New To Blu: Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual - Alive At Twenty Five

Luckily, my youth was infused with the post punk, tripped out surf sounds of my generation's drug addled heavier metal funk band Jane's Addiction. Farrell, Navarro, Perkins and Avery rode their own wave of musical excess that produced several phenomenal albums. 

Through recordings that were heavily layered with the dense and distorted guitar tone of Dave Navarro and the delayed high pitch whine of a doped up Perry Farrell, my ears were joyous when they first released Nothing's Shocking. Backed by the percussive bad-assery of Stephen Perkins and the rounded bass of Eric Avery, Jane's was a monstrosity of creativity and the cursed habits of its members. Behind a mysterious veil of dreadlocks and unhinged stage antics, the late '80s and early '90s were owned by this band. Then it all stopped. The fire died as they were hitting their their creative peak. 

In 1990, the band put out their answer to Pink Floyd's The Wall. In a heroin laced haze, the band went to the studio and recorded a masterful album that absolutely qualifies as a classic. Their pop single Been Caught Stealing sold it to the masses but the decadence and textured sounds of songs like Three Days and Classic Girl are what made fans like myself adore the foursome. As Lollapalooza was launched, Jane's Addiction announced it would be their curtain call. I can say I'm one of the fans that experienced one of their 'final' shows. It was the one concert that has always stuck with me. If there was ever a Woodstock moment in my life, that was it. 

Over the years, the band has made numerous return albums and has toured intensively. Now, they've released a special 25th anniversary edition blu-ray and DVD set to celebrate Ritual De Lo Habitual. And it's a strong effort for a group of guys that are trying to recapture the essence of their biggest album. It's mostly a great package that will let music fans and followers of the band watch them push themselves to the limits as they almost perfectly reproduce the record in a stunning live set that only falters in certain moments. That being Farrell's inability to perfectly reach all the vocal highs he once belted out with ease. However, that's just age. In his defense, voices change. We all do. For the hell he's put his body through, we're lucky he's here and sounds as good as he does. This anniversary concert is probably the best they've sounded in years, doing all the songs we love the most. In fact, they sound tighter than they ever have. There's definitely more production behind them than back in the heyday but that's okay. When replicating a full album like this, it's a necessity.

Playing through all the Habitual songs, they once again prove how unique the band was decades ago and still are. Adding a small catalog of other hits to the end of the show makes this a must have for anybody that's ever called themselves a fan or follower. Honestly, this is one of those live sets that captures a band in their element having fun and not playing too much for the camera. Farrell and Navarro play off each other as Perkins lays into his drums never missing a beat. New(er) bassist Chris Chaney is in lockstep. You'd have no idea he wasn't part of the album. This is Jane's a little bit older, a little bit saner, and totally giving themselves to their audience without the sins of their youth hampering them. 

It's cool getting to see and hear this album again. Being older myself, it's a joy knowing that one of my favorite bands of all time is out there doing what they love, still delivering vital concerts that may continue for years to come. Jane's Addiction has not always been perfect. They've sometimes forgotten their own history as a cutting edge anti-pop type group but they bring it home with their latest. As a visual and audio package, I can't recommend this any more.