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It’s always 1990 somewhere

Jane's Addiction at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver
Jane’s Addiction at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Aug 31 2012.

Jane’s Addiction at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Aug. 31

Bottles of tequila, bondage girls in ball-gags, shirtless dudes with pierced nipples—it’s always 1990 somewhere, I suppose.

At least, that’s how it felt last night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. When was the last time you saw a shirtless dude (well, who wasn’t a drummer) onstage? Last night we got two of them—guitarist Dave Navarro and singer Perry Farrell in full “all-I’ve-got-to-show-for-my-addiction-is-this-cut-bod” mode. And when was the last time, outside of a Motley Crue concert or a Taboo Naughty and Nice Sex Show, two members of the fairer sex paraded around onstage wearing ball-gags?

(How quintessentially ’90s is this:  according to the Jane’s Addiction Wiki entry, during the first Lollapalooza tour – Farrell practically invented Lollapalooza, if you recall – the band frequently covered Sly and the Family Stone‘s “Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey”  with Ice-T and Body Count.)

The audience, which stood for the whole show, seemed quite delighted to be transported back in time, to when life held such promise that you, too, could imagine yourself shirtless onstage between two bondage queens. Or maybe that’s just me. But then life happens and you spend your time thinking about real estate.

Random thoughts during the show:

• recalling the first time I heard the band’s debut Nothing’s Shocking, specifically the song “Standing in the Shower… Thinking”, back in 1989. I was in a car and the driver was blasting the album as we drove down Davie Street

• trying to recall seeing them open for the Pixies at the Forum at the PNE

• wondering what happened to them after Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)

• wondering about Perry Farrell’s sex life

• wondering about Perry Farrell’s heroin addiction (although he was all about snowboarding and Whistler last night  – unless those terms are just euphemisms)

• wondering if Perry Farrell shaves his ‘pits

• trying to recall some of Dave Navarro’s girlfriends (Tila Tequila is one)

• wondering if Navarro even owns a shirt

• hoping the bottle of tequila (probably Dobel – the tequila maker is sponsoring free downloads of the latest Jane’s Addiction album IF you have a U.S. IP address) Farrell passed into the crowd would come my way

• hoping that and some thoughtful citizen would pass along one of the many joints in our immediate vicinity (didn’t happen. We must still be in a recession)

Highlights of the set were “Jane Says” (acoustic), “Summertime Rolls” (last song, a sweet reminder and end-of-summer sayonara), “Three Days”, and “Been Caught Stealing”. No surprises there.

After the show, my concert buddy Will said that the woman he had been standing next to, who had been so enthusiastic at the start—it was her birthday—had left halfway through. She had gotten a swig from that bottle of tequila. Well, she deserved it more than I did. Not only was it her birthday but, from what she’d told Will, she hadn’t been out in 10 years because she’d been staying home to take care of her terminally ill son.

I hope she enjoyed what she saw.

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