If I had to summarize the show in one word, it would be, “electric.”
From the sights and sounds to the energy, the feeling was simply electric. 16 year old me was giddy. I was reminiscing with friends about the first time I ever saw the band and where I was when I first heard them as a high school kid living in Germany. The show was sold out earlier in the tour and due to illness the band was forced to reschedule this make up show as the last stop on the Getaway Tour in Phoenix. The place was filled to capacity and there was a definite sense that this was going to be incredible. As I walked amongst the sea of people I noticed a lot of huge smiles. I’ve been to thousands of concerts in my lifetime and I’ve never seen people so happy to be at a particular show.
The night opened with a short set by founding Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons. He was introduced to the crowd by Flea as “a man without who there would be no Red Hot Chili Peppers.” It was a little unorthodox as he drummed along mostly in darkness with a backing track of pre-recorded synth and lyric-less music. It was pretty plain to see that he could have been just as easily playing drums for the band still with his level of talent.
Next up was Trombone Shorty. I had heard nothing but good things about them. I was a little skeptical because while I can recognize the talent of a funk/jazz band I’ve just never been big on those genres of music. I was prepared to not be into it. I was happy to admit I was wrong and everyone else was right on this one. Wow. They are exceptional. I was so impressed. Not just the level of talent but my opinion on a band is, “Could I see myself playing this in my car?” The answer for Trombone Shorty is a resounding yes! For sure the surprise of the night.
The thing with the Red Hot Chili Peppers is they have found a way to be just as relevant now as they were all those many years ago when they first got famous. Even with some of the biggest bands they settle into their hits from years ago and bank on them forever. Not so with RHCP. Their biggest selling albums have been more recently in a career that have spanned decades and boy did they ever deliver. It was as good a setlist as you could have asked for covering a little of everything. They had the most insane lighting. Thousands of individual lights suspended from the ceiling over the crowd and stage on actuators that were timed to change color and raise and lower over the entire venue in choreographed patterns. Even if you hadn’t been drinking or snuck something in to enhance your show experience it was a cerebral feast. The crowd was losing their minds and roared with approval at every little thing. The band raced back and forth across the stage with limitless energy. I’ve never had such a sense of sheer excitement from both band and crowd to be a part of an event. The last words from Flea at the end of the night were even a shout out to the whole community that seemed so actually endearing and personal and not the typical band platitudes for whatever city they happen to be in, “Celebrate the Meat Puppets! They are my favorite thing to ever come out of this town.”
Around The World
The Zephyr Song
Dosed (with Zach Irons son of founding member Jack)
Fire (Jimmy Hendrix cover with Jack Irons)
Tell Me Baby
The Power of Equality
The Longest Wave (with Zach Irons)
Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover)
Under the Bridge
By The Way
Waterloo Sunset (The Kinks cover)
Give It Away