The Red Hot Chili Peppers │01.18.17

Leave it to the Chili Peppers to bring innovation and originality to the stage once again.

Scottrade Center, St. Louis

On tour to support their latest album The Getaway, the Red Hot Chili Peppers visited St. Louis to bring their legendary funk rock to the masses. When I heard they were playing the Scottrade Center—one of St. Louis’s largest venues—I was forced to reminisce about my earlier encounters with the Peppers. When I first saw them on MTV (when the channel actually played videos), their video for “Fight like a Brave” mystified me. The energy was powerful, Flea’s bass playing was hypnotizing, Anthony Kiedis’s gorgeous blonde mane flowing in the wind was iconic, and it was from this video I knew I was destined to be a bitchy princess.

Fast forward a few years later when RCHP played a concert with Fishbone at the legendary Mississippi Nights. Not only was it the hottest ticket in town, it was a watershed moment for me as the crowd worked itself up into a frenzy chanting, “Fishbone is red hot!” It was my first communal musical moment, and one I will never dare to forget. But now, nearly three decades later, here come the Chili Peppers playing the ultimate venue in St. Louis—and they show absolutely no signs of slowing down.

As the band took to the stage engaging in an opening jam session, Kiedis hopped onstage sporting a medical boot on his leg and foot. I could only imagine what shenanigans the charismatic frontman had gotten into to warrant such a device. As he contorted his body to the wicked rhythms of “Can’t Stop,” the crowd quickly learned that boot wasn’t going to slow him down one beat.

As the band tore through gems like “Dani California,” “Hey,” and “Right on Time,” the lighting aspect added a stunning dimension to the show. Hundreds of cylindrical lights would rise and fall from the ceiling in tandem with the music, changing colors and patterns for each song. As a card-carrying member of the OCD Army, this aspect was extremely pleasing to me. The patterns the lights would make were nothing short of computer precision brilliance, which, for a short time, alleviated my anxiety regarding U.S. politics. Leave it to the Chili Peppers to bring innovation and originality to the stage once again.

The show featured five songs from the new album; among them, “Go Robot,” “The Longest Wave,” and “Goodbye Angels” showed how the Peppers have matured as a band. While the songs may not have the same bite as their earlier hits, the lyrics are some of the best the band has turned out.

And then there was Flea, the band’s legendary bass player. His performance is always a tour de force, as he bounded about the stage with unbridled energy and his genuine spirit. During the show, he would drop nuggets of inspiration such as, “Be nice to your mom,” “Give kids crayons and paper,” and “Don’t eat junk food. Your body is a fucking temple.” This is why I have long admired Flea: He always keeps it real.

That’s the charm of the Chili Peppers: All the musicians, including Chad Smith on drums and Josh Klinghoffer on guitar, are enigmas that work as a cohesive unit. They each are so brilliant in what they do, they appear to be in their own worlds, but when their worlds collide onstage, magic happens.

Another unique aspect of the show is how the Chili Peppers customize the set to the location. They are shrewd enough to know that a repetitious playlist doesn’t work for every city. While I may be jealous of the songs played in other cities, the set they created for St. Louis was special. It contained enough new material, combined with the classic hits to make us happy. While I would have fainted if they had played “Fight like a Brave,” “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes,” or “Me and My Friends,” I was totally in love with the band’s stellar performances of “Give It Away” and “Higher Ground.”

That’s the thing you have to understand about true artists: You just have to love and appreciate what they create. What the Red Hot Chili Peppers created on the stage of Scottrade Center on this night was one spicy performance. | Jim Ryan

Photo by Greg Artime; view full photo album here

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply