Is there a modern band more synonymous with the state of California than the Red Hot Chili Peppers?
Now a few months into their massive Unlimited Love stadium tour of Europe and North America, the funk rock legends pulled into Toronto’s iconic Rogers Centre (ie. SkyDome) with a stacked lineup.
Openers The Strokes, veterans of the aughts indie-rock explosion, stuffed and hedged their set with classics, simultaneously boasting a more-than-sizeable legion of fans themselves. Tossing up signature tunes such as ‘Last Nite, ‘Reptilia and ‘Under Control, lead singer Julian Casablancas caroused with mic in hand while fellow bandmates plowed through the night’s 12-song set list with workmanlike precision.
From that moment on, the crowd never sat back down. There was no reason to. Galvanized by the return of guitarist (and creative force) John Frusciante, the Red Hot Chili Peppers sounded relaxed and polished given their 40-year history.
Perpetually shirtless (or just nearly), lead singer Anthony Kiedis, alongside bassist, wild man and childhood friend, Flea, churned out some of their most recognizable hits and choice album tracks.
Naturally, ‘Otherside, Give It Away, Can’t Stop, Californication, and Dani California were all given their due – anthemic in their renditions, propelled by dutiful drummer (and Will Ferrell doppelgänger) Chad Smith.
Still, as mature as they seemed, the Los Angeles foursome still swivelled, shredded and shocked amid a swirling psychedelic backdrop as if they weren’t all approaching 60 years of age.
Incredibly after all this time, selling millions of albums while overcoming addictions and the deaths of past members, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still a band of the people.
Given the booming voices at the Rogers Centre who sang along to Under The Bridge during the encore, 40,000 fans can’t be wrong.