“Even in this tiny little room,” said Perry Farrell to the 150 or so folks sharing the confines of Hollywood club Bardot, “I can feel an oceanful of love.”
It might have been a convenient way for the Jane’s Addiction frontman to lead the band – appearing for the first time with GN’R alum Duff McKagan on bass – into its confetti-laden final number, “Ocean Size.” But it also summed up the appreciative mood of the audience around him.
For diehard fans, some of whom had been waiting since 10 a.m. for a wristband to the surprise show (announced two days before on the band’s website) this was heaven: A chance to see the alternative rock gods play a room no bigger than a volleyball court.
Hitting the stage with an exultant “Happy Cinco de Mayo! Ay yi yi yi!” Farrell set the celebratory tone. With a bottle of wine in his hand, a huge smile, and uniquely bedazzled Converse high-tops, he cranked up the volume with an explosive take on Ritual de lo Obitual‘s opener “Stop!” – complete with Dave Navarro’s switchblade-attack guitars, Stephen Perkins’ ultra-dynamic drumming, and McKagan’s Avery-esque bass-playing.
“Ay yi yi yi!” Farrell called out again after the song ended. “Dave Navarro told me that means ‘fuck yeah’ in Spanish.”
A fan appreciation show and a chance to test the waters with McKagan on bass, the set came off like a Jane’s Addiction party with a few close friends.
“We want to wish a quick happy birthday to our girl Susan Holmes,” Farrell said after completing a ferocious take on “Had a Dad” from 1988’s Nothing’s Shocking. And with that, he presented the former supermodel – Duff McKagan’s wife – with a birthday cake before leading the crowd in a heartfelt recital of “Happy Birthday.”
Then it was back to business – completing a short but sweet eight-song set of classic Jane’s tracks with only one tune that was newer than two decades old: An unreleased midtempo track called “Soulmate.”
“I tell you what man,” Farrell said wistfully after a particularly transcendent romp through “Pigs in Zen,” another of the four tracks plucked from Nothing’s Shocking.”There’s nothing like going to see a live music event in L.A.”
He meant it as a tribute to the VIP guests in the audience – including Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and ex-Fishbone Keyboardist Chris Dowd — to whom he gave shout-outs afterward.
But to the mesmerized crowd gathered at his feet, it had a whole different meaning.
2. Mountain Song
3. Had a Dad
6. Pigs in Zen
7. Ain’t No Right
8. Ocean Size