Chili Peppers Spice up Levi’s Stadium

in SF Concert Reviews by

To say the Red Hot Chili Peppers have still got it would be an understatement. From the catatonic animated dancing of Flea to the always entertaining theatrics of Anthony Kiedis, this band is well within their prime. At Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, they put on a show for the ages that ran through their impressive discography as well as some rarely performed gems and intricate jams. When you watch these guys live, it’s hard to comprehend how they’re still able to do it with the same chutzpah as men half their age. Can you believe Flea is 60?

They began the show with an acoustic number showing off some elaborate bass lines from the incomparable one, who was sporting a multicolored cheetah hairdo for the evening and weaved a musical canvas along some thunderous drumming from Will Ferrel lookalike Chad Smith. No signs of singer Anthony Keidis until they kicked into ‘Dani California”, but the anticipation was quelled by some funky moves and matching vocals once he made his appearance onstage.

The place was packed. An impressive feat considering the size of Levi’s Stadium. Fans of all ages could be seen. Some who’d grown up listening to the Peppers in their dorm rooms while in college almost four decades ago, but also a younger generation who must’ve just discovered them on their favorite streaming platform (as is done these days). Altogether, the sheer energy from the close to 50,000 audience members last night was undeniably infectious.

The band ran through a setlist of their biggest hits. “Californication,” “Soul to Squeeze”, and “Give it Away”. They premiered “She’s Only 18”, a song first performed back in 2017. But surprisingly left out “Under the Bridge”, a song that seems like a no-brainer considering how big of a hit it was at the time it was released. I’d venture to guess that predictability isn’t a trait of this foursome.

With an eclectic performance from Beck, the opener, that spanned multiple musical genres to the final curtain call, which included a colorful fireworks display that lit up the entire venue, this will be remembered as an unforgettable stadium rock concert by one of the finest MTV juggernauts. The originators of a genre of funk/rock that has often been imitated but rarely replicated. I guess it’s true what they say, some things really do get better with age.

Photos by Louis Raphael

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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