I thought the Perry Farrell/Peretz show from last year was one of the most surreal things I had ever witnessed. Hundreds of people stood motionless, staring at him while he stared at the screen of his Apple laptop.
He drank water from a plastic bottle, and that was as much of a performance as we saw. For any other disc jockey, this is typical behavior. The crowd should be dancing, not staring.
But for fans of Jane's Addiction, we have come to expect outlandish behavior from our Mr. Farrell when he is on stage.
But since his time as the frontman for Jane's Addiction, Farrell has become a devout Jew who reads the Torah daily. ("Peretz" is Farrell's Hebrew name.) Times have changed.
Still traumatized by last year's staring contest, it took some persuading to get me to Levelz on Saturday night to watch Farrell's second annual performance.
Like I said, I thought last year was the most surreal concert I have attended. In fact, this year's was the most surreal.
Farrell stepped onto the stage with a pile of CDs and CD-Rs and commenced to play a long set of classic rock.
As he played songs by the Grateful Dead and Johnny Cash, he sang along into a nearby microphone. Meanwhile, audience members were jumping on stage to have Farrell autograph Porno for Pyro and Jane's Addiction albums. Farrell signed them happily and danced along with the music.
As the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra played the "Sounds of Spring" Saturday night, I was momentarily distracted by light from a snowcat on Mount Werner shining through the windows of the Steamboat Christian Center. As the groomers mowed down the slush piles that had gathered that day, their pacing seemed especially dramatic in the background of the pounding timpani and blasting horns.
The concert marked the end of winter, at least on the calendar -- and after a season of rock concerts, we were out of practice as symphony listeners. When conductor Ernest Richardson brought the first movement of a Mozart's Paris Symphony to a close, we all began to clap like musical barbarians instead of waiting for our turn at the end of the entire piece.
But by the end of the second movement, everyone's symphony savvy had returned, and there was ne'er a hint of applause. We were back in good form.