Nostalgia Reigns Supreme with Jane’s Addiction and The Smashing Pumpkins at The Xcel Energy Center


I wasn’t excited about the show on Friday night. That makes me sound like such a brat, I know this. Don’t get me wrong, I was honored to have the opportunity to see two monumental acts and one up-and-comer that has been on my list for some time but I wasn’t excited about it and getting away from my computer and into my car to head to the Xcel Energy Center early Friday evening was rough but I did it, took my seat, and tried to change my mindset as I waited for the show to start.

Moriah Rose Pereira, better known as Poppy, was first up with a quick eight-song set. I’m fascinated by Poppy. She isn’t just an amazing songstress with an absolutely stunning voice, she is a creative who gained fame by performing as an android-looking creature in performance art videos on Youtube. She’s interesting and intriguingly different, but, sadly, I felt like her performance on Friday lacked that creativity that I wanted from her. Don’t get me wrong, her vocals thrived throughout the quick opening set but I just really wanted more of a performance from her. I feel like the audience got a few small glimpses into her creativity especially after she wrapped up her song “FYB. With lyrics like “You wanna go out and fuck the world… but it’ll fuck you back” and other brash statements revolving around that choice word, FYB was a powerful statement of a track and was followed up by her almost shy and quiet voice thanking the crowd for their time. Although this was just a super small moment, I think it gave the audience a chance to get confused about Poppy and I loved that.

I was never a huge Jane’s Addiction fan. I feel like I am just a wee bit too young to really have that nostalgic connection with the band that so many others do but that didn’t stop me from being wowed by their performance on Friday. Their ten-song set was full of songs that I remember vaguely from growing up and other songs that I swear I had never heard before but one thing remained true through all of them, the energy of the band and audience was electrifying and it made me feel regret that there was a moment in my day where I didn’t even want to be at this show. Although the music of Jane’s Addiction was flawless throughout their set, it was frontman Perry Farrell who seemed to steal the spotlight throughout the night. From his almost awkward dance moves to his very odd banter with the audience (at one point he just started talking to people in the audience about their hair), there was just something a bit strange about his persona on stage but it was also hilarious. Sure, I found myself singing along to some of their hits including “Jane Says” and their closer, “Been Caught Stealing”, but I also thoroughly enjoyed just experiencing the songs that I hadn’t heard before. The energy throughout the arena had me sold on them instantly and made me want to do a deep dive into Jane’s Addictions’ discography. Although they were missing guitarist Dave Navarro due to long-covid (which is a super bummer because seeing Navarro live is a bucket list item for me), the band did not miss a step.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the music of Jane’s Addiction and the odd mannerisms of Perry Farrell, I was distracted throughout their set by the three dancers. Don’t get me wrong, these dancers were beautiful and their talent and strength is not beyond me. I envy them for what they can do but, yes, I’m going to be that person, why were they there? I learned my lesson after reviewing Motley Crue and bringing up the dancers they had and the subsequent comments and emails I got after that review so I won’t use the same buzzwords I did in that review but, really, why were they there? I will say that I give the band props for bringing these three amazing dancers out when it came time to leave the stage giving the audience a chance to acknowledge their talent and beauty but, still, why? Jane’s Addiction sounded great and the energy they had on stage was flawless, did they feel like they needed a crutch of some sort to really catch the audience?

I was a bit perplexed as the band and dancers left the stage but I was also ready to see how headlining act The Smashing Pumpkins would top what had just happened. Juxtaposing the white and glittery outfit that Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction had on, Billy Corgan (vocalist for The Smashing Pumpkins) came out wearing his signature look of all black. Sadly, this kind of set the tone for The Pumpkins’ set. It’s not that it was bad at all but the lights seemed to shine brighter than the personalities on stage. The band sounded great and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find myself rocking out on the inside to “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” but that was about all of the excitement I got from their set. Blame it on the fact that, like Jane’s Addiction, I just kind of missed the boat with this band due to my age or blame it on the ear infections still trying to ruin my life– blame it on whatever but I felt like The Smashing Pumpkins’ set just fell a bit short after the explosion that was Jane’s Addiction.

I will give the band props on trying to play more than just the hits but, again, it just didn’t work in the nostalgic cloud that everyone in the audience seemed to be lost in. Would they have been better off just playing hit after hit? Probably, but I liked the chance they took, and even though there were moments throughout their seventeen-song set where nobody around me was singing along like they were to the bigger hits, I didn’t see many people give up and leave the arena and that speaks volumes. Although I felt that their set was overall dull, being able to see this influential band was not lost on me and I walked away more than satisfied with how I had spent my Friday night.