Before launching into Jane’s Addiction’s extreme sports anthem, “Mountain Song,” Perry Ferrell boldly thanked the crowd for making his “dick hard.” Rasped out in that slow, drawling whine, it was the sort of stage banter Ferrell could have said twenty years ago without a trace of humor. However, in 2009, when this particular 50-year old man started talking about his boner, it was like accidentally catching footage of a live surgical operation—all tendons, fibrous tissue, and weird, pulsing lumps laid out in such an unnecessary way. Pile that on top of Farrell’s snake-slither prance and the very existence of Dave Navarro and it was almost enough to get swept up in a “these guys are completely retarded” introspective nightmare. Thank god Ferrell shut the fuck up soon after.
To backtrack a bit, the band started with “Three Days,” the ten minute prog jam from “Ritual De Lo Habitual” that seemed wildly indulgent in 1991; only slightly less so now. The stage camera guy was really into zooming in on Navarro’s fingers—they were moving very fast, and of course everyone knows Sunday is Navarro’s “anything goes” diet day, so he probably ate ice cream or whatever. Anyway, that might have been the best song of their set; drummer Stephen Perkins deserves a lifetime achievement award for keeping these guys' boners in check.
After the band played through a quick run of “Whores,” “Ain’t No Right,” and “Pigs in Zen,” this awesome guy ran straight into where I was standing and started doing the most grunged-out head banging I’ve ever seen: wide-stanced with his hands on his knees, the guy was getting this impressive, full-rotation windmill motion. He was wearing hiking boots and wool socks and everything, and he asked to use my phone because his buddy would “never believe” he was seeing Jane’s Addiction right now.
Perry Ferrell then made the previously mentioned gaffe before the band started playing the hits. Of course the dopey resonance of hearing “Mountain Song” at the Gorge was hard to ignore; it’s a beautiful place to see a show, especially at dusk, and you could surely pull a righteous hang-glide stunt off those wide plateaus.
Soon after “Mountain Song,” my mental faculties took a dramatic turn for the worst. I think I drew a picture of Dave Navarro eating sweets, a poorly done representation of the fourth dimension, and a portrait of Travis Ritter. That being said, I was able to discern the songs “Been Caught Stealing,” “Ted, Just Admit It…,” “Stop!,” and set-closer, “Jane Says.”
As the set finished, I recalled our Canadian tent neighbors who had earlier in the day informed us that “if you wanna eat some hot ass, you gotta hit up the slumdog camps.” These guys didn’t even bother going to the show—they were just wandering around the free campsites, taking pictures of each other with their faces smashed up in girl’s butts. And what did I do instead? I spent my precious time contributing .001% of the energy required to get Perry Ferrell’s dick hard.