Red Hot Chili Peppers w/ Santigold
Time Warner Cable Arena
April 6, 2012
The last time I caught the Chili Peppers live it was 20 years ago, shortly after the release of "Under the Bridge." When the band played the song live at 1992's Lollapalooza festival in Scranton, Pa., a mosh pit started in defiance of the mellow undertones. Fast forward to the April 6, 2012, concert at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena and "Under the Bridge" was clearly the favorite song, boasting the night's loudest sing along. Personally, I used the time to check my e-mail.
Aside from a strong distaste for one song, I headed into the concert with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have all of the energy they used to exude, but it's now done in different ways. Singer Anthony Kiedis, 49, still finds time to dance, but his wild side has calmed down a bit. Drummer Chad Smith, 50, still appears to have an absolute blast behind the kit - throwing sticks to the crowd and making faces at people - and bassist Flea is as crazy as ever - evidenced by his random comments and stories, walking across the stage on his hands and constant jumping around. As for new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer - more on him in a moment.
Klinghoffer found plenty of time to display his talents during numerous between-song jams with Flea, including an encore-closing five minute adventure full of structured sonic squeals. He added the right flourishes soaked in psychedelia, and his style closely resembles that of long-time guitarist John Frusciante.
While the band's setlist focused on more recent albums - "Californication," "Look Around," "Dani California," etc., they did find time to revisit Blood Sugar Sex Magik via the title track, "Give It Away" and "Suck My Kiss." They also included their high-energy cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground."
32-year-old Klinghoffer brought new life to the group as all members fed off of his intensity throughout the show. His brief solos and moments of heavy-handed riff slinging were never self-serving and Kiedis could often be seen watching him with a smile on his face.
The band's 90-minute performance was a bit shorter than I would have liked - though I would have also welcomed a few older songs thrown in. Note: The band did play "Me & My Friends" from 1987's Uplift Mofo Party Plan at their April 4 show in Raleigh, so all is not forgotten when it comes to the past.
The Power Of Equality
I Could Have Lied
Give It Away