Chili Peppers still red hot at the Garden

A review of Red Hot Chili Peppers at the TD Garden on May 7, 2012

, Managing Editor

Their bass player’s hairline is receding, gray hairs are filling out their drummer’s beard, their frontman just came off foot surgery after years of injuries, and all three are pushing 50 years old. Sure, the Red Hot Chili Peppers may sound like a band ready to fade into the twilight of their career, but they certainly don’t act like it. At their sold out show at the TD Garden, with the help of new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, the core trio of Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, and Flea defied the date listed on their birth certificates and proved age is just a number.

At this point in their Hall of Fame career, fans know what to expect from the likes of Kiedis, Smith and Flea. The two originals, Kiedis and Flea, continue to treat the stage like their own personal amusement park, and Smith was as playful as ever, tossing drumsticks to jubilant fans and hanging from the light fixture above his drumkit. However, when longtime guitarist John Frusciante departed (for the second time) it left fans with anxiety. Klinghoffer was able to prove he could fill those big shoes on the band’s latest album, I’m With You, and in this, their first tour without Frusciante since the 90s, Klinghoffer showed that he can fit right in with the Peppers’ famously exuberant live show. What Josh Klinghoffer lacks in personality in the band’s many press engagements, he more than makes up for with energy when playing live. Passionately soloing, playing from his knees, and rocking around with Flea and Anthony, the guitarist certainly comes out of his shell when he hits the stage.

This most recent incarnation of the Chili Peppers put out I’m With You, the band’s tenth album, last August and have been on the road in the US since the end of March. The band went light on new material at their show on Monday, with only the singles, “Monarchy of Roses”, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”, and “Look Around” finding their way into a Greatest Hits-heavy setlist.

Jamming has always been the foundation of the Chili Peppers. Not only do they build their songs out of jam sessions, but they often bring the improvisation to their audiences as they did at the Garden, teasing their way into “Can’t Stop” with bass and guitar runs, and both kicking off and closing out the encore with unrehearsed greatness.

Leading up to their induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame last month, Anthony Kiedis mentioned how strange it was to look back when they really felt like they were only “halfway there”. For a band that’s been playing for nearly 30 years that statement may seem ludicrous, but with the way the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still churning, they certainly seem to have plenty left in the tank.

Monarchy of Roses
Around the World
Scar Tissue
Dani California
Look Around
Breaking The Girl
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Can’t Stop
Don’t Forget Me
Under the Bridge
Me & My Friends
Suck My Kiss
By the Way
Chad, Josh, and Mauro Jam
Sir Psycho Sexy
They’re Red Hot
Soul to Squeeze
Give It Away
Final Jam

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