Sometimes in life, you end up somewhere and feel that everything is right. You feel a sense of belonging. That was my experience at the Jane’s Addiction show at HOB Cleveland.
My history with Jane’s goes back to late 1988. At that time, my musical tastes were not particularly varied. I mainly listened to KISS, “hair bands,” and whatever happened to be on Pop radio at the time. That year, I discovered Living Colour, and was introduced to Jane’s by an older, cooler friend. From that point on, the floodgates were opened for me to experience much more variation in the music I chose to listen to, as well as the shows I attended.
I was fortunate enough to have seen Jane’s live a handful of times, going back to early 1990, but I was never able to experience them from close up, in an intimate setting. When the show was announced at HOB Cleveland, I wasn’t taking any chances. I arrived at the venue just before 5:00 to take my place in line, and I was the first one there. When the doors finally opened around 7:30, I bolted down the stairs, and didn’t stop until I hit the barricade on the left side of the stage.
I admittedly had a difficult time focusing on the opening band (A Place To Bury Strangers), as my anticipation for Jane’s to hit the stage was getting the best of me. I had a ton of nervous energy I was working through, and by the time Jane’s came on and launched into ‘Up The Beach’ (as they started the show by playing the epic ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ record top to bottom), I was ready to let all that nervous energy out. Dave Navarro (one of my guitar heroes) played the intro to ‘Ocean Size,’ Perry Farrell counted it off, and I absolutely lost my mind for the next 75 minutes. At some point within those first two songs, Dave came up to the front of the stage and fist-bumped me, and it was absolutely surreal. Shortly after, he also acknowledged my Fishbone shirt! In addition, being that close to drummer Stephen Perkins absolutely pummeling his drum kit was equally surreal. Not to take anything away from bassist Chris Chaney, who is a great musician in his own right, but Dave, Perry, and Stephen have been musical heroes of mine since I was a kid, so it was near impossible to watch them all equally.
After the performance of ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ was complete, the band finished up the show with three tracks from one of my all time favorite records, ‘Ritual De Lo Habitual’ (‘Been Caught Stealing’ ‘Three Days’ and ‘Stop!’). Immediately after his blistering ‘Three Days’ solo (which that solo shows up on MANY “all time greatest guitar solo” lists), Dave stretched his hand out over the barricade towards me and handed me his pick. At that moment, so many things raced through my mind. Among them, how many times I played air guitar to THAT VERY solo in my lifetime (along with all the rest of his solos), as well as how that one moment, that one gesture, felt like a small payback for 27 years of loyalty. I have never been able to meet any of the band to tell them how much their music meant to me, but maybe in that moment, Dave saw it in my eyes. Or maybe he just shredded that pick, and figured he had to do SOMETHING with it, so he might as well give it to me. However, I prefer my fantasy world interpretation more. All said, it was a night I will NEVER forget, and for that night, there was nowhere in the world where I could have belonged more.