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Concert Reviews:
Jane's Addicition delivers a stirring "Ritual" at Freedom Hill

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, July 24, 2016

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STERLING HEIGHTS -- Twenty-five years ago, the first Lollapalooza tour visited what was then Pine Knob, a full house baking under bright sun and blast-furnace temperatures.

On Friday, July 22, two of that inaugural trek's acts -- headliner Jane's Addiction and Living Colour -- along with later Lollapalooza veteran Dinosaur Jr. -- dropped in on the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, with the same triple-digit heat index baking both fans and performers. As Jane's frontman Perry Farrell declared, "It's warm as a (lengthy expletive) here."

Fortunately the music was just as hot. All three acts were maybe a bit longer in the tooth (as was much of the crowd), but they still played with the ferocity they had when they graced the Lollapalooza stage, whether it was Living Colour frontman Corey Glover running through the pavilion and all the way up to the Freedom Hill lawn or Dinosaur Jr. previewing material from its upcoming album, "Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not."

The members of Jane's Addiction, meanwhile, looked like they'd crawled out of a time capsule or cyrogenic chamber -- ageless, in other words. Farrell was lithe and energetic in his black suit and matador hat, gushing about the 1986 vintage wine promoters had provided -- and even pouring samples into front row fans' beer cups. Bare-chested guitarist Dave Navarro looked like he would step into a UFC ring, while drummer Stephen Perkins pounded like he was still possessed with the spirit of '91. Time seemed truly on their side.

And the time that's passed certainly didn't hurt the material. Jane's summer tour is celebrating the group's second studio album, "Ritual de lo habitual" -- also turning 25 this year -- playing the adventurous, eclectic nine-song set in its entirety. Accompanied by four dancers who artfully interpreted several of 13 total songs in the 90-minute set -- which stretched a few minutes past Freedom Hill's 11 p.m. curfew -- the band reverently recreated the critically acclaimed album. The opening salvo of "Stop!," "No One's Leaving," "Ain't No Right," "Obvious" and a forceful "Been Caught Stealing" blew by in a hard-rocking flurry, but that just set the table for what was to come.

The second half of "Ritual" proved as intriguing onstage 25 years later as it was when it first came out -- particularly the extended opus "Three Days," which found Navarro shredding through the song's nearly 11 minutes with unhinged abandon. The trippy "Then She Did" and the waltz "Of Course" were eccentric delights, while "Classic Girl" built from its gentle opening to a muscular, sweeping conclusion .

Having Jane's play the entire "Ritual" was hardly an indulgence, but the group still rewarded the Freedom Hill crowd's attention with some well-chosen encores, including the titanic "Mountain Song," the frenetic "Just Because" -- during which Farrell reminded the fans about Jane's first Detroit show, at Saint Andrews Hall -- and the epic "Ted, Just Admit It...," during which a pair of leather-clad dancers were suspended above the crowd and swung over the front row.

And "Jane Says," with its own reference to Saint Andrews, closed the night like a hymn, another past glory that still sounded fresh and relevant in the present. "Detroit, we never gave up on you," Farrell said. "Don't you give up on us." He can be assured that's highly unlikely.

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