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Red Hot Chili Peppers At Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA, Tuesday, August 14th, 2012, Reviewed

A lot of artists can wow an audience in a lot of different ways. Jay-Z can kill a mic and Jeff Beck can melt your face off with a guitar, but no one is doing what the Red Hot Chili Peppers started doing and what they continue to do: Amaze. It is not new news that the Peppers are one of the most influential bands in rock music, but I now have experienced first hand how their sound is still at the forefront of musical progression. No matter who your favorite artist is, they have tried to push the boundaries of music the way RHCP has, but no one is coming close.

 From their first self titled studio album in ‘84 (years before I was born) to I’m With You recorded just last year, The Chili Peppers have floated through many genres with ease. With thirty years of experience they are true veterans of their craft, and their live show showcases everything they have been and what they have become. With the ocean of experience of the core group(Anthony Kiedis and Flea as founders and Chad Smith since ‘88) and the fresh feel of Josh Klinghoffer added on guitar in 2010 RHCP put on a structured act with a clear direction while filtering in jams better than jam bands.

 They played a set with a delicate balance of albums. Not exceeding two songs from any one album, they had the crowd on their feet the entire time. Flea started the show with maybe the most impressive bass solo I have ever seen and then exploded right into "Around The World" The stage blasted off with their dialed lights and the crowd erupted like Pompeii. They played for an hour and a half and we all knew they were gonna come out for an encore. What we didn’t know was that they would continue to play eight more tracks and continue for an additional hour. Up until the last moment every person in the Oracle was simply blown away.

 Anthony Kiedis is a master of showmanship. He is obviously known as one of the great songwriters of his time, but his stage presence is probably his best quality. Running around the stage like he is still in high school, Anthony didn’t at all look like he has aged miinute from Blood Sugar Sex Magic. It’s amazing how thirty years of touring has not at all worn him, but instead is instead is continuing to strengthen him as a performer.

 Flea is a Monster. Not only did he open the show, but he ended the show too. Towards the end of their encore Flea stood up on his hands and walked thirty feet across the stage like a twenty year old gymnast. With another dazling bass solo, Flea launched the band into Suck My Kiss to end the show. It was the best way to end a set I have ever seen to rightfully cap off the best set I have ever seen. With bass like that, it is no wonder these guys were recently inducted to the Hall of Fame. Flea is very vocal on stage, too. He talked about the importance of supporting live music no matter what it is, which hit home for me very easily. You can tell he is a true fan as well as an all time great.

 As for the rest of the band, they were no disappointment. Chad Smith killed the show with his incredible drumming. He has the talent of Dave Grohl with the rock spirit of John Bonham. And if you closed your eyes you could have sworn John Frusciante was up their killing guitar solos. Josh Klinghoffer was truly the right man for the job, not only with his studio work, but is coming to be another one the the long list of inspiring Chili Pepper guitarists.

 There are a ton of incredible acts to go to see. Bands are always changing and it is rare a great artist will play the same set twice. RHCP played a set with every song I wanted to hear. However, they could have played two hours of completely different music and I probably would have been just as impressed. If the Red Hot Chili Peppers are ever in the area, no matter who else is playing that night or how much the ticket price is, GET THERE. You will not be disappointed.

photo credit Eric Brown

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