TVD Live Shots: Red Hot Chili Peppers with HAIM and Thundercat at Petco Field, 7/27

I was so excited when I found out that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were going to be performing in San Diego at Petco Field. I have been a fan of their music for decades, and it was an amazing experience to see them perform live again after a number of unforeseen “Covid cancellations” the past few years. The sold-out show was absolutely incredible, and I would highly recommend grabbing tickets to this one if they come to your hometown. The energy RHCP released on stage was contagious, and they had the entire stadium dancing and singing along all night long. If you are a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers—or rock and roll for that matter—you need to go see this band live.

I’ve honestly been a huge RHCP fan my whole life. As a teen growing up in Southern California, they were my hometown heroes from day one and pioneered a whole new genre of music encompassing funk, rap, and alternative into a unique sound that has been their signature ever since. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have often been imitated, but no one has been able to duplicate their unmistakable sonics or swagger. That in a nutshell is a testament to the incredible musicianship of Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, and John Frusciante.

Opening Wednesday’s show at Petco Field in San Diego were two Los Angeles based bands, HAIM and Thundercat. Both bands were uniquely different and provided those who arrived early an amazing opportunity to rock out as the stadium began to fill up. Thundercat took the stage first and electrified fans with his funky baselines and smooth as butter grooves. HAIM was up next and brought Thundercat’s surge of energy to a whole new level. Sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana ripped off a powerful 9-song set that captured the mind and invigorated the soul of the San Diego faithful. All in all, both openers performed brilliantly and set the stage for what was about to come.

As 9PM approached and the sun was finally taking its rightful place in the heavens, fans of all ages erupted as lights finally dimmed. After a hot minute, pre-show R&B and funk tracks abruptly came to an end, signaling the arrival of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on stage. I was told there were 35-40 thousand people on hand for this one, and by the looks of the stadium and roar of the crowd at that moment, I am sure it was the latter. RHCP opened up with an “Intro Jam” that included Flea, Chad Smith, and John Frusciante and it set the stage for an incredible 19-song set that put huge smiles on even the pickiest of fans.

Over the next two-hours the band captured the sold-out San Diego crowd and held it tightly throughout the performance. Classics like “Dani California,” “Snow (Hey Oh),” and “Suck My Kiss” were as clean as I’d ever heard them while “Otherside,” “Californication,” and “Give it Away” fired up the mosh pits front and center. The band’s energy was as high as I’ve ever seen it—and Flea took it to a whole other level for 2 straight hours. Wednesday’s encore consisted of “I Could Have Lied” and “By the Way” and was the perfect set of songs to end what many considered to be the RHCP’s finest live performance in years.


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