Web Exclusive: Chili Peppers heat up the ‘Q’

Andrew Gaug


While some people roamed the streets collecting candy for Halloween, thousands of Red Hot Chili Peppers fans crowded Quicken Loans Arena to see the California quartet’s first Cleveland performance in three years.

The band, illuminated by a huge stage that included an fluorescent tubelight background and a video screen, came out in Halloween fashion that included Will Ferrell look-alike drummer Chad Smith as Talledega Nights’ Ricky Bobby, lead singer Anthony Kiedis as a luchador wrestler, guitarist John Fruscainte as a football player and bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary as a witch flying 15 feet above the stage as the band breezed through opening songs “Can’t Stop” and “Dani California.”

Playing a set that was heavy on songs from the band’s current album, Stadium Arcadium, and its two multiplatinum albums before it, By The Way and Californication, the Chili Peppers appeared to be in top form musically as Flea and Frusciante took every chance to flesh the songs out by playing extended jams and solos.

While Flea, Frusciante and Smith filled gaps between song with jams, Kiedis often stood around or sat on the band’s amplifiers. Kiedis had trouble matching the rest of the band’s never-ending energy, only showing excitement during the beginning of songs such as “Readymade” and an extended jam during the bridge of “Hump De Bump” when opening band Mars Volta’s lead singer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez emerged to play the bongos.

Though most of the fans seemed to react more to the band’s hit material such as “Give It Away” and “Tell Me Baby,” older fans were treated to past songs such as “Me and My Friends” from their 1987 album Uplift Mofo Party Plan and the Stevie Wonder cover “Higher Ground,” which Flea introduced as a song they hadn’t played live in a long time.

While some long-time fans felt the set was short on some of their older, classic songs, one fan was overheard saying how much he “thought the set sucked.”

The band, without a doubt, still has the energy and musicianship that it has been honing for the past nine years since John Frusciante came back into the fold and the other members have cleaned themselves up. Though the show lacked any type of crowd interaction, there were enough bells, whistles and good songs to make up for it.

Contact ALL editor Andrew Gaug at [email protected].