Red Hot Chili Peppers
Orlando, FL • January 30, 2007
I am a product of the 90’s. I remember where I was when I heard that Kurt Cobain died. The first time I got high was at a Green Day concert. I bought Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness the day it was released. My teenage years were angst-filled, flannel-clothed and sprinkled with various intoxicants. I was a full-fledged member of Generation X. However, though a fan of the band since 1992, I had never attended a Red Hot Chili Peppers show. Fifteen years after wearing out my Blood, Sugar, Sex, Majik cassette I was finally able to amend that gaping hole in my musical experience.
But before my photo date with Anthony, Flea, John and Chad arrived, I stood at the feet of the always fashionably dressed Gnarls Barkley, who paid tribute to the nearby Kennedy Space Center by having a NASA theme for the night. The duo have virtually monopolized the airwaves this past year with their modern hip hop-soul hit “Crazy” (which, of course, they played, but not until the end of their set). Cee-Lo’s timeless vocals and teddy bear stature was offset by Danger Mouse’s cool and silent demeanor. Their 45 minutes on the big arena stage was one of those rare occassions when the support act of a major band fill the seats early and manage to hold the majority of the fan’s attention.
On a scarcely decorated stage (empty save for an elaborate backdrop of lights and video screens that wrapped upward and outward over the heads of the crowd) the Chili Peppers entered the stage one by one and sequed from a five minute jam, led by John Frusciante, into “Can’t Stop.” The mid-career song was just one of many older tunes that the punk funk-turned-stadium gods threw out to the thankful audience. Other old favorites included “Scar Tissue,” “By The Way,” and the show stopping “Give It Away.”
What has really made this band last though, are not a few hits from a decade ago, but their ability to constantly evolve and mature. Stadium Arcadium, the ambitious double disc that they are touring behind, has some of their best songs to date, and when songs like “Snow (Hey Oh)” and “Dani California” are performed live they sound as if they’ve been hacking away at them for years. It would have made many people scream with laughter 15 years ago if you told them that the guys who wear socks over their dicks onstage are now level to level with respected artists like U2, but it’s the damn truth. Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, two bands of the 90’s who not only have made it through without breaking up, but are actually making better music today than ever before. Who knew.
My only sadness during the two hours of inexpressable wonderment was seeing how the crowds have aged and slowed down over the years. There was no pit (there were chairs- though, thank god, people were standing up out of them!), and the enthusiasm was not over the top. The Chili fans have grown up. Most probably worked eight hours before the show, maybe had to get a babysitter, and had to worry about getting enough sleep before waking up at 7am to do it all over again, but without the dessert of a good rock show at the end of the night. They were there to be entertained, and to enjoy the music, but not to go absolutely nuts over it. To those grownup rock fans I say this, let loose once in awhile. Untuck your shirt, have another drink, and who cares if tomorrow you look like shit and have a hangover. It’s the Red Hot-mother-fuckin’-Chili Peppers!
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.