Nothing's shocking about Jane's Addiction live at the Citi
Citi, Wednesday, March 1.
By DAVID STERN
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FOR a band like Jane's Addiction in doing a live show is how to match their vinyl performance. Their last album, Nothing's Shocking, as well as their live album, Jane's Addiction, were so well-produced that any attempt to sound like the record would have been doomed to failure. In this regard, the show last Wednesday at the Citi was a mixed bag. Thrashing tunes like "Pigs in Zen" and "Trip Away" were even better live, sending the crowd into a slam-dancing fury. A stirring rendition of "Summertime Rolls", perhaps their best song, was one highlight of the show. The other was "Ted, Just Admit It," the song from which the album's title, "nothing's shocking," is drawn. Singer Perry Farrell took off his shirt before the song, displaying the earring in his left nipple to those close enough to see. The audience helped the band by shouting along to the repeated line, "Sex is violence."
The show had its down sides, especially the closing with a clumsy rendition of "Jane Says." Other songs were also failed attempts at sounding like the record. The guitarist, who was excellent on Nothing's Shocking, was only mediocre live. And while the band had a lot of energy, it sorely lacked spontaneity. The guitarist wore dark sunglasses and hardly ever looked up from his guitar. Although the bassist and drummer are superb musicians and made their presence known musically, they appeared to be nothing more than backup musicians on stage. Farrell danced around in his own unique style, but it all seemed very calculated. The band barely acknowledged the crowd, except when Farrell gave the audience his bottle of wine.
The audience, a diverse mix of punkers, metalheads, and college preppies, didn't seem to notice the band's lack of interest and was wild for the whole show. Fans threw themselves on top of the crowd, and there was constant slam-dancing near the stage. Unfortunately, the show ended after only an hour and a quarter, at which point the audience seemed just warmed up.
Jane's Addiction is a great band on record, and although their live performances don't always match up to their recorded ones, I look forward to the next time they play in Boston. As they become more popular, they will probably play bigger shows and become more boring and calculated live. Their December show at T.T. the Bear's, a club a fraction of the size of the 1000-plus capacity Citi, was, according to common consensus, a better show. At least if their live performances get dull, there'll always be the record.