There’s an interview with Anthony Kiedis from last summer swirling the internet. While promoting the release of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 11th studio album, The Getaway, the legendary frontman was asked if he ever gave thought to where he’d be today if he hadn’t accepted his friend’s invitation to rap in 1980.
“Wow, that’s a scary movie,” Kiedis pondered. “It could be a bum walking down the street talking to himself with strange clumps of dirt about his chest hair. I just don’t know. It’s a scary concept to me.”
Fortunately for the tens of millions of fans across the globe that enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ intoxicating mix of funk and punk rock, Kiedis fronted the band and has provided 30-plus years of hip poetry. However, on the Chili Peppers’ stop in Charlotte on The Getaway World Tour, Flea broke the silence and provided the first note of the night. The wildly eccentric, renowned bassist casually strolled into the limelight, as if he wasn’t a big deal. He nonchalantly grabbed his silver Fender bass guitar, draped it around his neck, covering most of his outlandish attire – which looked like stitched together quilt pieces from your Grandma’s closet – and began to jam center stage with drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.
Photos by Jared Allen
The adrenaline-filled jam session brought Flea to his knees and had Klinghoffer – who’s pants sagged well below his crotch – looking like he was in a heated game of Limbo. The intro jam segued into “Can’t Stop” which queued the introduction of Kiedis. The frontman barreled onto stage, ferociously gripped the microphone and belted “Can’t stop addicted to the shindig” along with the near sold-out audience.
RHCP garnered their devoted crowd’s unwavering attention from the get-go – which is saying something considering the tour’s extravagant production. Hundreds of colored lights hung and bobbed from the ceiling, creating an eye-catching visual above the artists, throughout the performance. If that wasn’t enough, four large LED boards flanked the musicians and displayed eye-grabbing antique-colored, live footage that seemed like a tribute to the hall of famers more than anything else..
Photos by Jared Allen
However, beyond the theatrics and on-stage antics, the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t disappoint.
In their storied career, the Chili Peppers’ have always excelled at blending the superstar, arena-like qualities with beloved, pleasant funk. Maybe it’s Flea’s kookiness and willingness to do whatever it takes to engage the crowd – the bassist went airborne on multiple occasions and stripped off his shirt midway through the set – or Kiedis’ captivating passion behind the mic stand. Regardless, there’s a revitalized version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on The Getaway Tour. There’s evidently an enhanced cohesiveness between the four members now that Klinghoffer, the youngin’ at 37 years old, has experience on the road with the band. And because of that, this is the best RHCP the world has seen in recent years.
Even though the foursome’s set list consisted of mostly songs from The Getaway, a look around the crowd confirmed admiration for the band on this given night – it didn’t matter that “Scar Tissue” was left off the bill. Regardless of the music that echoed from Flea’s bass strings or Smith’s drum kit, the Red Hot Chili Peppers shined bright and looked light years away from a comedown, fostering the impression that a “farewell tour” is still far off.