Red Hot Chili Peppers was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1983 by Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Jack Irons, and Hillel Slovak. Since their formation, RHCP have made themselves the figureheads of alternative rock. Their style is alternative with elements of funk, psychedelia, and punk rock. They have gone through a fair amount of lineup changes following the death of guitarist Hillel Slovak in 1988. Six guitarists and three drummers to be exact. Their final lineup is now founding members Kiedis and Flea, plus longtime drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. However, there is no questioning their commercial success, as they’ve acquired six Grammys, shattered records for alternative rock billboard charts, and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
Their eleventh studio album, The Getaway, released in June of 2016, is their first album in 5 years since I’m With You, and the second album with their current lineup of musicians. It has received well-rounded reviews. The album’s song “Dark Necessities” made their 25th single in the top ten charts and their 13th number one single. The record was produced by the legendary Danger Mouse and features a slew of additional artists, including Elton John.
Trombone Shorty opened the night at Smoothie King Center this past Tuesday. He and his band rocked the house as only a resident of New Orleans could have. Afterward, Red Hot Chili Peppers started with a jam from Flea, Smith, and Klinghoffer, which led into Kiedis running out onstage and starting “Can’t Stop.” And it didn’t stop. They played hits dating all the way back to 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik and included a few tracks from The Getaway. They even paid tribute to Allen Toussaint by playing his song “Southern Nights.” Josh Klinghoffer actually sang that one.
RHCP’s stage presence is something to behold. Apart from Smith, they all dance and jump around so much it seemed they could have just as easily run a marathon while performing. In an interview, Kiedis once compared the physicality of their performances to playing a full-court basketball game. Their light show was equally dazzling as an army of tube lights, held by motorized wire, bounced and changed color in sync. This was in addition to a professional film crew broadcasting the band’s movements mixed with psychedelic imagery on a giant LED monitor behind them.
After charming the crowd with “By The Way,” RHCP came back to the stage, Flea walking on his hands like a gymnast, and geared up for three more songs. They played “Goodbye Angels” from The Getaway, and then, to the audience’s great surprise, the group welcomed to the stage George Porter Jr., Ivan Neville, Rebirth Brass Band, and Trombone Shorty. Red Hot Chili Peppers and the supergroup of NOLA musicians banged out an epic version of “Give It Away” and then improvised a glorious jam with each other to close out the show. Rumor has it that Flea made his way to the Rebirth Brass Band show at the Maple Leaf later that night.