International success can make musicians lose perspective, take themselves too seriously and let their egos get the best of them.
Jane’s Addiction is not one of these bands.
The recently-reunited group returned to Las Vegas last night and made it clear that after all these years, after all the break-ups and breaks and squabbles and struggles, Perry Farrell still has that youthful spirit, a passion for performing and is out to have fun.
The charismatic and eccentric frontman celebrated his 50th birthday last month with a reunion concert-slash-50th-birthday-party at the Mirage.
That April 11th show was the first time Jane’s Addiction had played together in over a decade, but Farrell and his bandmates have since taken their show on the road. Last night, that show rolled through the Pearl at the Palms.
The concert featured an impressive (and, some would argue, curious) opening act: Trent Reznor and the current Nine Inch Nails.
Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello’s new project, Street Sweeper Social Club, is also on the tour but was not on the bill for last night’s gig.
In the absence of Morello’s new group, Reznor opened the show with a blast of fog, sound and light.
After a handful of songs past and present, he turned it up to 11 and showed the crowd once more that he still has what it takes.
Halfway through his set, he indicated that the show at the Pearl could be his last in Las Vegas.
“This is our last tour,” he said.
(Note: He may have said, “This is our last tour for a while,” – his words were unclear – but the collection of people I was with heard no “for a while” or anything along those lines, unfortunately.)
After 90 minutes of solid performing, the band took a brief break before returning for a short encore.
While they worked through a range of songs from the NIN retrospective, two very conspicuous omissions were left unsung: “Closer” and “The Perfect Drug.”
Reznor did, however, include a range of other hits in his set list, including “The Hand That Feeds” and ”Hurt,” which Johnny Cash covered in 2002 on an album Reznor produced, the year before he died.
When Jane’s Addiction took to the stage at 10:30 p.m. Farrell proved once again that while he may be half a century old, he still knows how to – and loves to – party.
While many fans questioned why it was Nine Inch Nails who opened for Jane’s Addiction and not the other way around, the final performance of the night answered the question with a resounding “because while NIN rocks hard, Jane’s kicks ass, too, and puts on one heck of an entertaining show while they do it.”
Farrell danced back and forth across the stage, showcasing his distinct brand of choreography as he went along. His enthusiasm emanated from the stage and was contagious.
Two songs into the set, guitarist Dave Navarro shed his shirt to reveal his tattooed and pierced torso, much to the delight of his female fans in the front row.
Later, when one of Farrell’s adoring (and chesty) female fans tossed her bra onstage, he jokingly examined it, twirled it, and held it up against his chest.
Then he tossed it back into the crowd and told the D-cup diva to “Fill these up with wine and bring 'em back to me,” and playfully skipped back toward the drum kit.
The frontman’s antics were noticeably more sexual this time around, too, perhaps due to the absence of his wife, Etty Lau-Farrell.
Farrell took the liberty of his liberty to tell the audience about the homoerotic dream he had the night before, wherein a curly-haired man gave him oral satisfaction; emphatically and repeatedly humping (and spanking) one of the stage monitors; and he joked about guitarist Navarro’s proudest, not-so-private private part.
At one point, he observed, “Even in a soulless desert we can find love together.”
Shirtless and wearing sparkly silver pants, the singer was a human disco ball from the waist down.
The classic pick-up line, “Do you have a mirror in your pocket? Because I can see myself in your pants…” could not have been more appropriate.
The band made their way through an hour’s worth of songs before taking a short break for yet another ubiquitous pre-planned encore.
Between follow-up songs, Navarro at one point walked off stage right to embrace a woman who was waiting in the wings, light himself a cigarette and grab his hat. Say what you will about him, but he knows how to multitask.
Not long after, kilt-clad percussionist Stephen Perkins broke out the steel and bongo drums for the final song of the night: a fun rendition of the band’s first single, “Jane Says.”
After the song came to a close, the bandmates took their bows and left the stage. Where they went from there I’m not sure, but if Farrell was there, chances are it was fun.