Williamsburg Park, Brooklyn, NY
August 17, 2012
Concert Review: Jane's Addiction at Williamsburg Park
There are rock shows and then there are rock stars. Friday night, Williamsburg Park hosted perhaps its largest crowd of the summer as alternative rock pioneers Jane’s Addiction and thousands of their Brooklyn friends would descend upon the outdoor venue despite rolling storm clouds threatening overhead. Although the rain would hold off, the thunderous booms that rang out in Brooklyn were not a product of the open skies, but the band onstage, ripping through their four album catalog to the delight of New York’s most passionate rock fans.
Rock shows like Jane’s Addiction’s “Theatre of the Escapists Tour” simply don’t exist anymore, as the band brought their stage show- fit for an arena- to this summer stage setting. The intricate backdrop setup, the staged theatrics, even the large video screens and meticulous lighting are all relics of a rock music decade gone by. But not for the enigmatic personalities in Jane’s Addiction. With the band set to take center stage at a quarter past eight, the lights went black with the only visible flicker to be seen being the end of the lit cigarette stretched out from the mouth of lead guitarist Dave Navarro. Outfitted in a black hat and his tattoo laden chest, the shirtless rocker simply exudes a rock star persona like no other artist. Joined onstage by the ageless Perry Farrell, the pair briefly acknowledged each other with a nod before launching into “Underground,” the opening track from last October’s release “The Great Escape Artist’” the band’s first in over eight years.
Jane’s wasted nary a minute to get the crowd involved, with the familiar “Mountain Song” and “Just Because” to follow, with swarms of people joining the singer in unison. Farrell paraded around with the passion of a frontman half his age, tirelessly gesturing to the excitable audience with his signature exaggerated poses. Responding to a particularly raucous applause following the iconic “Been Caught Stealing,” Farrell acknowledged the crowd- “I’m glad you like us. Thank you Brooklyn. I find Brooklyn irresistible,” as the band started up “Irresistible Force.” Navarro meanwhile never looked anything but the part, knowing full well that he was always the coolest guy in the room.
Despite any reports of inner turmoil that has plagued the progression of Jane’s Addiction throughout their run, onlookers would have never been able to tell on this night as the band looked as comfortable and sounded as on point as ever. Farrell’s typically howling vocals melodically blended with Navarro’s understated rock riffs, as drummer Stephen Perkins’ crushing skins paced each song brilliantly. The acoustic driven “Jane Says,” the harmonious “Classic Girl,” and the constant change of pace of “Three Days” brought the band to the close of their regular set, with dancing local residents and Jane’s Addiction faithful pleading for more from the quartet. The trippy “Splash a Little Water on It” served only as a precursor to a revved up “Ocean Size” and a memorable encore performance of “Stop!”
Time will tell where Jane’s Addiction will go from here. With rumors of another recording session on the docket once this leg of their tour concludes, Farrell and company seem to have their creativity flowing. And with so much left in the tank as performers and with thousands of fans itching and still willing to pay to watch them do their thing, it is up to Jane’s Addiction to continue to carry the torch of this unique set of skills previously thought to have been extinguished over time. The art of the rock star.
Jane’s Addiction- Live at Williamsburg Park, Brooklyn, NY
August 17, 2012
2. Mountain Song
3. Just Because
4. Been Caught Stealing
5. Ain’t No Right
6. Irresistible Force
7. Jane Says
8. Classic Girl
9. Up the Beach
11. Three Days
12. Splash a Little Water on It
13. Ocean Size
15. Summertime Rolls
- Jane Van Arsdale