The crowd at the Verizon Wireless Music Center looked split down the middle between fans of Nine Inch Nails and fans of Jane's Addiction. As it turned out, both camps got a hell of a show.
Nine Inch Nails turned in a set of newer material and obscure deep cuts that was a die-hard's wet dream, performed flawlessly. The apex of the set was an intense reading of "The Fragile" colored by a fledging thunderstorm.
I still have problems with Trent Reznor doing "Hurt"; Johnny Cash took ownership of the Reznor-penned song, and Reznor should've retired it when Cash died. It's also strange to see Reznor looking buffed out; it was as if he'd done 1,000 push-ups and run 15 miles on the treadmill while reading Dianetics
before taking the stage.
None of these caveats had much to do with the music, and this was one of Nine Inch Nail's better shows in Indianapolis.
But when Perry Farrell and the reunited classic line-up of Jane's Addiction hit the stage, the night was theirs. Their set was flawless, the band cherry-picking the best from Nothing Shocking
and Ritual de lo Habitual
and throwing in a rare and unexpected "1%" as well.
The band started with a magical "Three Days" and progressed through such gems as a grinding "Had A Dad," a glorious "Pigs In Zen" and a obligatory "Jane Says." Farrell can still get the crowd on his side, and the way he worked the stage showed no hint of a calf injury sustained earlier this month.
Mr. Hollywood Rock Star Dave Navarro offered up blistering leads on "Ted... Just Admit it" and ""Then She Did." Top-notch work by Eric Avery made it clear that he's an essential part of Jane's Addiction's sound. The rhythm section of Avery on bass and Steven Perkins on drums killed on obvious songs like "Mountain Song" and "Ocean Size," but it was on tunes like "Up The Beach" and "Summertime Rolls" that they really shined, keeping the undercurrent deep and muddy as Perry and Navarro surfed crashing waves of psychedelic goodness.
To be sure, this all smells like a cash grab. Reznor is reportedly disbanding the Nine Inch Nails brand after this victory lap, and Jane Addiction's is on tour because with Avery back in the fold, they can offer the original lineup for the first time since the early '90s. Whether this NIN/JA tour is a cash grab or not, it's geared to making the fans walk out with a smile on their faces, having seen a show that was truly special.