I was nineteen years old when the first Lollapalooza festival went down; the – alleged – swan song of the mystical Jane’s Addiction. I was living in Alaska at the time and didn’t have the scratch to travel down to the Lower 48 to catch one of the shows. Besides, I was still licking my wounds over the debacle that was my first attempt to see Jane’s Addiction some eight months prior.
Dateline: Portland, Oregon. December 11th, 1990. I was living in PDX during one of my brief stints flirting with college. Jane’s Addiction (along with The Pixies and Primus) were playing that evening at the University of Portland. My girlfriend at the time bussed it up from Salem and a buddy of mine flew down from Anchorage for the event. This was the bigtime for a trio of Alaskan kids. We were going to see the mighty Jane’s Addiction. Nothing could stop us.
To clarify, nothing could stop us, excepting ourselves. We – in particular, he, my friend – engaged in far too much underage drinking before the show. Fake ID’s facilitating an overabundance of Jack and Cokes, sometimes that bites you in the ass.
We shared a cab to the show – one of those big, boxy, ancient Mercedes Benzes that used to be all the rage in downtown PDX. By this time my friend’s buzz started to orbit and he got the spins. Brave young lad that he was, he mustered to the strength to last all the way through The Pixies and Primus. Though during The Pixies set he began to deteriorate, eventually yelling – rather politely all things considered – if Black Francis and company wouldn’t mind turning it down just a smidge. By the time The Pixies had taken their final bows, it was time for us to do the same. All for one and one, bregrudgingly. My buddy had entered vomit rocket territory and it was time to take him home; Jane’s Addiction be damned.
It was a bummer of epic proportions, and something I would bring up many, many times in the years to come solely to torment him. But, Hakuna Matata right? No big deal. Jane’s Addiction was one of the biggest bands on the planet. It’s not like they were going to announce their break-up a month or two later. Surely there would be plenty of other tours to see.
Oh, cruel fate.
In fact Jane’s Addiction did announce their impending breakup and subsequent swan song, the aforementioned Lollapalooza.
But hey, I did get to see The Pixies live and in their prime. That’s one hell of a consolation prize.
Years passed and as fate would have it, Jane’s Addiction eventually reunited as almost all bands seem to do.
Nearly seven years to the day after our first attempt, my friend from Alaska and I would reunite and return to the scene of the crime, or at least a few miles down the road. The girlfriend was a distant memory by then, so it was just the two of us. The show was at the Rose Garden this time around and instead of a cab, we took the Max. Semi-sobriety was the mission of the day.
I’m happy to report the mission was a success.
Eric Avery, Jane’s Addiction’s original bassist, wasn’t around for this tour, so it wasn’t technically a true reunion. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers took his place and I can honestly say no one was disappointed. Nearly a decade later my wife and I caught the Peppers at the same venue. It was worth the wait.
As most of my male relationships are based upon mutually agreed comedic destruction, I may have yelled for the band to turn it down a notch a few times.
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