Jane’s Addiction | 02.22.12

Grown men abusing baby dolls, dancers, and very large paper-mache breasts all played a part in the hour-and-a-half set.



Photos: Cencio Boc

The Pageant, St. Louis

From the opening moments of “Underground” off 2011’s The Great Escape Artist, there was no doubt that it was in fact Jane’s Addiction making their was onto the stage like the seasoned veterans they have become. No one else in alternative rock put on quite the theatrically staged and intricate, yet raw powerhouse of a show that Perry Ferrell, Dave Navarro, & Co. bring. 

Having been absent from St. Louis since late 2003 (a year in which they appeared here twice), it felt fitting that the band would give the city the opening salvo of shots fired, from the solos of Navarro to the ever-changing drumming styles of Stephen Perkins and the always sexually charged presence of 52-year-old front man Farrell. It is no secret that the band has gone through a wide-array of bass players through many extended hiatuses; however, as soon as off-and-on bassist Chris Chaney fired into “Mountain Song” from 1998’s Nothing’s Shocking, everything felt very right.

Though this was titled the “Theatre of the Escapists” tour, it was essentially a greatest-hits setlist. The band went through only four tracks off the latest release, focusing the largest amount of time on five offerings from Ritual de lo Habitual. The band also chose to bring back a few songs that had been relegated to rarities in an acoustic segment of the set. “Classic Girl” had not been played live since 2002, and “I Would for You” only twice in the same amount of time. 

As soon as the closing notes of a sing-along version of “Jane Say’s” wrapped up, the band took a minor break to reset the stage and quickly launch into an uplifting version of “Irresistible Force,” a single which proved the band still relevant to radio-rock after their eight-year recording absence. Projectors filled the stage with an artistic treatment that closely mimicked the song’s video.  

After an explosive performance of “STOP!” the band would again briefly exit one more time before Farrell came back to give his endless thanks to the venue for allowing the band to set up a few days early, and to the fans for being what was “missing” during the rehearsals. Grown men abusing baby dolls, dancers, and very large paper-mache breasts all played a part in the hour-and-a-half set. Ultimately, nothing would play a more important role in the opening night of the tour than music, and the band put aside all other projects (Lollapalooza, reality television) to deliver a classic show that will no doubt leave fans salivating for more. 
Openers Black Box Revelation delivered a stunningly good 40-minute set in support. The Brussels, Belgium, natives brought a set that was entirely void of the theatrics of the headliners, and packed full of garage rock with just a pinch of Smashing Pumpkins thrown into the vocals. In a time when many two-piece bands have either disbanded (see: The White Stripes) or added touring members (e.g., The Black Keys), Black Box more than made it work. Vocalist/guitarist Jan Paternoster feverishly manuevered his very large set-up of effects pedals to create just the proper sound for each song. The duo no doubt earned many fans when Paternoster dedicated “I Think I Like You” to the sold-out theater. | Bruce Matlock



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