"Chicago, do you want me? Do you love me?" Perry Farrell asked the crowd at Jane's Addiction's sold-out Lollapalooza afterparty show at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom late Saturday-night (Aug. 4), well after the thunderstorm that paused the festival for a few hours had cleared. The answer: a huge roar of approval that set the tone for the night as the Lollapalooza founder's band rocked into the wee hours with a set of crowd-slaying favorites. Jane's didn't appear anywhere on the official Lollapalooza lineup, but the 75-minute set they delivered for the thousands packed into the Aragon would have fit right in on one of the festival's main stages.
After sets by Ume and Franz Ferdinand warmed up the crowd, Farrell -- along with ever-shirtless guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Chris Chaney -- took the stage after midnight in a pimped out fedora and loose slacks. The band immediately kicked into "Underground" from 2011's "The Great Escape Artist," ("I'm a hustler / I'll never give up the underground") as the show's opener, but when Farrell reared back and bellowed the first line of "Mountain Song" ("Coming down the mountain!") atop Navarro's buzzing riffs, the sweaty crowd broke into full motion and began the first of many sing-alongs.
Farrell, who shirtless as well by song three, had plenty of love to go around -- not only in the biblical sense ("You should go get laid, that's what we do on tour because it's fun!"), but especially for Chicago, which has given Lollapalooza a home since 2005 (the festival has a pact to stay in the Windy City till 2021). Not only did he give a shout out to Chi-town native Smashing Pumpkins, who he recalled opened for Jane's the first time they ever played the city, Farrell flat out said "Chicago is my mishpucha" (meaning "family") after the energized crowd offered a full-throated sing-along to the band's signature ballad "Jane Says."
The eerie women-on-swing, man-on-stilts theatrical elements of the show were visually interesting, and Perry's running commentary on everything from the "devil" Ozzy Osbourne (who got props for headlining night one of Lolla with Black Sabbath) to the current state of music ("It sucks that rock and roll is dead") was plenty amusing. But the sheer power of the music -- and the well-chosen setlist -- was is what kept the crowd engaged all night. "Been Caught Stealing," "Ocean Size," and "Ain't No Right," all from Jane's Addiction's pair of key albums (1988's "Nothing's Shocking" and 1990's "Ritual De Lo Habitual"), keyed things up song by song. The set peaked with a frenzied rendition of "Stop!" that had the crowd chanting louder than the band. And Perry even fit in some material from his post-Jane's band Porno For Pyros, as that group's guitarist Peter DiStefano came out to guest on PFP's "Cursed Female."
"Another Lollapalooza, you'd think I'd be worn out," Farrell mused facetiously. Nope Perry. After Jane's Addiction turned in a set like that culminated with the thematically ideal cool-down closer "Summertime Rolls," there's no way anyone would think that.