The Captain Slices Like A NIN|JA Cuts Like A Knife Blade

So two Saturdays ago in Tampa I finally caught the concert that I’ve been waiting for sixteen years to happen, a fully reunited Jane’s Addiction!  I was expecting the show to be amazing and yet I had no idea how memorable my experience would be.

As detailed in a previous blog , the bill was a double headliner of Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction under the ultra-cool NIN|JA 2009 moniker.  I figured after such a long hiatus the show would be packed with Jane’s fans, but the sea of faded black NIN shirts indicated otherwise.1 The place was thick with sulky teenagers and aging goth-metalheads, but perhaps the worst was the father-of-the-year candidate who brought his 5-year-old (sporting a friggin’ mohawk.)


Rob and I had great seats about 20 rows back; close enough to see all the actions but far enough away to not have to worry about the violent idiots in the pit spilling over.  The Nine Inch Nails set started out strong with Terrible Lie, and then kept it old school with SIN, March Of The Pigs, and Piggy.  The first five songs didn’t make it past his NIN’s first two albums!  It was a sign of good things to come.

Considering the past couple of times I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails, this setting was fairly tame by their standards.  No elaborate set pieces, instead relying on a large metal gate of lights.  Trent didn’t even bother to dress the goth part, instead opting for a green camo shirt and jorts combo that seemed to leave many fans puzzled.

What NIN lacked in style they more than made up for in substance.  Trent seemed to grasp that this Lollapalooza ’91 reunion brough out the old time fans, and he played a large sampling of his early work sprinkled with some recent fan favorites.  He played several of my favorites and even surprised me a bit with the beautiful instrumental La Mer.  I figured Trent would play Closer for the encore, but he opted for the far superior Hurt to end his nite.

At some point during the set, Trent announced that this would be the band’s final tour, which had a noticeable effect on the crowd.  I just laughed it off.  I know Trent has been touring and releasing albums almost non-stop over the past few years, and I know he is set to be married later this year, but I just can’t see him throwing in the towel.  I think he’ll probably take another five year break like he did between The Downward Spiral and The Fragile, and then come back with a vengeance.

The Nine Inch Nails set was probably their best I’ve seen since the nineties.  I caught the group in 2000 and 2005, but something about this time really seemed to bring out the best of Trent.  And considering that I wasn’t nearly as interested in first headliner as I was in the second, it was all added bonus.

And then there was the main event, Jane’s Addiction!  I was so excited for the band’s set to start that I was bouncing around my seat.  Finally the lights dimmed and a large screen dropped across the stage.  To my delight a scene from The River Wild popped up, where a kid asks noticeably young Kevin Bacon if he saw Jane’s Addiction before they broke up.  Genius!

Then, with images of Perry’s film Gift on the screen, Eric launched into the iconic opening rift of the band’s best song, Three Days.  Chills raced through my entire body.  The screen lifted slowly and the band was revealed in all their glory.

For the next ten plus minutes I was treated to a full version of probably the best song I’ve ever seen played live.  They absolutely killed it.  I was exhausted by the time they finished, and it was their first song!  They followed up their splendid start with several of their heavier classics, including Whores, Ain’t No Right, and Pigs In Zen.  They slowed down again with a beautiful rendition of Then She Did, another of my favorites.  At this point Perry stopped and discussed the crazy blue sequined jumpsuit he was wearing.

He said he stole from an old lady consignment shop in Miami, which cued Been Caught Stealing.  Eric was looking bad-ass in the same Dangerbird shirt he’s been wearing lately

and Dave OF COURSE was shirtless.

I swear he must be allergic to shirts by now.  The screen dropped down again for Ted Just Admit It, and sticking with it’s Natural Born Killers theme, featured several trippy shots pulled right out of the movie.  It worked on many levels.

Jane’s closed out with two more heavy favorites, Mountain Song and Ocean Size, before exiting the stage.  During the break I was debating whether the band would return and play Jane’s Says or my personal all-time favorite song, Summertime Rolls.  As I watched the crew roll out the steel drums, I knew Jane Says had won.  But as I had time to think about it, I was actually glad they didn’t play Summertime Rolls.  I’ll always cherish dancing to Summertime Rolls with Meg for the last dance at our wedding and it would be hard to top that for a Florida memory.

Jane’s Says was fantastic as usual, and the crowd really appreciated it as the encore.  When the house lights came up afterwards, I left my seat thinking about how perfect the whole nite had been.  And then I almost got robbed at knifepoint.


Let me back up a minute.  Earlier in the show I noticed a fellow standing next to me who was illegally videotaping the show.  I asked him to contact me if he was planning on posting the show online, and we exchanged numbers.  Bad move #1.

Later this fellow, who I’ll call Robby McStabber, admitted to me that he had snuck into the good seats in our area, and asked if he could use Rob and me’s tickets to sneak in a couple of his friends.  I was already in a great mood so I agreed to go back to the lawn of the Amphitheater and bring back the whole gang.  Bad move #2.

After Robby McStabber’s two buddies were successfully in the good seats, I headed back to my seat and promptly forgot about the whole incident.  Bad move #3.

I later surmised that Robby and his buddies had cased us for several songs during the Jane’s set, and then followed us to the bathrooms once the show was over.  Not wanting to wait in line for the urinals, I moved over to the shorter line by the stalls.  As I began to enter my stall Robby and his two goons followed me in and shut the door behind them.

At this point I had no idea what had just happened, but I quickly realized that I was stuck in a stall with three other dudes who were blocking the door shut.  Robby Mc Stabber told me to give him whatever money I had on me.  I said I didn’t have any money.  He then told me to hand over my wallet.  I said I didn’t think that was a good idea.  Mr. McStabber then lifted his shirt to reveal the handle of a knife blade sticking out of his pants.2

This whole episode lasted approximately twenty seconds, and the whole time I kept thinking “How is this happening in such a crowded place?”  I rapidly realized that I just needed to find a way out into the open and I would be much safer.  I also noticed that by some stroke of luck the stall door opened outwards instead of inwards.  As soon as I saw the handle of the knife blade I quickly lurched forward and shoved my way passed McStabber and his goons and then hightailed it for the bathroom exit.

Luckily my buddy Rob was right outside the door.  I hurriedly shouted “wehavetoleaveNOW,” and then swiftly weaved through the crowd to the main exit.  Poor Rob had no idea what was going on; I almost lost him several times as I rushed through the crowd.  After several minutes he finally grabbed me and asked what was up.  I hastily explained that Mr. McStabber had tried to rob me in the bathroom and that we need to proceed to our car ASAP.

Rob caught on quickly and we were out of the Florida State Fair Grounds in no time.  Once my heart stopped racing I was absolutely exhausted, and so was Rob.  Well, not too exhausted for a Slurpee and the return of Rob Face ,

But pretty exhausted anyhow.3

Even taking into account the strange and nearly violent ending it was still by far one of top two or three concerts I’ve ever attended, and damn memorable to boot.

As it turns out, I managed to catch the best nite of the tour.  The first stop on the tour, Palm Springs, was apparently sprinkled with a few lighting and sound miscues.  The second nite in Tampa seemed pretty flawless to me.  The next show was Sunday nite in Atlanta, where Perry managed to break his leg during the first song! Apparently he limped through the rest of the set, and then was taken straight to the hospital.  The word is that he’ll have to perform the rest of the tour sitting on a stool, which is a shame because that man knows how to shake his ass.

And there you have it, one of the best concerts and most memorable nites in my life.  Special thanks to Rob for scoring the tickets and for driving all nite.  And a big thanks to Eric Avery for deciding to tour with Jane’s Addiction again.  My favorite band proved that sixteen years was definitely worth the wait.


The Captain

1  When did it become ok to wear a band shirt featuring the group whose show you are attending?  Gee, you like Nine Inch Nails?  I would have never guessed… except for the fact that you shelled out $75 for a ticket and walked two miles across the state fair parking lot just to be here.  I only saw two Jane’s shirts the whole nite; well done Team JA.

2  I know I shouldn’t be that surprised that a knife was snuck into a Nine Inch Nails show, but COME ON!  REALLY?!?  I get basically violated at the security check at the front gate and this guy sneaks in a knife!  Glad to see my $10 service charge was put to good use, Live Nation.

3  Notice Rob wearing his Phish “Story Of The Ghost” shirt to a Nine Inch Nails show.  Nice job hippie.  Maybe that’s why Mr. McStabber identified us as marks…

2 Responses to “The Captain Slices Like A NIN|JA Cuts Like A Knife Blade”

  • […] reunion tour back in 2009 was nothing short of astounding.  But I was less than enthused when my favorite band […]

  • […] I had mixed feelings about the recently announced Jane’s Addiction show at the Pageant next month.  The band is touring on their 2011 album they made after the departure of founding member Eric Avery.  The album is decent, and Jane’s Addiction is still one of my favorite bands, so I decided to pony up $55 so I could watch them from the comfort of The Pageant’s balcony.  I logged onto the tickets website at exactly 5pm on Friday and discovered that the balcony was already sold out.  It’s the first minute tickets are available to the public, and you don’t have any reserved seating?  What kind of shit is that?!?  How can they advertise reserved seating if none of the tickets are available to the general public?  It was the same crap in November when I paid $65 a ticket to sit in the nosebleed seats at Scottrade for Radiohead.  So I’ve decided to skip the Jane’s Addiction show in protest.  Besides, is there any way it could top their NIN|JA show in Tampa in 2009? […]

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