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The Great Escape To Wisconsin

Jane's Addiction
Eagles Ballroom
Milwaukee, WI
March 24, 2012
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Story and photos by Gypsy Davey

I stepped off of 24th Street entering the Rave through the side entrance mentally prepared for the expected. What I happened upon however was something closer to Vaudevillian than that typically akin to a grunge show. Did I just step over a threshold to a Scott Joplin Ragtime-warp? Milling about the venue, prepping for their evening duties, each of the staff was decked - head to toe - in 20's inspired regalia. Derby's and Bowlers and handlebar stashes, Peacock feathers and Flapper gowns, I slinked past the ticket-girl, distracted as she completed her attire by inching up her garter to a height not witnessed as I turned my head allowing her the little privacy available. This isn't Joplin's world I've entered; I've passed through to no alternate universe. I'm in the very real, the very now, mind of Perry Farrell.

Promoting their most recent album The Great Escape, Jane's Addiction passed along their dictum, dressing up the experience for us all, to the nines. We responded - voix de ville - "voice of our city" with welcoming gestures of applause and appreciation. After all, as the tour's chosen last stop, we weren't about to disappoint. A fitting stop to end their tour, or simply coincidental, as just up the road in Appleton, the greatest of all escape artists, Harry Houdini once resided. Renowned for his gimmickry and audience involvement, Farrell and the gang aped the master with sensational showmanship and like results.

Act One. To a darkened stage, Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" perked our ears in anticipation of the main act. Dave Navarro drenched with cool calm approached his tech stage, lit a smoke, strapped on his guitar and opened the night fittingly with the first cut from their new release, titled "Underground." Farrell pin-balled kinetically across the stage yelling how he's a hustler and that he'll never give up the underground, over deep thumping bass chops served by touring bassist Chris Chaney. Navarro opting for the philosophy of not exerting oneself if it cannot improve upon the aura of cool, stood stationary, with the occasional lean-back to color his solos with a richer articulation. Drummer Stephen Perkins shined when, solely silhouetted in a green bath of light, hammered the crisp opening beats of "Ted, Just Admit It..."

The Second Act opened with an intimate semi-acoustic session brought up to the front of the stage. Lifted by a low riser, Perkins sat behind his kit, Navarro, centered, sat on a throne that looked borrowed from the late Ronnie James Dio, Chaney sat to Dave's left and Farrell free-roamed between them all as the string of "Classic Girl," "Jane Says," and "Chip Away" energized the crowd with the faux unplugged set. Throughout the night the element of exotic sideshow fare grew. What started as mere periphery eye fodder with gowned girls swinging in unison, as if on flying trapeze, later became more of an integral part of the attraction, by the strut of their wares across the precipice of the stage, sensuously teasing.

By the Third Act, the fans where in a frenzy with the occasional stage dive and body surf. Farrell himself, cheering it on with a bottle of Vodka in hand, ripped into the later rounds beginning with "Stop," before finishing out the night with "Words Right Out of My Mouth," and finally the Nothing's Shocking closer "Ocean Size."

Milwaukee Set List:
Mountain Song
Just Because
Been Caught Stealing
Ain't No Right
Ted, Just Admit ItÉ
Twisted Tales
Classic Girl
Jane Says
Chip Away
End to the Lies
Three Days
Words Right Out of My Mouth
Ocean Size

Related articles:

Jane's Addiction (Voodoo Music Experience 2009) - Festival review - New Orleans, LA - October 2009
Jane's Addiction (Lollapalooza) - Festival review - Chicago, IL - August 2009
Jane's Addiction (Lollapalooza) - Festival review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2003
Jane's Addiction / Live - Concert review - Rosemont, IL - October 2001
Jane's Addiction - Kettle Whistle Album review
Perry Farrell - Exclusive interview - December 2007

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