Let’s get one thing out of the way, I am a Chili Peppers fanboy. I have been for the better part of 2 decades. I will try my best to not allow this bias to distort my recap of last night’s show.
I showed up at the arena at the exact moments doors were set to open. The line up at Gate 3 (up the stairs from Expo Blvd.), was about 2000 people deep. I wasn’t shocked, just a little disappointed in myself for not thinking about showing up early. I decided to venture over to Gate 7 (up the stairs from Pacific Blvd.), and luckily this entrance was nearly vacant, and I walked right in.
I started my adventure with the usual checklist of events.
- Hit the merchandise table (was lucky enough to score myself the venue/date specific shirt, score)
- Use the restroom
- Walk around aimlessly, doing some people-watching
- Find my seat and bunker down for the night
While I sat in my seat, I noticed just how hyped the crowd was. They were electric, and nothing had even happened yet. This early stir of activity was making me more anxious then usual. I was growing impatient, I wanted to the show to start desperately. After fifteen minutes of this torture, the house lights were swallowed by darkness, and the the audience erupted into the usual hooting and hollering.
The opening band, Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans, was really fun to take in. They use New Orleans brass band flavor and mix in components of jazz, funk, and hip-hop. The intensity of the brass instruments, with their suave attitude, really comes across with a good-times vibe. The band had the house swaying and toe-tapping in time, slowly building them up for the main course.
It seemed like they played a very short set. Most of the patrons around me, took this opportunity to refresh their beverages and empty their bladders. I stayed put and waited for my two favorite members of Tony Flow & the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem to take the stage (RHCP fanboy reference, sorry).
I was starting to grow impatient once again. So I pulled out my phone and forced it to entertain me.
The lights once again extinguished. The stadium was now jammed full. Looking around it was hard to see any single empty seat in the house.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage, and attacked their set with an aggressive from the very first note. They opened the night with Monarchy of Roses, the second single for their latest album I’m With You.
Kiedis was an animal, he leaped around the stage like a man possessed. Flea was fierce, stalking in his corner like a ferocious lion waiting for his handlers to open the cage. Klinghoffer was electric and emotional charged, his fingers worked those frets with a soulful beauty and delivered every note charged with passion. Smith, well Smith is insane, some drummers can play the drums, some drummers master the drums, Smith forces the drums to submit to him, he looked like a LSD-crazed monkey beating its prey to death, all with a grin on it’s face.
Each song in the set seemed to flow seamlessly from the last, while the stage setup melted your mind with an impressively choreographed display of lights and screen work. 8 separately articulating screens worked around from the top-center of the stage. They changed positions continuously throughout the night. It was almost like some mad-scientist’s version of an adult mobile. The backdrop of the stage was a giant 30 foot tall by 60 foot wide (rough estimate) screen. Between the eight armed adult mobile and the giant monitor behind them, each song was highlighted with its own custom video feed, and eight arm arrangement. It was a site, I am sure, that everyone in attendance will remember for years to come.
The set list was a perfect balance of old and new, rare and popular. Take a look for yourself:
Set List (by Setlist.fm)
Monarchy of Roses
Around the World
Snow (Hey Oh)
Throw Away Your Television
She’s Only 18
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Did I Let You Know (with Chad from Rebirth Brass Band on trumpet)
Under the Bridge
By the Way
Chad & Mauro & Josh Jam
Suck My Kiss
Soul to Squeeze
Give It Away
After all was said and done, the night was closed out by a heartfelt closing statement by Flea. He thanked Vancouver, thanked the crowd and urged people to support all live music. A sentiment I can definitely get behind. The Chili Peppers were amazing, I was caught off guard by how visually stunning the stage choreography was. It really pushed this show over the edge for me. The vocals were tight, the constant bass vs lead guitar jams were awesome, the Smith patented drum insanity was mind blowing and the band was all over the stage, in fact they worked that stage better then bands half their age. RHCP consistently sets the bar higher and higher, and works hard to earn your love, like when Flea walked out from side-stage on his hands and hand-stand-walked about 50 feet, I mean who else does that during an arena show.
I would like to thank the guys in the band, and the promoters for bringing them to town. I am now saddened that I don’t have future RHCP date on my calendar that I can countdown to. Let’s hope the creative bug hits them and they hit the road again really soon.