Chris Moriates, Daily Bruin:
They may be a little bit older: the mohawks have grown out and the tube socks now remain on their feet, but the members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers still know how to put on a show.
From the moment that Anthony Kiedis and Flea could be seen jumping up and down together backstage, until the moment that John Frusciante’s guitar hit the ground and faded to silence almost an hour-and-a-half later, the crowd at the sold-out Hollywood Palladium show last Thursday night belonged to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Not only was it a great concert, but it was for a great cause. The show, which also featured veteran rocker Neil Young with his original Crazy Horse band, was a benefit concert held for Gloria Scott, a drug counselor who has helped members of the Chili Peppers and other bands through their addictions. The event, “A Night For Gloria Scott,” also included opening alt-rock band Thelonious Monster, as well as DJ/remixer/producer Paul Oakenfold handling the DJing duties between sets (taking over for the last-minute cancellation of Jane’s Addiction frontman/DJ Perry Farrell).
The music of the night was without a doubt about passion. Nobody demonstrated this more than guitar prodigy Frusciante, who is so committed to his craft that he has never even driven a car or had a bill in his name. Completely consumed by his music, Frusciante often times flailed about the stage, with spit flying and drool dripping from his chin, as he closed his eyes and did not feel anything except the music that he and his three partners were creating.
After a long break between the two sets, the Chili Peppers ran onto its hometown stage to the excitement of a sold-out crowd. “Seemed a lot bigger when I was a kid,” Kiedis said about the Palladium. “I saw The Clash here.”
The band ripped through an hour of music that covered the diverse spectrum of its long career, before returning for an encore set. The night started off with “Around the World,” from their latest album “Californication” and was followed by the funky older hit, “Give It Away.” During the song, Frusciante flashed a genuine, trademark off-center smile and there was a sense that something truly special was taking place.
Flea, donning early punk-rock-era red plaid pants, unleashed amazing bass work along with unrestrained energy as he hopped about the stage. Not to be upstaged by his lively band-mates, drummer Chad Smith caught attention with various classic drum antics, such as throwing his sticks into midair and catching them without missing a beat.
Some of the most interesting aspects of the act were the instrumental sections performed by Flea and Frusciante. Many times the two would meet center stage, standing inches from each other and would, in essence, meld in both energy and sound. During one of these extended jams, Kiedis joined Smith behind the drum kit as the two looked on and enjoyed a cigarette. Kiedis even appeared to quickly use a cell phone.
The Chili Peppers were able to mix slower songs, such as “I Could Have Lied,” with breakneck funk tunes like “Road Trippin'” (sic) without seeming too choppy.
Towards the end of the set, Kiedis and Frusciante embraced in a sincere hug and had a small discussion, apparently about the performance of the over-played classic “Under the Bridge.” Nobody really wants to hear “˜Under the
Bridge,’ do they?” Frusciante asked after returning to the microphone. This remark was followed by an overwhelming crowd response for the song and Frusciante, presenting another smile, quickly conceded and began to play the recognizable opening riff.
After finishing an emotional set, the band returned to the stage to perform a few more tunes before calling it a night, rocking well
past the publicized “strict 11 p.m. curfew.” Upon returning, Frusciante approached the microphone to scream “I love you” to the crowd. This was one of numerous times that Flea, Frusciante, and Kiedis displayed their true
affection for the audience. The night finally came to an end as Flea and Frusciante gracefully attacked their instruments, utilizing Hendrix-esque feedback and precise timing to present some heartfelt improvisation. They brought the sound down to a simmer and Frusciante gently dropped his guitar to the floor as the two walked off stage together.
The music of Young and the Red Hot Chili Peppers demonstrated passion, devotion to their sick friend, Gloria Scott, and fervor for their creative music and fans. In a time when corporate rock and superficial boy bands reign supreme, “A Night For Gloria Scott” was just a night for some good authentic rock “n’ roll.
Here is a brief summary of my experience at the March 1 benefit in LA. This was the best I have seen and heard of the Peppers! I jumped at the chance to see them in such a small venue as the Hollywood Palladium must have had about 3000 people that night.
They played all but the last two songs and then the stage and the lights went on. Thelonius and Neil didn't do encores so people started to leave, and then all of a sudden the lights went off again and out they came for the Soul to Squeeze and a punk cover! It was an incredible treat!