When watching Live Voodoo, it will suddenly hit long-time fans that it really is just that good to have Jane's Addiction back. There are a few heretics who will say the band never left; after they reformed in 2001, the band maintained a reasonably consistent touring and release schedule – but those fans who maintain this usually forget that JA split again in 2004, then reformed again for the NIN|JA tour in 2008. The permutation of Jane's Addiction which came back and released Strays wasn't a bad outfit, but it wasn't the same either; JA was only at three-quarter strength even with Chris Chafin filling in on bass duties and longtime fans could sense it – that's why the album failed to really signal a return. With founding bassist Eric Avery back in the band as of 2009 though, fans could feel the magic return to Jane's Addiction; and that magic is certainly visible on this new Live Voodoo DVD that captures the band's set at Voodoo Experience in New Orleans, LA.
From the opening tidal crash of “Up The Beach,” Jane's Addiction strikes the classic pose for this performance and it feels as good and staggering as a potent euphoric relapse. While Eric Avery sets the ground level timbres for the song and stalks the stage like a cat on the prowl, Dave Navarro stands detached and statuesque at stage right, providing the delicate fire that crests on the percussive waves produced by drummer Stephen Perkins and when Perry Farrell finally appears to preside over it stage, he compensates for a sort of labored vocal delivery by upping is charisma quotient; he spins and marches across the stage and cuts a striking image with every movement.
It's not quite “back to The Nineties,” but Jane's Addiction looks and sounds better than it has in years.
The aesthetic presented echoes the show itself too. Sticking exclusively to material recorded by the band's original line-up (Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual), JA's set at Voodoo Experience leaves little to be desired as the band delivers an all-hits-and-fan-favorites set that includes songs like “Ain't No Right,” “Mountain Song,” “Been Caught Stealing,” “Three Days” “Ocean Size,” “Stop” and “Jane Says.” Age and time melt away as the band inflates to dwarf the capacity crowd to which they're playing. The band doesn't miss a note and seems to relish in the power they're once again wielding as a unit. There's a grace and ease with which the set comes together that has nothing to do with the fact that each of these songs is over a decade old and has been hammered flat already; it is the chemistry between the bandmembers that throws the show from just being 'good' to being 'transcendent.' When Farrell calls for “Ocean Size,” the swell and crash that opens the song is as fantastic and constant as it was when it was brand new; it remains as powerful and unforgiving as its' muse and causes the audience to sway with it until they attain fits of ecstasy.
As the show rockets to its' inevitable conclusion and “Stop” slams into “Jane Says,” the fans in the crowd are already drained and basking in an afterglow but, just to seal the deal, the whole band picks up sticks for the all-percussion, stop-stopping rave-up “Chip Away.” The set ending as it does that way is phenomenal – the clash is orgasmic – and no one can mistake what they've just seen. At Voodoo Experience, Jane's Addiction scaled the mountain again looking and sounding as good as ever and everything which happened between 1991 and 2008 has been forgotten. This show is incredible and it just feels lucky that there were cameras rolling so it wouldn't be lost to the moment.
Live Voodoo comes out August 31, 2010 on Eagle Vision. Pre-order it here on Amazon .