Red Hot Chili Peppers Show Love for L.A. at Staples Center: Concert Review

Red Hot Chili Peppers Staples Center - P 2012
Chris Godley

Red Hot Chili Peppers Staples Center - P 2012

The band returns to their Los Angeles hometown with a highly energetic performance in the first of two sold-out shows.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' show Saturday night at Staples Center played out like a lovefest to their hometown of Los Angeles -- and the fans couldn't get enough.

"We're very happy to be home," bassist Flea -- whose hair was dyed, appropriately enough, Laker purple -- told the enthusiastic crowd during the first of two sold-out shows at the venue the NBA team calls home.

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The newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band proudly displayed a Lakers flag onstage, and Flea at one point gave a shout-out to new team members Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Later in the 90-minute-plus show, the bassist -- who did most of the talking throughout the night -- became nostalgic, reminiscing about the Chili Peppers' first concert in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago.

"This city is hard sometimes -- it's dirty, it's got problems," he said. "But we travel all over the world, and when we get back here and see all the different flavors of people and the different cultures, my heart f---ing soars with joy. I'm so proud to be an Angeleno."

The hometown crowd, in turn, showed their appreciation: "Under the Bridge" -- a song frontman Anthony Kiedis wrote about L.A. more than 20 years ago -- received some of the loudest cheers of the night, with the audience singing along and overemphasizing the lyrics "the City of Angels."

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The band kicked off the I'm With You tour in April in support of their 10th studio album. It marks their first full-scale tour in five years and their first with guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who replaced John Frusciante in 2009.

Since then, Kiedis has been quoted as saying I'm With You marks a "beginning" for the Chili Peppers, while drummer Chad Smith has called the group "a new band." But at Staples Center on Saturday, the Chili Peppers' set list included pretty faithful renditions of several pre-Klinghoffer hits, including "Around the World," "Snow (Hey Oh)," "Otherside," "Can't Stop," "Californication," "By the Way" and show closer "Give It Away," in addition to such tracks from I'm With You as "Monarch of Roses" and "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie."

While RHCP founding members Kiedis, Flea and Smith are pushing 50 (Klinghoffer is 32), their onstage energy could rival that of a room full of preschoolers. Flea was by far the night's most energetic showman, at one point pulling out some boxing moves and later coming back out onstage for the encore by walking on his hands for a good minute.

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One unexpected moment came courtesy of Flea, when his bass suffered some sort of malfunction during the performance of "Californication." As the crew worked frantically to fix it offstage, the musician rocked out without his instrument, but when the song ended, he seemed to become impatient, sitting down on the side of the stage to monitor their progress; in fact, it was the only time he stopped moving all night.

The group was forced to improvise -- "Let's rock some Pink Floyd," Kiedis said -- for a few minutes until Flea's instrument was returned.

"Hey Flea, what was the matter with your bass?" Kiedis asked him, to which he only shrugged.

Whatever the reason for the malfunction, it didn't put a damper on the show.

"I've had countless hours of ecstasy in this building," Flea said of his experiences watching the Lakers play in the arena over the years. On Saturday night, it was clear that the crowd rocking out to the Chili Peppers felt the same.

Set List:

Monarchy of Roses
Around the World
Snow (Hey Oh)
Look Around
She's Only 18
Can't Stop
Soul to Squeeze
Universally Speaking
Right on Time
Under the Bridge
Goodbye Hooray
By the Way

Suck My Kiss
Give It Away

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