Monday, October 8, 2012

The Red Hot Chili Pepper rock Nola

The Red Hot Chili Peppers rocked New Orleans in spectacular fashion, again.  I've seen them twice now, the last time being at the 2006 Voodoo fest.  And if it wasn't for them agreeing to headline the first New Orleans Voodoo after Katrina, the festival would not be what it is today.  It was the first full Voodoo fest after Katrina, and it broke records with an attendance over 100,000.  (Read a great article about that story here.)

For the encore of that show, The Meters came out and had an improv jam session that lasted for over 20 minutes.  It was an amazing thing to experience.  It seemed like a dream come true for the Chili Peppers, an early influence on them being the funky jams and bass lines of the Meters.  I imagine it was a bit like the Beatles meeting Fats Domino for the first time.  To this day, that remains my favorite concert experience of all time.  [Watch it here]  So all that being said, I knew this show was going to have a hard time trying to match it.  Throw in the absence of John and it became damn near impossible.

Hit play for some of my favorite renditions of the night:

So I didn't go into the show with huge expectations.  To be honest, I wasn't sure how this new John Klinghoffer fellow was going to replace John.  Well, he didn't replace him, but he at least played to his level.  Limited to a seat most of the night due to a huge cast on his leg, he managed to rock out anyway, even managing to hop up and down on one leg.  He did just fine.

All in all it was an awesome show that only reaffirmed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the best live acts in the world.  My only disappointment had nothing to do with the band, but it was disappointing nonetheless.  The Arena security people were like Nazis.  First they wouldn't let my backpack in.  I left the line and got in another one.  My bag passed.  But then they had a problem with my camera.  I had checked the website an hour before the show.  It said I could bring a DSLR with a lens no longer than 6 inches.  Perfect.  I was in total compliance.  They wouldn't let it in.  "No cameras.  That's the rule."  I explained it to them and showed them their own website.  They didn't budge.  I was livid on the point of a freakout- the show about to start and my car parked 2 miles away.  A decently nice manager told me I could check my bag at security.  I get to security and convince the lady to let me take my bag and camera in, since I was already inside the arena.  She didn't even care.  The whole thing reminded me of Louis Armstrong international.  It was sheer chaos...everyone operating by a different set of rules.  

Typical New Orleans.  

One more complaint:  assigned seating on the floor.  Who the hell has assigned seating on the floor?  You couldn't even go to the bathroom without some security guard hassling you about where your seats were.  Is this not a Red Hot Chili Peppers show?  I felt like we were on a third grade field trip.  Is this what rocks shows have come to?  

Anyway, the Chili Peppers did their job.  They rocked the place with as much energy as you'd expect and then some.  It's amazing how a great live show can help you "rediscover" even your favorite music.  All in all it didn't beat the sheer awesomeness of the first show, but then again, I didn't want it to.

Standing in line to see the show tonight and there's a light on, heavy glow...

Flea stage left.

RHCP drummer Will Ferrell swings from the lights...

To end the show, Flea gave a heart felt speech about the sacredness of live music.  The one thing you have to respect about the Chili Peppers is the fact that these are 50 year old dudes that leave it all on stage, every single night.  And btw, they certainly don't look or act their age.

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