I’ve seen Jane’s Addiction once in my life, and I swear I can’t remember much about it, a fact I’m not particularly proud of. I know it was at Arizona State’s University Activity Center (now Wells Fargo Arena) in Tempe and I’m almost positive Dinosaur Jr. opened the 1991 show, which puts me in eighth grade. A Jane’s fan site offers a few more details, including a jpeg of the handbill and a set list.
What I remember more than this show is listening to my Nothing’s Shocking cassette over and over, an album that no eighth grader has any right to attempt to comprehend. Even still, it stands as one of the most dense albums I own (maybe I should try drugs?) — and probably one of the best.
But what grabbed me was the enormity of the sound. I was an aspiring drummer (made it all the way to second chair in middle school marching band!) and Stephen Perkins was doing things that I was sure I needed six arms to replicate. (He’s still one of my favorite drummers.) And whatever drug-fueled lunacy lies beneath Perry Farrell’s lyrics, I still get an intense charge out of Mountain Song and Ocean Size from a purely sonic standpoint.
Though the band’s reunion doesn’t do much to excite me, the recently released Cabinet of Curiosities box set (three CDs, one DVD) seems intriguing. Below is a live version of Ocean Size, taken from the third disc, recorded in 1990.