Red Hot Chili Peppers Invade South Philly

   

      The soil has been very fertile for the Red Hot Chili Peppers since the release of its 1989 breakthrough album, ‘Mother’s Milk.’

     That offering and the six discs, which have followed have been solid, consistent albums, that include hit after hit. The Chili Peppers, which played a soldout Wells Fargo Center Friday night, reaped the rewards from 23 strong years as recording artists.

     The band touched on each album going back to ‘Mother’s Milk.’ The group played five songs from its latest album ‘I’m With You’ and that wasn’t enough.

     It’s an unusual criticism since most bands nearly three decades in the business don’t have as much in the creative well as it did during its salad days.

    But that’s not so with the Chili Peppers, who have struck sonic gold again with ‘I’m With You,’ which is its best work since 1999’s ‘Californication.’

   Where was ‘Brendan’s Death Song,’ which is one of the prettiest and most meaningful songs the band has crafted in 20 years?

     Well, RHCP couldn’t play all the new tunes since the packed house wants the hits and the band complied while showcasing a healthy portion of its impressive new release.

      The performance was stellar despite the loss of guitarist John Frusciante, who has left the band for a second time. For any who felt that Frusciante was the driving creative force over recent years, think again. ‘I’m With You,’ is an eclectic, quirky, unpredictable, stylish album with plenty of hooks.

     New guitarist Josh Klinghoffer handled the subtle notes that propel ‘Under the Bridge,’ nailed the explosive solo that closes ‘Dani California’ and delivered the funky lines during ‘Give It Away.’  Klinghoffer is also a better backing vocalist than Frusciante.

     It’s remarkable how little vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea have changed since I first experienced RHCP on the Temple University campus 24-years ago.

     Kiedis, who maintains his strong tenor with an ability to lay down a deft rap, and the loopy, expressive bass virtuoso Flea appear to be cheating Father Time as both approach 50.

      The eccentric Kiedis and Flea, who still perform bare-chested, each wore slacks with one leg of the trousers shorn at the knee. That exposed tube socks sported in a freaky styley manner. The socks stayed on their feet throughout the show.

     Drummer Chad Smith, 50, who has been the RHCP anchor for two decades, was joined by percussionist Mauro Refosco, who added a dimension to the act’s rhythmic attack.

      Who knew what the Chili Peppers had in the tank six years after their last album dropped? The band is still more than capable in the studio and it delivered a live clinic performing with energy and passion throughout the 100-minute concert.

 

 

 

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