Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place hosted one of the last remaining behemoths of rock April 30, a band that shows no signs of relinquishing their well-deserved spot atop the heap.
Legendary Los Angeles funk-rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers hurdled through a sweeping, two-hour plus set, setting a stellar standard for live music performance.
Earlier this month, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Formed in 1983, they have since blazed a storied trail through the music world, receiving endless accolades for their unique sound and killer groove. This level of prestige and success has come to be expected of, and synonymous with, the group.
The band’s status as a sex symbol was affirmed in full during Monday’s show; sleeveless, shirtless, and physical, the four tore up the stage, leaving no corner unexplored and no extremity bloodless.
Despite their age, the sheer agility and animalistic physicality of the Chili Peppers was overwhelming. Turning 50 this year, frontman Anthony Kiedis’s irresistible charisma and smooth voice, dripping with power and lust, gave life to his flailing, wild frame. The entire band seemed above the accepted laws of physics, as their heated bodies twisted and swung as if on strings.
The band wasted no time in establishing an energy and super-charged vibe with “Monarchy of Roses,” a tune fresh off their recently released album I’m With You. Hot on the heels of “Roses” were smash hits “Can’t Stop” and “Otherside.” Throughout their set, the band produced a healthy mix of new and old, ignoring neither their humble beginnings nor their recent endeavors.
Their performance of “Californication” was a memorable moment. While Kiedis crooned the sorrows of life in Los Angeles, flashes of enormous pill bottles offering “Beauty,” “Confidence,” and “Eternal Youth” loomed eerily on the screen behind the stage. The song was an emotional powerhouse, and an emotional trip through the band’s past.
The hidden gem of the show proved to be guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who first joined the Chili Peppers as a backup guitarist in 2007. Following the 2009 departure of guitar guru and longtime Chili Pepper John Frusciante, Klinghoffer was offered the lead job.
His refined guitar work added flavour and colour. Humble and understated for most of the show, Klinghoffer took a back seat to Flea’s staggering bass work. However, during solos, Klinghoffer’s guitar work was an unhinged beast, free and raw as he bent and rocked to and fro.
“Support live music,” pleaded Flea at the end of a breath-taking encore of “Give It Away.” Given the spectacle they had just witnessed, the audience would surely oblige. The power, emotion, and talent behind their live show truly breathed life into the performance.
And though Kiedis and company have captivated audiences world-wide for almost three decades, the Chili Peppers showed that, just like a fine wine, they seem to only get better with age.
—Photo by Portia Baladad