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The kind of rock and roll Jane’s Addiction served up this past Tuesday at Boston’s Blue Hills Bank Pavilion was the music that they’ve always dished out over the span of their 30 year career: pulsating, sexy, wryly brilliant, deliciously exuberant. Though unpredictable and strange and perhaps accidentally poignant, their 1991 sophomore album Ritual de lo Habitual was not only inundated with extravagant melodies and blistering eccentricity, but it effortlessly stood the test of time. As Jane’s performed the record from beginning to end in honor of its 25th anniversary, it was clear that in three decades the boys haven’t missed a single beat.
If you squinted hard enough at the stage while the band graced it, there’s a good chance you could have easily confused the year to be 1986 as opposed to 2016. While frontman Perry Farrell flaunted his signature strut, he flew through Ritual classics like “Stop!” and “Been Caught Stealing.” He even found a way to balance scathing political commentary alluding to very recent speech stealing (“I’m tired of motherfuckers walking around like they shit don’t stink….plagarizing motherfuckers”) to playfully introducing their catalogue (“It’s a beautiful night we got going and it sounds so good inside–I think I’ll stay inside for ‘Three Days’ maybe”).
Their performance, complete with scantily clad (and straight up naked) burlesque dancers who by the evening’s end were suspended into the air by cables that were latched into their skin, was only upstaged by the musicianship and chemistry that Jane’s Addiction perfected over the years. Lead guitarist Dave Navarro did what he does best: quixotically and seductively play the hell out of his guitar for nearly two hours. The band graciously dedicated their David Bowie cover of “Rebel Rebel” to fallen Aerosmith member Joe Perry (who collapsed during a show with his band Hollywood Vampires earlier this month) that garnered a brief moment of sentimentality from concertgoers. But when Farrell insisted that the band could execute a flawless rendition of “Jane Says” within the two minutes left in their set, we not only listened–we savored it.