Jane's Addiction - February 06, 1991 - Golden Hall, San Diego, CA

Date: February 06, 1991
Location: Golden Hall, San Diego, CA
Recorded: No known recording
Status: Confirmed
Type: Concert
Lineup: Perry Farrell
Dave Navarro
Stephen Perkins
Eric Avery

Show Information:

San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA)
February 7, 1991
Edition: 1,2,3,4,5
Page: C-4

Addicted to talk, Farrell should shut up and sing
Author: John Godfrey; Special to the Tribune

Young America's favorite hedonistic rock band -- Jane's Addiction -- performed in concert last night before a sold-out crowd at Golden Hall.

"Ain't no wrong now, ain't no right," wailed Perry Farrell, the pointy-nosed, skin-and-bones front man for the Los Angeles-based post-punk group. "There's only pleasure and pain!"

Holding true to that proclamation, last night's 75-minute show was both a pleasure and a pain to behold.

On the pleasurable front, Jane's Addiction is a wonderfully rowdy group. Farrell's bandmates -- Stephen Perkins, Dave Navarro and Eric Avery -- are wild, powerful musicians. During songs such as "Trip Away," "No One's Leaving" and "Stop!" Golden Hall throbbed with energy as the three players blasted away at their instruments. The young, hip and pouty crowd appeared to know most of the words to most of the songs, and when Jane's Addiction let loose with a fast-paced tune, chaos broke loose throughout the concert hall as dancing bodies slammed into one another.

Farrell, an enigmatic, spiritual character, commanded attention on stage last night, dancing and singing and encouraging the crowd to go crazy. Sporting a brush-cut (as opposed to his former, trademark dreadlocks) and gesticulating haphazardly, Farrell appeared incapable of doing wrong in the eyes of his numerous, fanatic fans. He remained the center of focus throughout the evening.

Jane's Addiction performed a bulk of the material of its latest album, 1990's Grammy-nominated "Ritual de lo Habitual." The album features the track "Been Caught Stealing," a Top 40 crossover hit that 91X listeners voted as 1990's song of the year. Unfortunately, last night's rendititon of "Been Caught Stealing" was a rip-off; a poorly arranged, terrible-sounding version of a catchy pop song. The vocals sounded distant and muddy, and Farrell screamed, rather than sang, the blunt, humorous lyrics.

Jane's Addiction also botched some of the lesser-known tunes. "Three Days," a slow, self-indulgent song about a love triangle, seemed to drone on for about three weeks last night. Similarly, the instrospective "Of Course" dragged and proved to be an unsatisfying encore.

Farrell is the heart and soul of Jane's Addiction, and just as he deserves much of the credit for the band's popularity, he deserves much of the blame for last night's uneven, uninspired concert.

Occasionally, Farrell acts as if he has the world figured out. On the sleeve to "Ritual de lo Habitual," for instance, Farrell includes a letter to parents that explains how older generations have messed up the world for its children: "Oh mother, father, your blindness to our most blessed gift, NATURE, leaves us with the overwhelming task of correcting your utter mess...Do you take the time to explain things to them (your children), or do you blame the rest of the world for their mistakes?"

At one point last night, Farrell embarked on a similar diatribe, this time talking about the Persian Gulf War; not surprisingly, his analysis shed little light on world politics.

"Seems like a lot of bombs and not much damage," said Farrell between songs. "Hey! Don't throw rocks at me -- I'm not the one screwing up the world. Talk to your congressman, or better yet, talk to the president."

Or still better, just shut up and sing another song. Even in singing, though, Farrell seemed to be caught up in his persona, transfixed by the power he held over the audience.

At various points during the concert, Farrell would wave his arms about from side to side, looking as if he were manipulating the crowd in a puppeteer/puppet relationship. As the night wore on, however, Farrell himself seemed more like the dupe -- yet another pop star so impressed with himself that feels no need to put on a quality performance.