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Concert Reviews:
Jane's Addiction blows the roof off at the Fillmore Detroit

Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012

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DETROIT -- Amidst its arty pretense and theatrical conceits -- both good things, mind you -- and interpersonal dramas, it's sometimes easy to forget that Jane's Addiction is quite a good rock 'n' roll band.

Until the quartet hits the stage, that is.

Playing the second date of its latest Theatre of the Escapists Tour on Friday night (Feb. 24) at the Fillmore Detroit, Jane's reminded fans that is, first a foremost, a BAND, delivering a pounding 90-minute set that drove an array of opulent, impressionistic eye-candy rather than the other way around.

There were videos -- sometimes titillating (the S&M montage during "Ted, Just Admit It..."), sometimes disturbing (the baby doll abuse before and after "Twisted Tales"). A trio of costumed actors swung above the band during parts of the show, or cavorted on a raised onstage platform. One, dressed as what frontman Perry Farrell called a "damn bird," even tried to commandeer the controls for the lighting rig at one point.

All of that made the night more fun, of course, but the star attraction was still the music -- 15 songs plucked from Jane's four albums (including four from 2011's "The Great Escape Artist"), all sounding bigger than just four players on the stage and as contemporaneous now as the oldest tracks did during the late 80s and early 90s.

The fluid tautness that distinguishes "The Great Escape Artist" made its mark on Friday's show as well. Opening with a fierce "Underground" from the new album, Jane's powered through "Mountain Song" and inserted a fake end into "Just Because" before adding a bit more swing to "Been Caught Stealing." An unplugged-style trio (the instruments were still electric) included "Classic Girl," "I Would For You" and "Jane Says," with the charismatic Farrell making the first of several mentions of his late ex-girlfriend Xiola Blue, who hailed from Ann Arbor and was featured on the menage-a-trois cover of 1990's triple-platinum "Ritual de lo habitual."

Jane's largely didn't stretch out until "Three Days," which gave guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins plenty of space to stretch out; the show's two female adjuncts were writing on the stage, but it's fair to say the Fillmore fans were more focused on the playing. A frenetic "(Stop!" brought the show to a close, with the new "Words Right Outta My Mouth" and the anthemic "Ocean" filling out the encores.

"Was that OK? I mean...I don't know," an ebullient Farrell said towards the end of the night. He didn't have to ask; "OK," in fact, was a serious understatement.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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