This time the tour is called Jubilee. With only three acts and a lot less overall spectacle and hype, the festival arrived at Philips Arena. First up came Femi Kuti, who are reportedly Farrells favorite band. With tribal rhythms, reggae beats and gospel and soul vocals, they captivated the early arrivals with a set of powerful, hypnotic mini events that were less like songs than expressions of raw human emotion with a beat. The crowd was respectful and polite even if not as receptive as they should have been given the strong performance.
Live, on the other hand, was exactly the opposite. They achieved maximum crowd response with minimal output. Performing acoustically on a living room style stage, the over emotive and sometimes comically melodramatic band were too laid back to build any live intensity. Even though the placenta immediately fell to the floor when they opened with Lightning Crashes, the set never picked up momentum. Simple Creed, They Stood Up For Love, and Run To The Water all sounded fine, but lacked any spark. I Alone came the closest to rocking but thats arguable at best. Perhaps those are the limitations of an acoustic performance in a mega-arena. Late in the set, the band took the time to acknowledge recent news events by covering John Lennons Imagine. Surprisingly, they did a competent job of it as lighters waved through the darkness. In the same mode, they closed with Overcome. As many radio and video channels have adopted this brand new cut as an anthem concerning the September tragedies, the crowd was very familiar with it. While it was a bit of a maudlin and pretentious way to end their set, it worked under the current world climate and managed to comfort a lot of generation 99Xers.
Luckily, Janes Addiction was not going for any of that understatement so popular with so many modern alt acts. Appearing ghostly pale in a massive flowing white gown, Perry Farrell took up most of the stage for a quiet opening. The blue lights only added to the haunting effect. This only lasted for a few minutes before guitarist Dave Navarro blasted into a refreshingly shameless rock and roll list of songs. Ocean Size and Aint No Right hit the audience head on. The Mardi Gras like bacchanalia of their performance was pure Janes Addiction. Perry Farrell was the mystical, decadent shaman on the epic Three Days. A hand full of dancers (re: strippers) undulated and writhed in time with the music the whole evening. Nets and sheets draped the stage and Christmas lights dangled over the top of the general admission floor to a second stage. Stop was crushing and was fuel to a madhouse mosh pit. Following that, there was a long lull where the show seemed to lose focus. Summertime Rolls was a nice surprise, but the acoustic set that followed on the second stage (in the audience) was mostly wasted time. Jane Says was great, but technical problems impacted the show soon after. Feedback and poor mixes dogged an otherwise fine performance of Classic Girl. Then Dave Navarro took over the vocal mic for Hungry. Sure, the acoustic version of this solo tune conjured Led Zeppelin, but the audience here came to see Janes Addiction and you cant have that without Perrys always a little out of key vocals. Besides, anyone who would have rather heard his new material would have gone to see him solo just two weeks before at 99Xs Big Day Out. After a few more progressively flaccid tunes, the band headed back to the big stage. After an extended hair metal style intro, the band launched into Mountain Song. The pit went berserk again. Perry even donned a mirrored zoot suit and purple pimp daddy hat replete with feather. Ted, Just Admit It closed the show a bit too soon. Drummer Stephen Perkins led the band as the finale got more theatrical. Dancers succumbed to spinning torture swings and even Farrell himself wound up in a self-inflicted dizzying ride. The dreamlike atmosphere of the show was at its most otherworldly during this closing few minutes. The audience seemed shocked when the band left the stage.
With people yelling desperately for Been Caught Stealing, Janes Addiction returned. They never played the request, though. Instead, the three musicians of the group beat on kettle drums while the singer belted out the early tribal gem Chip Away. It was a stunning version of the song, but the crowd obviously had something else in mind. When the houselights came up, there was an audible gasp through the venue. There was even a bit of booing due to the relatively short set. Perhaps the fact that Janes Addiction left them wanting more was lost on those unsatisfied ticket holders. However, if the band members demons dont claim them, Ill be willing to bet those complainers will shell out the bucks in another ten years in hopes of hearing what they missed back in 01.