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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Red Hot Chili Peppers perfect ‘Stadium’ performance

    When Flea burst onstage wearing a full-body suit looking completely tattooed from neck to ankles, I knew I was going to be in for a real treat at my first Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.

    A rain-soaked crowd packed Glendale Arena in Phoenix for the Chili Peppers’ return to Arizona with bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante jamming to a funk-driven beat around the drum kit.

    The captivating frontman Anthony Kiedis’ entrance to the pounding beat of radio hit “”Can’t Stop”” sent the crowd into a frenzy. This night was all about explosions – except that the blasts were delivered in the form of virtually nonstop rich, full sound from the veteran performers. No pyrotechnics were needed for the “”wow”” factor at this show.

    I was instantly blown away by this four-man band’s ability to produce such robust sounds. I half expected to see session musicians accompanying the Chili Peppers onstage, but these profound performers can truly stand alone.

    Their energy, as could be expected from a band that once performed wearing only gym socks on their nether-regions, was infectious. Blazing through hit after hit from their collection of albums as well as a thorough selection of songs off their latest double album release Stadium Arcadium, the Chili Peppers truly showcased their musical genius. In a surprise move, The Chili Peppers transitioned from the freestyle version of “”Can’t Stop”” to their newest mega-hit “”Dani California.””

    The stage setting was a perfect compliment to the atmosphere of the performance and the band – impressively simple. Columns of thin lights occupied the entire background of the stage and continued up and over the crowd, simulating a light-up canopy. Four crystal-clear screens projecting the expertly refined videography of the entire performance overlapped the backdrop. At times, the screens aligned to display one cohesive image like close-ups of Frusciante’s shredding solos and other times were split up to individually showcase each band member simultaneously.

    Limited interaction with the crowd made the performance seem a little too rigid, but that was quickly offset by the improvisational versions of popular songs and the mind-melting guitar and bass solos of Flea and Frusciante.

    The Chili Peppers’ ability to break down a song is unparalleled by any other band in the industry. Beside his one lyrical error during the opening of “”Otherside,”” Kiedis’ vocal performance was flawless and just as impressive as the instrumental performances during the night.

    Crowd favorites like “”Under the Bridge”” and “”By the Way”” were beefed up with unprecedented video special effects. During “”By the Way,”” the projection screens showed a frozen image of Kiedis jumping while the background continued to display live action. Vocal harmonizing from Kiedis and Frusciante was just as equally balanced as the studio versions, but the bass and guitar solos took the already explosive songs to whole new levels of awesomeness.

    For the true Chili Peppers fan, there may not have been enough variety, as a majority of the songs played came off Stadium Arcadium. But that can be expected from almost any touring band today.

    The Chili Peppers’ polished yet brilliantly improvised versions of their songs were clearly different from the style of their openers, envelope-pushing semi-newcomers The Mars Volta. In an overly long opening set, the nine-piece band droned on with a performance that was dominated by noise intermixed with spurts of ingenious musical cacophony.

    Although slightly (cough) overpriced, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium tour is a bona-fide live music experience and not just a concert, which is not to be missed. Flea, Smith and Frusciante’s faded away with an intense jam session to close the more than two-hour show in an unforgettable display of musicianship.

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