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ReViewed: Red Hot Chili Peppers at Allstate Arena

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 1, 2007 4:40PM

We have been the biggest procrastinators writing about Tuesday’s Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the Allstate Arena because we’ve had a ton of thoughts about the show.

Red Hot Chili Peppers has been one of those bands that always tripped our trigger. We had our fake i.d. taken away at a RHCP show, we had to hitchhike home from the first Lollapalooza they played, we lined up at midnight to buy Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Flea has been slated to be the father of our children for some time now, and we used to carve their lyrics on bar tables all around Iowa.

200703_johnfrusciante.jpgWe kinda grew up in the years following those activities and so, rightfully, have the Red Hot Chili Peppers - releasing albums that focus more on the realities of adulthood, rather than the party anthems of the years past. We’ve defended the Peppers’ right to grow into entertainers, but after the show on Tuesday, we think they haven’t grown into full-on entertainer status yet.

Our first reason for this is the slow, plodding pace that their set list took. These guys have a plethora of songs to choose from when creating a feel for the night and chose to dirge it away with “Californication”, “Dani California”, and “C’Mon Girl” – all great songs, but not the most energetic. When the Peppers did slip in a couple fast ones (“Blood Sugar Sex Magic” and “Me and My Friends”) the songs were so sped up that they became caricatures of what they used to be.

Our second gripe of the evening was twofold - their inability to transition quickly between songs and the deference given to John Frusciante’s jams. Yes, he’s good. So is Flea. Buy his albums, see John play live where he can be all that he wants to be, don’t give me the Santanafication of the Chili Peppers. (All due apologies to Mr. Santana who actually is the leader of his group and gets to play like that because, well - he’s Santana – it’s his sound and it's his band.)

We guess what we are really saying is that the Red Hot Chili Peppers need to step up and take a lesson from the Rolling Stones. They’ve been around forever, their fans are still loyal, but they know that the majority of their best songs were written a long time ago. Therefore, when the Stones put together a set list, they may throw a couple new songs in, but the majority of the songs are from past albums. The crowd isn’t there to hear what’s new, they are there to be a part of the legend and experience The Stones. The Red Hot Chili Peppers need to ease into that role more than they are right now. Their musicianship is phenomenal, their stage presence is great. They just need to make their set list tell the exciting story of their whole journey more so than it did on Tuesday night.

Does this mean that we have to say we have agreed with Jim Derogatis? Not again...