“Live in NYC” sees the first full live album from the seminal alternative rockers, and captures them in excellent form in a free circus themed New York extravaganza on their ‘Theatre of Escapists’ trek. The quartet of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums) and Chris Chaney (bass) follow up their recent album “The Great Escape Artist”.
Opening with ‘Whores’, one of the first Jane’s Addiction songs from way back in 1985, although it wasn’t released until given the Trent Reznor production treatment as part of the “NINJA” tour sampler. The band spend the next hour plus on a setlist of such calibre, that many other bands would struggle to come up with something similar. The set is heavily based on the first period of the band, with the vast majority of songs coming from the “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual De Lo Habitual”. A strange choice coming from a tour in support of a new album, featuring only the one new song, but ‘Irresistible Force’ fits in well with a set otherwise packed with classics.
Aside from the great choice of songs, the band seem on particularly fine form, with vocalist / scene icon / Lollapolooza founder Farrell being much more interactive with the crowd than when I have seen them. One piece at the end of ‘Been Caught Stealing’ about being a rich rock star seems to fall a bit flat, but a cheap pop about loving New York City brings the crowd back onside for the rest of the set.
An impressive closing trilogy of ‘Mountain Song’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Jane Says’ is yet another reminder of how important Jane’s Addiction were to a fledgling scene which helped spawn some of the biggest bands of their generation. I only had access to the audio for this show for the purposes of this review, but that is enough to convince me to put on the ever growing list for next payday. The circus element may not be as apparent on the CD, but from what I have read, the DVD seems to be quite an extraordinary show.
Jane’s Addiction may never have been the busiest, most prolific band around, but they definitely show that quality is more important than quantity, and this disc is a worthwhile purchase for anyone with any interest in the early nineties US scene. Partly a nostalgic throwback to the days when MTV (Europe) played music and 120 minutes and Alternative Nation were almost religious viewing, as well as being proof that there is plenty of life left in the band, long may they continue.