[A very honest review of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performance in Toronto Saturday night by contributor Elisa F. G. – AC]
No one could believe it. Well, no one sitting in the 300‘s at least, I couldn’t very well survey the entire Air Canada Centre, so I will speak for myself and my nosebleed section when I say, last nights Red Hot Chili Peppers concert… lacked Red Hotness.
Trigger warning Chili fans, this ain’t no rave review.
The night began at an exceptionally packed Jack Astor’s on Front Street. Nearly everyone in the joint was proudly sporting the red eight-pronged asterisk, the iconic emblem that front man Anthony Kiedis drew up, when asked by their label to create a logo for promotional purposes.
A bar filled to its brim, swarming with strangers sharing the same game plan: Kill time, pre-drink, swap Pepper stories, get psyched. My concert was my childhood friend of twenty some odd years, we had been listening to the band together long before we were ever taught to choose not a life of imitation, but a little bit after we didn’t ever wanna feel like we did that day. All in all, last night was a pretty big deal, for we would be Chili virgins no more.
By the time we arrived at the ACC, the vibe was palpable, it was going to be a good night. A blur of black, red and white t-shirts sung tunes, and scoped seating, while we made our way to the bartender who would sell us the beer we’d cheers with, the moment the band took the stage. We had it all planned. The bartender was just as excited as we were. She gushed about how working there gave her the opportunity to hear free concerts. One would argue that it’s not the same as having a seat, but she was living proof that her job was a sweet deal. When you adore the music, seat or no seat, it’s all the same to a fan.
“Forty-five dollars for a t-shirt?” was the only complaint swirling around at that point. The tour t’s price tag didn’t detract though, cause the line up to nab one was never ending and people happily forked over the dough to show their affinity with the band.
Once we found our seats my gaze began alternating from the clock to the stage.
“What the hell is taking them so long? They don’t even wear clothes half the time! What could they possibly be doing?” We were getting impatient. The Chilis were tardy and we were rowdy, a combo that wasn’t doing anybody a lick of good.
At 9:15pm you could have had earplugs in and covered your eyes, and you’d still know The Red Hot Chili Peppers came on stage. You could feel them, their energy, their awesomeness, their blood, sugar, sex, magik—whatever you want to call it—it had arrived and we were stoked. My friend and I clanged beer cans, took sips, exchanged “Holy shit! I can’t believe this is finally happening” facial expressions. And then let Anthony Kiedis sing us into the night.
They opened with an instrumental jam that had everybody on their feet and hands in the air, which was convenient cause that jam soon bled into “Around the World,” and where else would you want to be during that song but on your feet, dancing up a storm.
Kiedis pumped his voice into his mic like a machine, while Flea bounced around on stage with dance moves I’m still trying to nail after all these years and hand stands that I should probably just give up on. The band was amazing—they always have been and they still are. Funky, fascinating and so damn exciting, but there was an aura of disconnect, as if they were just there to play. Feel me?
They told us how long they had been coming to Toronto and how special we were to them, and I couldn’t help but think “You must say that to all the girls…I mean cities.”
Maybe I was expecting a little more interaction with the audience. “Am I being needy or does this performance feel a little cold?” I thought.
Every concert I’d ever been to, I’d been told to get the f*** up! or asked how we were doing, or told how hot our chicks are or there was band story time, where they’d tell tales of Toronto and all the places they partied. But last night, RHCP came, conquered and left the building.
I had waited decades to have a few hours with a band that drove so much power and meaning into my speakers, that wrote lyrics that matched my thoughts and wore outfits that inspired a sense of ease to be weird and different. I thought we had something special, as most virgins do, but sadly we were just another notch on a tour belt. Where was our love? The love that was going to help justify paying over a hundred bucks to sit in the middle of nowhere? The love that would probably get us to pay it again and again?
The concert ended with “Give It Away” followed by a “K thanks bye” kinda exit off the stage. Everyone in our section was looking around puzzled, wondering if that was the end of the show, and if there was an encore, or if “Give It Away” was the encore? No one knew. There was no communication from the band. But before we could come to any sort of conclusion, the Air Canada Centre’s lights turned on and gave us our answer – ya, that’s all folks.
Shocked. Stunned. Pissed. We began making our way to the exits. “What the hell was THAT!?” was the general consensus as we all poured out of the stadium. My eyes continuously locked with other concert-goers, who were also wearing the disappointment on their face. One guy just stood there shaking his head dumbfounded, as his girlfriend patiently waited for him to get over it and take her home.
“Pfft! More like The Red Hot Silly Peppers! Am I right?” I love a good pun, but that statement was more true than funny.
“And how in the f*** do you not play “Under the Bridge!?”” Where were the classics?
We all understood the tour was for their latest album The Getaway, but if fans have followed you all the way up to 2016, wouldn’t you hit us with a set list that reminds us how far we’ve come together? And stick around on stage longer than an hour and a half to do so?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the band unconditionally like a parent loves their kid but even a good parent, with nothing but love, knows when their kid is slacking in school and knows when to call ‘em out on it. Why can’t you be more like your younger brother Dave Grohl? Who can tear the roof off the Molson Amphitheater for three plus hours, pay the fine for going over his set time, all whilst sitting in a chair with a broken leg.
Great. Now I sound like a terrible mom.
Here’s the setlist courtesy of Setlist.fm
- Intro Jam
- Around the World
- Snow ((Hey Oh))
- Dark Necessities
- The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggi
- Right on Tim
- Go Robot
- Emit Remmu
- Sick Love
- I Like Dirtyb(Tour debut)
- Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover)
- The Getaway
- Soul to Squeeze
- By the Way (Preceded by a tease of “YYZ”… more a0