Red Hot Chili Peppers bring the heat to Vancouver
Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Saturday. November 17, 2012. (CTV)
Published Sunday, November 18, 2012 11:44AM PST
Last Updated Monday, November 19, 2012 11:48AM PST
Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis may have celebrated the big 5-0 earlier this month, but Saturday’s arena show in Vancouver proves these California guys who’ve been rocking out for more than 30 years together aren’t going to retire anytime soon.
In fact, Kiedis, who now sports a moustache so hideous that fans have actually launched an online petition for him to shave it off (yes, it’s that awful), is still bringing his A-game, bouncing around the stage like a man half his age and even doing cartwheels. I can only attribute this incredible stamina to his legendary abs, recently featured in a Men’s Health magazine spread – not kidding.
In one of 100-plus arena shows across the globe supporting I’m With You, the band’s first album since 2006’s Stadium Arcadium and the first with new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer (who replaced long-time player John Frusciante), the Chilis ventured seamlessly from new material into a best-of showdown with hits going all the way back to 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
Exploding onto stage in a fury of funk, strobe lights and what can only be described as old school rock aggression, there were no signs that three-quarters of this alt-rock band will soon cross the half-century milestone.
The boys kicked off their sold out show at Rogers Arena with "Monarchy of Roses," the first track from the new album. It would be the first of four tracks played from I’m With You (“Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, “Ethiopia” and “Look Around” followed). All were met with a reception much more enthusiastic than what new material usually yields from long-time fans shelling out--let’s face it--big bucks to hear their favourite classics.
The heart and soul of the Chilis has always been Flea. This show was no exception. At 50, he exudes the energy of a 15-year-old cheerleader – and remains one of the best bassists in the business. From walking across the stage on his hands to jumping off the speakers and just generally going mental (in a cool rock star kind of way) he’s the reason the band has remained a tour de force for three decades running.
He's also the one with the most to say, telling fans "this is our life's mission" after thanking Vancouverites for their love, support and long-time dedication to the band.
Most people I talk to are of two minds about this band: like me, you either absolutely love them and have nostalgic memories about their songs and the melodramatic teen angst you were feeling when “Under the Bridge” was released in 1992. Or, if you’re like CTV’s otherwise charming British concert reviewer Robert Collins, you absolutely hate them and the thought of sitting through a concert is as appealing as hearing nails scrape down a chalkboard for two hours.
Whatever your inclination, one thing you can’t argue with is that the RHCP have always had the ability to write a catchy tune with a sweet harmony. “Scar Tissue,” “Around the World,” “Californication” and “By the Way” had the crowd on their feet and singing along, even though if we were all being honest, a lot of people were mumbling their way through the fast-rap parts.
Irrelevant but important side note: Kiedis' terrible moustache is not nearly as distracting as drummer Chad Smith, who is a dead ringer for Will Ferrell. When Smith, wearing a red jumpsuit, dangled from a swirling light stand to open a song, I just couldn't get the movie Old School out of my head.
For me, the hands-down highlight of the night was a 30,000 person sing-along version of the “Under the Bridge”, complete with lighters-in-the-air. The split of Smartphone screens and old fashioned fire power really highlighted the generational split of the modern RHCP fan. For every pair of 40-year-olds pining for the alt-rock memories of old, there was at least one teenager. There was even one passed out a row behind me (he briefly woke around “Throw Away Your Television”).
For anyone who primarily remembers the Chili Peppers as the guys who stripped down and performed with only socks on their jalapenos, I gotta say they haven’t changed much. While they no longer play infamous songs like “Party on Your Pussy”, or really much material pre-1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik, they still act like spastic pre-schoolers who live for jamming, jumping around and taking their shirts off. Flea started the concert shirtless and remained unclothed for almost the entire duration.
So 30 years into the rock game, the Red Hot Chili Peppers still look damn good and, despite losing a long-time guitarist, again, have found the cohesion and relevance to excite a whole new generation of fans. All while looking good shirtless. If this is what middle-age rock looks like, I’ll take it.
- Monarchy of Roses
- Around the World
- Snow (Hey Oh)
- Scar Tissue
- Can’t Stop
- Throw Away Your Television
- She’s Only 18
- The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
- Right on Time
- Universally Speaking
- Under the Bridge
- Look Around
- By the Way
- Chad & Mauro Jam
- Suck My Kiss
- Soul to Squeeze
- Give it Away