Jane’s Addiction Headlines To Help Cancer Patients In Need REVIEW+PHOTOS: RHONDA'S KISS @ HOLLWOOD PALLADIUM 12/8/17
HOLLYWOOD, CA- Cancer sucks. It’s debilitating, unfair, and so hard to wrap the mind around. It’s the human body destroying itself in a painful, slow, and consuming way and for decades medical science and organizations have been combating it with treatment, fundraising, and hope.
On December 8th, 2017, Rhonda’s Kiss and Cedars-Sinai sponsored a multifaceted event at the Hollywood Palladium. It was an event that was all about that hope plus music, charity, and information, where celebrity and science are converged in an attempt to raise money and recognition for Rhonda’s Kiss, an organization with the goal of “Helping Cancer Patients in Need.”
Rhonda’s Kiss has built an amazing beneﬁt for cancer patients around a simple concept: raise money to help patients live while getting treatment. The charity pays their bills so the patients don’t have to worry about keeping the lights on and the rent covered. It’s relief in a time of stress and it’s smart. On this night, they solicited the high profile help of Jane’s Addiction to raise cash, kindness, and awareness. And judging by the thousands of fans who paid for their tickets to see a timeless band perform, it’s working.
According to Perry Farrell, “It’s a really nice feeling during the holidays, if you can help an organization [and] it feels really good to go to sleep tonight thinking that just by rocking out, we helped alleviate somebody else’s bills who are going through therapy right now.”
Dressed in a cobalt blue three-piece suit and one of his signature neckerchiefs, Farrell’s demeanor is sincere and bright and there’s a certain glow to his tone and disposition. He is proud to be here and ready to rock out for cancer relief. It’s inspiring and a testament to the good rock and roll can do.
With jubilation, he shares, “Oh my god, could you image that? Jane’s Addiction helped me pay my bills tonight.” It makes everyone around him smile.
For drummer Stephen Perkins, tonight also holds a personal weight in his heart.
“My father died of lung cancer about 2 years ago. It was very painful and it was awful to see him go through that. We brought him home and we played music. I put bongos on his chest and played bongos for him and music healed him for that moment and so that’s what I’m doing tonight and I’m hopeful Rhonda’s kiss can help take care of some people; pay some bills.”
There were also a few important figures in house who are part of the movement to make Rhonda’s Kiss deliver on its promise of financial alleviation. World-Renowned Neurosurgeon Dr. Keith L. Black, MD received “The Rhonda’s Kiss Healing and Hope Award” recognizing his efforts and contributions to medicine and cancer research.
Sex and the City script consultant, comedian, and author Greg Behrendt was also on hand hosting the event and concert along with Executive Director Kyle Stefanski who’s mother, Rhonda Stefanski, suffered with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She died only 2 months later and that left a devastating and indelible mark on Kyle who, along with his father Marc, created Rhonda’s Kiss to “help patients and their families with non-medical expenses and support cutting-edge research to fight cancer from multiple fronts.”
In the last 2 years, the organization has raised and donated nearly one million dollars to cancer patients and with these events, it will surely continue to be a hopeful light for individuals and families who just need some extra financial help while fighting a disease all too painful for so many.
After the fanfare on the red-carpet, came the music … and it rocked. Kicking off the musical offerings for the evening was the collection of rotating, all-star players known as Hellcat Saints. For Rhonda’s Kiss, the line-up included Frankie Perez (Apocalyptica), Billy Duffy (The Cult), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Josh Freese (NIN, Devo), Scott Shriner (Weezer) and Frank Kushner (Velvet Revolver). With such talented players, the music sounded fantastic. They played though a set of faithfully rendered covers, but what was particularly impressive was Frankie Perez’s vocal performance which was on point. Highlights of the performance included covers of Alice In Chains songs, especially when Jerry sang the parts of the verses on “Would?”
After a brief intermission, the lights dimmed, and familiar recording of the female narrator who introduces Jane’s Addiction’s sophomore album “Ritual de lo habitual” boomed from the speaker, the anxious crowd readied itself with half of said crowd raising their cell phones in the air to capture the moment.
It was a relatively short set (8 songs spanning about forty minutes), but it was filled with some their most popular hits and songs that the’ve played to perfection on stage many times before. Almost all of the songs that they performed on this night were culled from their first two albums (“Just Because” being the outlier), and while it may not have been a set for the die hard fans yearning to hear some b-sides or rarities, but no one can complain about hearing hit (“Stop!”) after hit (“Been Caught Stealing”) after hit (“Jane Says”). For such a special occasion, the playlist was pretty perfect.
During their second song, “Just Because”, Perry stopped the song to address the crowd to let them know that this was the first time since 1991 that Dave Navarro stepped on the Palladium stage. Perry briefly reminisced with Dave about “the Birkenstock Incident” (a fan tossed a Birkenstock sandal onto the stage at The Palladium”) before diving back into the song to finish it off.
Perry seemed to be in terrifically good spirits throughout the entire performance. I was particularly amused to see his interaction with the go-go dancers when they came on stage to dance during the 10 minute epic “Three Days”. Seeing the smile on Perry’s face as he shook his shakers around her as she danced on a chair center stage was brought a smile to my own.
After “Three Days”, Perry thanked the audience and the band walked off the stage to allow a Rhonda’s Kiss rep to walk on stage to auction off an autographed guitar (autographed by the band and Jerry Cantrell and sold for $10,000). Following the auction, the band came back on stage to perform what Perry dubs the “Jane’s Addiction National Anthem”, “Jane Says”.
As the crowd sang along- in full voice no less- I was moved by lyrics. Though the song is about a woman with a drug addiction, the lyrics themselves almost seemed too on point for the evening’s finale raising money to assist cancer patients. With lyrics like “Jane says, ‘have you seen my wig around, I feel naked without it'” and “When I get my money saved, I’m gonna start tomorrow, I’m gonna kick tomorrow”, this song felt almost destined for this moment.