A total of 47 bands played at Aftershock 2015, but only one that I refused to miss: Jane’s Addiction.
I’m coming up on 30 years of attending Jane’s shows, and I’ve never been to a bad one. Sure, some have been better than others, but they’re always interesting because there’s always the sense that anything can happen. Perry Farrell can be ringmaster, shaman, clown, or lounge lizard — or all at once. Dave Navarro can tear off an “I can’t believe that just happened” solo or phone in a professional but straightforward performance. The unpredictably is entirely on the front line, though: drummer Stephen Perkins is always as rock steady as they come.
And so I sat in the grass and watched the moon rise, waiting for security to let me into the photo pit in front of the stage. The crowd milled about, not yet at full strength, as many were over on another stage watching Coheed and Cambria. The big question among the fans was whether they were going to play Ritual de lo Habitual in its entirety or a mixed set.
We thought we had our answer when the prerecorded intro to Ritual echoed across the park 30 minutes later and the band launched into “Stop,” but when they followed with “Ain’t No Right” rather than “No One’s Leaving” we knew it was going to be a greatest hits kind of night.
The band sounded great, though I have a hunch that Perry had a pretty good buzz going. He slurred a bit during his stage patter, and told a nonsensical story allegedly from their ’91 visit to Sacramento wherein he took all of his dope to the projects to share with fellow addicts. The story’s climax was a loaded Perry crashing his car “somewhere right around here” and being saved by a legless, wheelchair-bound junkie.
They played no material off of the latest album, nor did they go with any covers or unreleased material. The set list was pure Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual with exception to “Just Because” and “Whores.” It was during the latter that two dancers descended from the catwalk with cables through the flesh near their shoulder blades. They swung in the air like a blend of stripper and trapeze artist.
The song ended and that’s when the “anything can happen” moment happened. One dancer was left dangling over Navarro’s head, apparently due to an equipment malfunction. A couple of roadies pulled at her feet a few times, which seemed like a bad idea to me given that she was suspended from her own meat. Finally Perry said, “Well, Dave, look at the bright side: You get her for one more song,” and the band launched into “Jane Says” while the swinging dancer made the best of it.
When the song ended, the roadies pushed a portable scaffolding onto the stage. The band climbed onto it, as did the roadies, and while the poor girl finally got a little relief from her own body weight they had a little fun with the anything can happen moment.
And that’s why you have more photos of a woman in her underwear then you have of the band, but before we get to those, here’s the setlist:
- Ain’t No Right
- Mountain Song
- Just Because
- Been Caught Stealing
- Three Days
- Up the Beach
- Ocean Size
- Jane Says