Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Now this is a band who can play together.

I bought tickets back in Japan and almost forgot about them. Almost. Last night Renee and I drove through the pouring rain to the Continental Arena (luckily an indoor arena) to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Mars Volta opened. I'd heard good things from RG and they had a lot of energy on stage. What they didn't have was dynamics, precision or the ability to know when enough's enough. They played three songs in an hour. One was a half-hour jam. Where they all soloed at full blast. All of them. For a half-hour. It quickly went from curious to punishing.

The Chili Peppers took the stage with a jam themselves. That lasted two minutes then straight into "Can't Stop" and "Dani California". Even the volume was perfect.

The crowd was a mix from high school kids to fans ten years older than us. There was an awkward air in the stands that made me realize the teenage girls were controlling the crowd. The audience loved the Peppers in a totally self conscious way. Still, it's a testament to a band that at this age should be enjoying a comeback. The Chili Peppers never went away.

They were exactly what I hoped. They were full of energy and could stop on a dime. They explored every inch of the stage but were totally connected. Every now and then they would gather in a tight circle and play. Those moments weren't for us. They were private moments we were able to eavesdrop.

I've always thought John Frusciante is an underrated guitarist. Now I know he's an underrated guitar hero. He rolled all over the stage. Solos where he was supposed to play a melody line, he shredded. While the media spends all their time watching Anthony and Flea, the room was drawn to John. Flea was the virtuoso you'd expect (and almost take for granted) but John was with him note for note. Thank God heroin can be beaten.

The band was a complete unit. Anthony wasn't even a frontman. Everyone got a chance to speak, everyone got a moment to shine. No one was more important than anyone else. That's what I appreciate in a band, and what I almost never see.


Renee said...

Great review for an awesome show!!

I was really turned off and bored after the opening act, but then it turned into a real, live ROCK Concert! I loved how the Chilis (that is what they have asked me to call them) had the stage set up [lights, screens, cameras, effects]. It was a rockin good time! Thanks for the ticket honey.

Dave said...

Another great review and another reason for me to hate you!!! Damn you Jon for all the great concerts you've seen!!!!!

Did you take the photo?

Jon Clarke said...

Nah, stole it from Virgin's site.