“I wish you all have perfect health and peace and love in your life,” Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea told the crowd during the band’s sold-out performance at Glendale’s Gila River Arena Wednesday, October 18.
Rescheduled from March, the show was all love and energy between the band and the massive arena crowd.
After opening sets from the band’s founding drummer Jack Irons and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, the Chili Peppers’ instrumentalists–Flea, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and drummer Chad Smith–took the stage, leading the set with an opening jam. The intimate moment featured heavy improvisation and intense coordination and riffing between Flea and Klinghoffer. But it didn’t give the appearance of standard practice. The band members appeared to feel the music, feeding off each other’s energy before bursting into a performance of “Around the World.”
Vocalist Anthony Kiedis stormed the stage, donning a mostly-black outfit consisting of an “I ♥︎ LA” T-shirt, backward OFF! cap and knee-high blue socks.
The mysterious fixture above the crowd was an extravagant lighting rig, continuously changing colors throughout the band’s 90-minute set. The fluid movement of the prop, paired with the meticulously edited visuals and camera footage behind the band gave a trippy feel to the bright and colorful performance.
After the opening song, the band slowed things down for more melodic cuts and fan favorites “Snow (Hey Oh)” and “The Zephyr Song.” The Chili Peppers didn’t just stick to the early 2000s hits. They brought their set to the album the tour was supporting: The Getaway. Lead single “Dark Necessities” was a definite crowd-pleaser.
After this handful of songs, the band brought out a string of special guests. Irons’ son, guitarist Zach, joined the group several times throughout the set.
One of the set’s centerpieces was a cover of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 classic “Fire,” also covered by the Chili Peppers on their 1989 album Mother’s Milk. Jack joined the quartet for this cut, having performed drums on the band’s original ’80s studio recording. They returned to this album later in the set for their memorable cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”
Arguably the funkiest of the bunch was “Tell Me Baby,” followed by a return to 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik with “The Power of Equality.”
By the end of the 14-song set, the Red Hot Chili Peppers concluded with the ever-popular “Under the Bridge” and “By the Way,” which got the crowd singing along, then jumping with energy, respectively, before the band thanked the crowd and exited the stage.
Following several minutes of cheers and applause from the crowd, as well as a crowd-wide raising of lights, Klinghoffer returned. Singing in a falsetto and strapped with his guitar, he performed a cover of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” while Kiedis watched from the side. The two then embraced in a hug and the full band once again took the stage.
The true ending came with a very necessary performance of “Give It Away,” arguably the perfect cut to round out the tour.
The crowd was clearly pleased, even though the Chili Peppers omitted tracks like “Suck My Kiss,” “Can’t Stop,” “Otherside” and “Aeroplane,” but that didn’t matter.
Kiedis and Klinghoffer were the first two to exit the stage, leaving Flea and drummer Smith for closing remarks, of which Flea had one important bit of information.
“Don’t forget. Celebrate the Meat Puppets,” he said. “It’s my favorite thing to ever come out of the state of Arizona–the Meat Puppets.”
Around the World
Snow (Hey Oh)
The Zephyr Song
Tell Me Baby
The Power of Equality
The Longest Wave
Under the Bridge
By the Way
Give It Away
Photos by Maria Vassett