If you really wanna know what's at the heart of one of rocks more eclectic and temperamental bands then it was there for all to see on Wednesday night. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their overlooked and frankly underrated second album Nothing's Shocking, a 55 year old Perry Farrell and his band mates took us down memory lane. Commencing with a complete album performance of 1988's Nothing's Shocking Farrell posed, pouted, pranced, preened and provoked by turn charming, funny and above all confident and content. Gone was the anger, arrogance and tempeamentality of youth. Old divisions seem to remain most notably between Farrell and Navarro and it seemed to take an age for the moody guitarist to actually start to enjoy himself as much as everyone else.
There was a subdued start as we (the audience) stood in almost disbelief at what we were seeing and it wasn't till the albums 7th track Mountain Song that things really started to take off.
Right from the bass led opener (Up the Beach) Chris Chainey was magnificent. A model of rock solid stability providing a solid platform for Navarro's guitar pyrotechnics and Farrells rantings. Let's not forget all but one of tonight's songs (Just Because) was played by and in some cases written by Eric Avery the bands original bassist. For me that's what underpins the style of Jane's Addiction. However, Chainey plays awesomely and carries the burden of expectation with sensitivity, modesty and ease.
Yet it's Steve Perkins that truly embodies the heart of Jane's Addiction. Not through his relentless, flawless yet sensitive and unique drumming it's purely the joy he so obviously feels whenever he plays these songs, with these people. After 30 years, writing, touring, recording the joy of playing those Jane's Addiction songs just can't be hidden. Perkins has become the bands curator releasing unheard recordings and boxed sets full of interesting unseen pictures. When you see him looking through old photos of him and Dave when they were just boyhood friends you realise this is much more than a band for him. It's his family.
"True leaders gone of land and people, we chose no kin but adopted strangers, The family weakens by the bites we swallow!"
PS. The night was made truly memorable on a personal level for me as the last time I saw Jane's Addiction was at Brixton Academy on their Ritual de lo Habitual tour some 24 years ago now. Wednesday was extra extra special cos I was there with the same people I was with 24 years ago, Paul Claridge, Jason Docker and Mark (Smurf) Docker. What a night we had. All of us with wings!