Monday, May 11, 2009

Concert Review: NIN/Jane's Addiction at Ford Amphitheatre

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2009 at 3:39 PM

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Photos by Phil Bardi.

Let's put this in perspective: when Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails toured together for the first Lollapalooza in 1991, current high-school seniors were just being born, crying for their momma's milk. Now NIN and Jane's have returned to milk the cash cow one more time. Though never officially declared a reunion tour, the fact that the original four members of Jane's Addiction - singer Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Steven Perkins - have only occasionally been in the same room together, let alone played a show,  certainly made it feel like one. And that's OK by me.  Jane's pulled the plug at the peak of their success, leaving many fans and soon-to-be-fans craving a live show.

Trent Reznor is a different story. The reclusive god of goth has been releasing albums once every five years or so and touring about the same. Then he dropped the news that this tour would be NIN's last. Maybe that's so, but rock stars have a penchant for breaking such promises.

So, what can you expect when two powerhouse bands schedule a big reunion/farewell tour? Overworked fog machines? Yep. Tons of faded black t-shirts? Yep. Power-packed shows filled with the greatest hits? Err..  Not so much, at least for the NIN set.

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Catching many of the crowd off guard, a four-piece NIN took the stage rather early, just before 8 p.m.  Reznor --  dressed in a green t-shirt, black jorts and combat boots -- led the band through a spirited five-song run to open to the set: "Now I'm Nothing," "Terrible Lie," "SIN," "March of the Pigs" and "Piggy."  The performance lost steam as the band trudged through tracks from all over the NIN catalog. It seemed like most of the crowd -- many attending their one concert of the year -- were waiting for "Closer." They didn't get it, and seemed to be even more confused that the band chose to play an Adam Ant cover so late in the set. Reznor finally won the crowd back when he ended the set with great nostalgia (but no tripped out video) with "Head Like a Hole" and "Hurt." (More text, pictures, setlists, and video after the jump)

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The nostalgia theme continued when, after a short stage change (both bands were keeping it simple; Jane's had two 30 foot, naked Betty Paige-a-likes framing the stage), a video appeared with Kevin Bacon and a precocious kid talking about how he never got to see Jane's before they broke up. The band then charged into their dynamic opus, "Three Days."

Known for quirky banter, the gender-bending Perry Farrell was dressed in an outfit Liza Minnelli would be proud of, and talk about the new boa he just purchased from a South Florida boutique. There was little nonsense otherwise as the band tackled their biggest songs: "Ain't No Right," "Pig's In Zen," "Then She Did," "Standing in the Shower.....Thinking," "Been Caught Stealing," "Ted," "Just Admit It," "Mountain Song," "Ocean Size" and "Stop." By the end of the encore, all the drunks and sentimentals were yelling for "Jane Says," and as the stage crew brought out two acoustic guitars and a set of steel drums, everyone knew they would get to sing along to the band's anthem.

Throughout the thirteen song, 80 minute set the band was tight - Dave Navarro was solid and shirtless, but not entirely splendid on lead guitar and Farrell's voice had only a few moments where age and wear were that noticeable. NIN fan's outnumbered Jane's fan 2:1 (NIN t-shirts 100:1), but seemed to leave the show more impressed by the Jane's set.

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NIN, May 9th, 2009, Tampa Ford Amphitheatre:

(Start time 7:50 p.m.) Now I'm Nothing, Terrible Lie, SIN, March of the Pigs, Piggy, The Frail, The Wretched, Discipline, Head Down, La Mer, The Good Soldier, I Do Not Want This, The Downward Spiral, Non-Entity, Lights in the Sky, Wish, Physical (You're So) (Adam Ant cover), The Hand That Feeds, Head Like a Hole

E: Hurt

Jane's Addiction, May 9th, 2009, Tampa Ford Amphitheatre:

(9:40 p.m.) Three Days (with Kevin Bacon movie intro), Whores, Ain't No Right, Pig's In Zen, Then She Did, Standing in the Shower..... Thinking, Been Caught Stealing, Ted, just Admit It, Mountain Song, Ocean Size

E: Stop, Jane Says (with two acoustic guitars and steel drums, video below)

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