This summer, I finally made it to a show.
The first time Perry came to my town was with the original Lollapalooza line-up at the idyllic Blossom Music Center. I was invited by a gal I was kinda dating. Hindsight being 20/20, I think I wish I had been dating her a little more. She was cool. Cooler than me. (Speaking of nothing shocking…) But my intimidated 16-year-old self stuck his head in the sand and his fingers in his ears when the invitation came. Jane’s represented a secret world of clove-smoking art students, clad in weird black xl t-shirts emblazoned with letters like PIL and KMFDM and XTC. I had yet to crack the code, let alone be initiated into the scene.
But I think I’m glad I waited.
That first trip was marred by reports of blasphemy and nudity and a sloppy set cranked out by a band about to blow. Seems Perry’s a better man these days. A little Torah never hurt anyone, eh? He was certainly in high spirits in the ‘burgh this June, bouncing around the stage in his lamé and lycra-infused fashions, peeling off a layer a tune as he proved that 50 ain’t too old to rock and roll. Did I mention that he’s 50? Goodness. Stamina.
I’d witnessed Perry do what Perry does once before with Porno For Pyros a long time back. But I’d never sat at the feet of my all-time-guitar-hero Dave Navarro (sorry, Edge,) nor had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the elusive Eric Avery ’til now. I’ve often watched the Three Days documentary DVD which commemorates one of the last big tours featuring Flea on the four-string. This was a different experience.
Of course, Flea played the parts flawlessly, sliding effortlessly from supple to spank. Eric didn’t care about that. He wrote the damn parts in the first place and he was gonna play ’em any way he wanted. This meant pounding it out while stomping out a tribal tantric circle dance like an Iroquois warrior preparing for the fight, clad in direct-from-1991 combat boots and cutoffs. No poofery for this fella. While bass players are often unjustly remaindered to the periphery of the 8×10 glossy, hiding behind the ego(s) up front, this band never would have happened without Eric giving Perry a platform on which to wail. He’s the most essential Jane; here’s to détente if not reconciliation.
It was good to finally make it to a show. It was great to see the band in fine form after all these years. And it was pleasing to look around at the beer-sipping crowd of 30/40-Somethings politely comparing notes while respecting each other’s space to enjoy a civilized conert.
We all got older, but Jane’s stayed the same.