I saw John play at the Viper Room in Hollywood. It cost 6 bucks if you said "reseda" at the door, otherwise a ridiculous 12. He seemed as if he wasn't really into playing for the crowd as his guitar playing was sloppy and his speech was very badly slurred. He looked terribly ill, his hair was greasy and dirty and his face seemed swollen (I would never recognize him if I saw him walking down the street) while his eyes were invisible behind all the mascara as well as from playing with them shut. At one point he tried to play his acoustic gutar, but the club's soundman refused to let him. John remarked that the last time he was here was the night River Phoenix died, and that they wouldn't let him play his acoustic then but that maybe if they had, River would still be alive. During the show he played a few songs fron Niandra Lades ("My Smile Is a Rifle" and some others I can't remeber because he seemed to play them quickly and halfheartedly) as well as many new ones which I never heard before (most of which sounded not too great because again his playing was very sloppy).
During this show he played two guitars: a newish martin acoustic with some black scribling on the body, and a new fender jagstang elctric (the Kurt Cobain guitar; he did say that Nirvana was a favorite band of his in the story on his heroin addiction) which he seemed to be confused on how to manipulate all the switches to get the sound he wanted. He did however have to borrow an amp (Ampeg v4 halfstack) from the previous band (Supersport 2000) to play his elctric. When the curtain opened, he bashed the Fender's strings like a child as everyone stared in quiet amazement at the reported heroin addict. During the middle of the show, some dude my friend and I had talked to outside in the parking lot began screaming at John because he felt that John wasn't playing music to his true potential. John responded by asking everyone in the club to "tell this guy to shut up!" and the dude was promptly ejected by the club's gorilla security (never go to this place, if you're in L.A. go to Jabberjaw or Hollywood Moguls). During the show he seemed to be trying to get through his setlist as fast as possible all the while changing guitars for different songs and breaking open a huge case of Evian waterbottles and smokin some expensive looking cigarets. Throughout the show people called out for specific songs from his album to which he responded to one request by saying "I haven't got five hands". He ended the show abruptly by telling everyone "good night" and storming out onto the Sunset Blvd. sidewalk where River Phoenix croaked. And there he leaned up against a parked truck while smilingly posing for pictures and talking to a crowd of fans for a shortwhile. Around this time, my friend went around the corner and began talking to the guy who was kicked out earlier, when they both saw Anthony Kiedis standing with a few people holding this small cute puppy. The guy asked Anthony if he saw what went on in there and he cooly replied by saying that it was just the kind of stuff that John wanted to do right now and that he should be free to express himself.
In all, my friend hated the show and the only pleasure he got out of it was seeing some "burnout" make a fool of himself. I didn't know what to think as I refused to realize that my favorite guitar player was a mere shadow of his past now.
When John left the stage people clamored for the stage grabbing everything they could that John had left behind save for equipment. People took spent and full Evian bottles, cigarettes and one lucky guy who I had talked to earlier snagged the setlist. I don't what it is about this stupid place that people feel they have to be weird as if they have to live up to the place's "notorious" (as Hard Copy puts it) reputation. I won't mention what some supposedly drunken idiot did while I waited to take a leak in the restroom.
Both Flea and Chad were there, Anthony was nowhere to be seen. Poor John, he yelled and screamed down the mic and struck his guitar like a kid picking it up for the first time. He had a Beatle haircut and black mascara around his eyes. Flea looked on so seriously. People did applaud, I feel it was out of sympathy more than anything else. I really did feel like crying for him. I think John was drunk and high. Either that, or he doesn't have any teeth.