By Adam Duke and Ryan Gelder
On Feb. 10 2017, the Anthony Kiedis-fronted Red Hot Chili Peppers returned to the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York for the first time in over 10 years.
The band, which formed in the mid-80s, embarked on the headlining portion of The Getaway World Tour on Jan. 5. The openers for the tour are former RHCP drummer Jack Irons and Louisiana jazz artists Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.
Irons kicked off the show by soloing on drums over techno music. It was an unconventional performance, as he had only a few songs lasting five to 10 minutes apiece. He was much less entertaining than the other acts, however he likely appealed to any drummers in the audience as his approach was unique to that demographic.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue brought an energy through its combination of brass instruments, woodwinds, and an electric guitar that contributed to the funk-rock atmosphere. The addition of the guitar was crucial to the performance’s success, as it got the crowd engaged and readied for RHCP.
About two hours into the show, the Chili Peppers took the stage with bassist Flea, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, and drummer Chad Smith hammering out the band’s instrumental “Intro Jam.”
The true presence of the band was felt when Kiedis took the stage. The loudest fan reaction of the night came immediately, as Klinghoffer began strumming the famed riff of By the Way single “Can’t Stop.”
Though “Can’t Stop” got the biggest pop of the night, other classics such as “Dani California,” “Under the Bridge,” and “Californication” also got positive crowd reactions. For the final song before coming back out for the encore, RHCP played “By the Way,” with which the entire building, including at least one security guard, sang along in harmony.
Despite a leg injury that has restricted Kiedis’ foot to a boot, the lead singer was still able to move about the stage as he did in his prime. At 54 years old, Flea was also skipping around with the agility of his younger self.
Aside from the boot, Kiedis was clad in a white shirt with what was presumably one of his son Everly’s drawings on it, as well as a set of leggings covered in internet-inspired cartoons, which he wore under a pair of black shorts.
Throughout the night, the band got the crowd involved several times, including a moment when Kiedis joked how featured pianist Nate Walcott once ate 876 Buffalo Wings, setting the world record. Following the next few songs, Flea did a Buffalo-inspired version of “What is Soul?” and proceeded to sing a short song about the city as well. The Chili Peppers playfully engaged one another throughout the show also, with Kiedis throwing his hat at Smith at one point and Smith retaliating by climbing up on his drums to grab Kiedis during a break in the music.
Though the crowd had a more apparent response to the songs they were more familiar with than they did with newer, less recognizable ones, RHCP did a good job of mixing their classics with songs from their recent album, playing five of the 13 songs from the 2016 album The Getaway, in addition to 12 songs from older albums.
The encore consisted of two songs: “Goodbye Angels” from The Getaway and, what is arguably the most well-known Red Hot Chili Peppers song, “Give It Away,” which they performed at halftime of Super Bowl XLVIII.
After Kiedis finished the lyrical portion of “Give It Away,” Flea, Klinghoffer, and Smith continued playing for a few extra measures. When they concluded, Kiedis and Klinghoffer left the stage, but Flea stuck around and gave a brief speech.
“Put love in the world. That’s all we’ve got, is love,” he said. “We love you. Thank you, goodnight.”
Smith then threw his remaining drumsticks out to the mass of people at KeyBank Center and echoed his bandmate’s sentiment of creating love in the world before dropping the mic.