Jane's Addiction's Stage AE concert devolves into the Perry Farrell Show
Of all the times I've seen Jane's Addiction, I don't remember Perry Farrell ever playing the sports card. You know, the whole rah-rah Pirates/Steelers thing that so many visiting frontmen use to work the crowd.
On Wednesday night, the singer even donned a Pirates cap for one song.
Maybe that's what happens when you put a band, any band, between the two stadiums.
Jane's Addiction was not only at Stage AE -- it was in Stage AE, making this the first time the alt-rock titans have played a club show here since 1989 at Metropol.
Career implications aside, that's a lot of sound and a lot of ego to pack into a moderately sized room.
One thing missing, though, from Jane's Addiction is original bassist Eric Avery, who always seems to add some extra punch to the band between guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins. He's replaced by the more nondescript Chris Chaney.
For the most part, it was the Perry Farrell Show, in which the shirtless singer in his tight black trousers pranced, posed and gyrated while still hitting those shriekingly high notes. At 53. The band's usual burlesque-sleaze theater was scaled down to a pair of black-haired women who rode swings and donned bondage gear for the climax.
Although this is billed as the Theater of the Escapists tour, the year-old "The Great Escape Artist" -- which doesn't hold a candle to the early stuff -- didn't make much impact. They sampled from it three times, including the slow, brooding opener "Underground" and the encore "Splash a Little Water on It," which was upstaged by a circus sideshow geek gluing feathers to his face -- or something appalling like that.
The bulk of the set came from the first two albums, delivered with good results, with the possible exception of "Been Caught Stealing" which had chaotic energy but was off its groove. "Jane Says" was a jangly sit-down session that got the crowd singing along joyfully.
Opening band Big Black Delta re-emerged to beat the primal drums for "Chip Away," while Farrell threw back a bottle of red wine and played with the echo.
Those longing for some heavy guitar crunch got it from "Mountain Song," the adrenaline-packed "Whores" (long a live staple since the band's pre-label days) and, of course, the set-closing "Three Days," unleashing the Zeppelin-esque fury of the stoic Navarro and Perkins.
The set clocked in at under 90 minutes, but even that is a lot of Perry Farrell.
He was quite chatty -- about how "awesome" the city is, about how clothes fit him because he's skinny and, of all things, about the Pirates.
He even rolled out the story of Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter on LSD.
"Just for that alone, cheers to you, cheers to you, Pittsburgh!," he said. "We've done a lot of shows on LSD. How do you know we're not on it right now?"
We don't, but wouldn't they start sounding like some old Fillmore jam band? That certainly didn't happen.
First Published August 23, 2012 10:18 am