Red Hot Chili Peppers Let New Songs Take a Backseat to the Hits, Plus a Crazy Light Installation

Red Hot Chili Peppers were careful not to play too many new songs last night. They saved roughly three-quarters of the setlist for older hits such as “Californication,” “Under the Bridge” and “By the Way."
Red Hot Chili Peppers were careful not to play too many new songs last night. They saved roughly three-quarters of the setlist for older hits such as “Californication,” “Under the Bridge” and “By the Way."
Mike Brooks

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers can still put on a show, aided by their catalog of hits and a revolutionary light show. The band performed at the American Airlines Center under more than 800 tube lights — the largest kinetic light installation in touring history. The installation looks like an enormous, modern chandelier with lights that can move up and down and change colors simultaneously.

The lights were so entertaining that fans seemed unsure whether to pay attention to the band onstage or the bright colors above.

Fans were treated to a nostalgic opening act by Jack Irons, one of the founding members of the Chili Peppers and the band’s original drummer. Irons left the Chili Peppers in 1988 after bandmate Hillel Slovak died of a heroine overdose. Irons played solo on the drums for about 20 minutes; he will open for the Chili Peppers for most of their shows during the month of January.

Irons was followed by Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, a New Orleans funk band. The New Orleans brass warmed up the AAC and got the crowd on their feet for the headliners.

The Chili Peppers took the stage shortly before 9 p.m., playing an improvised intro jam before hitting concertgoers with back-to-back-to-back fan favorites “Can’t Stop,” “Dani California” and “The Zephyr Song.”

Flea, the band's bassist, upset many Dallas Mavericks fans in the audience as he performed with a bass that had a Los Angeles Lakers skin.
Flea, the band's bassist, upset many Dallas Mavericks fans in the audience as he performed with a bass that had a Los Angeles Lakers skin.
Mike Brooks

It helped that the band relied on their hits. Of their 18-song setlist, the Chili Peppers performed only five songs from their newest album, The Getaway, which was released last summer. The album has received generally favorable reviews, but, it's not the band’s most popular when compared to other hits such as Californication, By the Way and Stadium Arcadium. The Chili Peppers must be aware of this since roughly three-quarters of the setlist comprised older hits such as “Californication,” “Under the Bridge” and “By the Way.” Throughout the arena fans sang loudly to the nostalgic tracks, not missing a single word, while it seemed that the songs from the Chili Peppers’ newest album were opportunities to refill on beer or restroom breaks.

The band didn’t waste time; the breaks between songs were short and they spoke to the crowd only a few times throughout the night. The Chili Peppers performed 15 songs in approximately an hour and 15 minutes before leaving the stage. For five minutes straight, applause, cheers and “RHCP” chants boomed through the AAC as fans demanded an encore. Hundreds of people in the crowd lit the venue with the flashlights on their phones until the Chili Peppers returned to the stage.

Chad Smith played drums with the Red Hot Chili Peppers last night, but the original drummer, Jack Irons, served as opening act.
Chad Smith played drums with the Red Hot Chili Peppers last night, but the original drummer, Jack Irons, served as opening act.
Mike Brooks

Josh Klinghoffer, the Chili Pepper’s lead guitarist, led off the encore with a solo of “The Bewlay Brothers.” The song is a clear tribute honoring David Bowie, two days before the one-year anniversary of his death. After Klinghoffer’s solo, Flea, the band’s bassist, amped up the crowd by walking across the stage on his hands – an impressive performance for a 54-year-old. (It should be noted here that Flea upset many Dallas Maverick’s fans in the audience as he performed with a bass that had a Los Angeles Lakers skin.) The Chili Peppers played one final song from The Getaway, “Goodbye Angels,” before ending on the classic fan favorite “Give it Away” from the Blood Sugar Sex Magik album.

The show is the Chili Peppers’ final stop in Texas — having played in San Antonio and Houston last week — before heading to New Orleans for a show on Tuesday. The band will continue the North American leg of their tour through the summer before a brief second European leg and come to a close in Rio de Janeiro in September.

Setlist:

1. Intro Jam
2. Can’t Stop
3. Dani California
4. The Zephyr Song
5. Dark Necessities
6. She’s Only 18
7. Look Around
8. Go Robot
9. Californication
10. Sick Love
11. Parallel Universe
12. Detroit
13. The Power of Equality
14. Under the Bridge
15. By the Way

Encore:
16. The Bewlay Brothers
17. Goodbye Angels
18. Give it Away


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