Rave On: Jane's Addiction Shine At Weirdest Show On Earth

'Relapsed' band highlight all-night rave that also features naked nymphs and groovy techno vibe.

SAN FRANCISCO 8:56 p.m.: Painted faces and bodies. Men in

rainbow-colored outfits, walking around in plastic garbage bags. Women in

transparent tops with horns sprouting from their heads. Men with purple

bouffants, dressed as go-go dancers.

Even before the doors of San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic

Auditorium open Saturday night for the only 1997 staging of Jane's Addiction

leader Perry Farrell's ENIT rave ("ENIT RealVideo excerpt") and "ENIT QuickTime excerpt", the sidewalk outside is a freak show.

It's hard to tell the performers from the fans. A guy in a buckskin bikini

and full red and blue yin-yang body paint adjusts his waist-length wig. Next

to him a fan in six-inch platform gym shoes and a spangled kimono wraps a red

ribbon around her right thigh, joining a group ritual it seems only the other

four members of her clan understand.

9:06: A blinding orange light greets you as you walk in the doors. The

muffled sound of the Funky Tekno Tribe DJs leaks out of the main auditorium

where thousands will soon gather to dance, mosh, mix it up and drink in the

sounds of the Funky Tekno Tribe and Goldie, and a performance by ENIT organizer Perry Farrell and his

relapsed rockers Jane's Addiction.

9:38: The first naked nymphs of the night. A poetry reading in the

Raktavasa room with four scantily clad dancers and a fifth pregnant sylph in

a bikini, all laying on a white table. Greek columns. A screening of Julz

Chavez's black and white art film "Passion" flickers behind a pair of topless

dancers. Elvis as a horned devil looks on off a poster. Flashback to Lollapalooza.

9:48: On the other side of the hall, what appear to be a dozen couples

sprawled out on low platforms covered with big, ornate pillows, propped up

under two huge screens flashing ambiguous images. Digital movies in the

ResFest room. The techno beats accompanying the movie perfectly clash with

those now pouring through the doorways of the main room. Visitors move

shoulder to shoulder up and down the hallways, the stairways, in and out of

rooms, looking, touching, staying and leaving again.

10:00: While the psychedelic "Further" bus draws attention on the

sidewalk outside, in a large back room on the fourth floor Ken Kesey and the

Merry Pranksters, who raised hell in the '60s, have covered the walls in their basketball court-sized room

with drawing paper. The curious paint the material and each other with

Day-Glo colors. The walls, faces and arms burn brightly in orange and green

under the black light.

10:09: Jane's drummer Stephen Perkins sits in on drums in the Jam

Room, located on the eastern wing of the fourth floor. Congas, two drum sets,

maracas, bongos, cowbells, all set up in a circle. Visitors take turns

pounding away, syncopating. The beats reverberate around the room, each

drummer finding the groove and fighting to stay a part of it.

10:15: The Beach Room, next door, where beats are replaced by beach

balls and body heat. The balls fly chaotically around the room like a beach

party gone berserk. Overexcited boys pummeling each other for no apparent

reason. Sounds of the ocean. The pounding intense hearts, beats crashing,

deep and resounding, across the hallway.

10:17: Massages, fingernail painting, aerosol eye makeup application,

a cornucopia of fresh grapes and exotic fruit piled on long tables in the

Genie Room. It's become more and more obvious that Perry wants fans to join

in the techno-shaman-hippie-trippy scene, rather than sit back, content to be

the typical rock voyeurs.

10:26: Yasir, an exotic world music combo, jam a tribal raga in the Raktavasa room.

Pixelated images of dancers and liquid light effects are projected onto the wall.

10:35: On the main stage, Goldie rocks with ominous Gregorian jungle

and a gold-tooth snarl. From the back of the auditorium, it shimmers across

the dance floor, flickering like a star. Diva Diane Charlemange peels the

paint during an epic "Timeless." Goldie shows off an uncharacteristic

punk/hip-hop vocal style during the new song "Temper, Temper." He keeps

kissing the guy playing bass.

11:24: DJ Polywog is mixing a techno jam and Led Zeppelin's metal

classic "Whole Lotta Love," creating a wonderfully noisy hybrid, a musical

mutation that seems somehow appropriate on this night , touching, it seems,

at the core of this coming together. For the first time perhaps, the room

begins to vibrate. But those recycled Lollapalooza '91 fractal images on the

big screens flanking the stage seem out of place, home movies from a

long-gone era.

11:45: Kesey and company take the main stage dressed in their Hefty

garbage bags to act out a psychedelic Greek chorus incantation. They recite

bad, often unintelligible hippie-mantra poetry over stock Kennedy and Vietnam

images. They are a bad cliche. Weird, then creepy, then just annoying and

pointless. They peel off their garbage bag jackets to reveal Day-Dlo

jumpsuits. Colorful but no consolation.

12:04: Polywog mixes "Freebird" and electronic breakbeats. The lights

dim and then flick off. There is a swelling on the dance floor. Something is

about to happen.

12:09: A woman's voice echoes in Spanish from somewhere off stage. An

introduction. Jane's is here. Where? His lanky body swaying as he struts,

Farrell slinks onto the stage, then shouting his echoed squeal for "Ocean

Size." He's dressed in a purple tunic and feathered headdress with glittering

mask. Flea is wearing a red sarong. Guitarist Dave Navarro is in a black

miniskirt and white boa housecoat. Perkins wears his customary long skirt.

Their backdrop is a scaffolding decorated with large fantastical cutouts of

pink flower bulbs and plants like something out of a children's fairy tale.

12:26: The tide is high. From above, the crowd is an ocean rolling

toward the stage. Bodies surfing. Tossed around like driftwood. "That's the

greatest guitarist and bassist in the world!" screams a woman floating on a

wave. Sweat flows. Bodies press, swaying, pushing, moving. Not necessarily to

the music. "Stop."

Farrell, now stripped down to a purple vinyl skirt and matching mini-vest,

chugs wine, spins around and crashes to the floor. Navarro eases the fall by

giving him a long French kiss. "Three Days" seems to last as long, with an

epic jam that brings on the first in a parade of exotic dancers, placed

strategically on risers set up around the auditorium. Farrell gets down on

his belly with the two bikinied dancers and shakes his ass in the air. There

is a dangerously powerful undertow.

12:45: "Mountain Song" inspires Farrell to kick his heels up like the

Vegas showman/shaman he is. The band seems to be playing not just for the

audience but for the cameras. "They" are filming the show, which, regardless,

pushes Jane's to new heights. As if absorbing the energy, the enigmatic

arena, the band takes on a surreal force. Every song is an epic drama, full

of ebbs, flows, fantasy guitar solos, rolling bass lines that build momentum

as Farrell raps about the "four ways to ask for love."

12:59: The band, surrounded by security, move to the small satellite

stage in the middle of the auditorium for a wildly received "Jane Says." It's

classic Jane's. Farrell babbles about "them" being here. And everyone seems

to know what he means. That is, until he launches into "Happy Days Are Here

Again." A cappella.

1:23: "Nothing's Shocking" centrifuge jam, picking up steam and

intensity to near anarchy. Three things Farrell obviously likes to see:

strippers, participation and lots of people waving big flags with mysterious

geometrical figures on them.

1:47: The lights flash on. Navarro shimmies up a metal pole on-stage,

like the strippers before him. He waves good-bye, a teenager daring to be

cool. The crowd stands mesmerized, the energy still circulating until the

bodies begin to pull away, moving through separate doors as if dismissed from

class.

2:27 Beyond Race pack the Raktavasa room with the sound of their world

music jamming on didgeridoo, violin, percussion, cello and throat singing.

"One of the better-funded, nicer raves I've been to," says Carrie Marshall,

23, over the drum circle on the floor competing with Beyond Race. A thousand

or more still dancing to the Tekno Tribe's pounding beats and lights. The

current flows.

3:03: A security guard with blue hair and tongue ring shows off the

bandage on her arm. "I never got bit at Lollapalooza, I'll tell you that

much," she says. The drums keep beating, Kesey and company ramble on about acid, family

and other tangents over acoustic guitar and treated vocals.

3:49: Everyone in the Genie Room is giving massages to each other,

while the Anteroom, with its cheesy Greek fountain and disco lights, has

turned into the coolest room around thanks to warm, fairly quiet techno being

spun in a corner. Cashed-out fans are crashed-out on the ground on all

four floors, like the scene after a midnight flight cancellation at a punk airport.

4:40: Dry ice makes the warming beats in the Genie room even cooler,

literally. A funky dread is pounding out an echoing, metallic beat on a

railing with a silver ring in time with the music from the Genie room and

main floor. His two friends gather around and bob their heads.

5:08: All at once the drum jam breaks up. At 18, Azine, who should not

be here now because of her age (no one under 21 past 2 a.m.) , is glowing

after two hours of beating skins. As far she's concerned this is where she

belongs. "It was awesome," she says, smiling blissfully

under a face of glitter. "The whole night felt like a dream."

5:41: Dreamy, sleeping revelers with paint-smeared faces and bleary

eyes gather their gear as warm rain brings on a new day.

As they step outside, the freaks are again transformed. [Mon., Nov. 24, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]