Concert Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers at Levi Stadium, Santa Clara.

FINALLY!!  I have been a fan of RHCP since the first time I heard “True Men Don’t…” on KSJS (San Jose State College radio) back in the early-1980’s. 

Fast forward 40 years, and I’m still a fan but for whatever reason I’ve never had the opportunity to catch their live show.  (I did get to see their drummer Chad Smith at a drum clinic a number of years ago and he was amazing!)

When I got a notice for a pre-sale on tickets back in October of LAST YEAR, I jumped at it.  You never know when their last go-round might be…  So yeah, been sitting on these tickets for nearly 10 months and could barely contain my excitement!

In all honesty,  I’m not a fan of stadium shows.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to several dozen of them, but my expectations are pretty low nowadays for them.  Nevertheless,  I’ll take what I can get when it comes to the Chili Peppers!

The venue, Levi’s Stadium,  is realitively new and this was my first event there.  It’s generally home to the 49ers, and I loathe football so they were never a draw for me to check out the stadium even though it’s practically in our “backyard”.  And truthfully,  I have yet to hear anything good about the place so I was a little disappointed when I learned that is where the show was being held.

The opening act was Thundercat, whom I first learned of several years ago but wasn’t terribly familiar with.  I did know he’s a phenomenal bassist, so I was excited to see him live.  Sadly, the traffic situation surrounding the venue was so bad we missed his set completely.  Strike One for the venue.

Next up was Beck.  We’ve seen Beck twice before and he was actually better than expected.   We never went to see him specifically, and I wouldn’t say we’re big fans of his, but he was on a couple other bills in the past and we were pleasantly surprised by how good his show was.  This time however, he really knocked it out of the park!  Really great energy,  the band was tight and you could tell they were having a really great time with it.  Another pleasant surprise!

Finally after months of anticipation the Chili Peppers hit the stage, opening with a kinda wild improv of guitar,  bass and drums before launching into their set with “Can’t Stop”.  The guys were on fire!

Anthony – who will be 60 this year! – looked fit as ever, full of energy and his singing voice has improved quite a lot over the years. Clearly the hard work has paid off.

Guitarist John Frusciante (who I was thrilled to learn was back with the band) was great, though live it’s impossible to play his parts like the recordings – they’d need another 2 or 3 guitarists backing him up to recreate his studio wizardry.

Chad Smith was solid as a rock and just straight up bombastic. A joy to watch.

Flea as you might expect, was the life of the party and put it all out there, every minute of the set. He’s in a class by himself as a bassist and his performance was top notch. Unfortunately the sound in the venue was less than stellar and a few times when he really went off the sound turned to mush, but overall he put on a great show.

Overall, I’d say the night was a mixed bag. On the venue itself, a solid thumbs down. I won’t go into my gripes, but it would take a MASSIVE draw (like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Prince coming back from the dead!) to get me back to that place. The band played great, and they played a couple of my favorites, but their set list was a bit of a disappointment if I’m being honest. And they only played for an hour… which for a band with a 40 year history and a deep catalog of material, seemed a bit of let down.

Nevertheless, it was fun to see them finally and I’m not sorry I went. I wish I’d had a chance to see them in a smaller venue back before megastardom put them in arenas, but I am grateful I got to see them at all, especially with this lineup, which in my opinion is the magic RHCP combination.

The MAGIC combination!

And when all is said and done, I got to spend a lovely summer night outside with my family, listening to some great music. Those are the kind of things that make life worth living!

Thanks for stopping by!

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