Live at Snapdragon Stadium

May 18th, 2023 Review by Fatima Kelley
The Red Hot Chili Peppers Reached a Higher Ground with an Unforgettable Performance. Last week, The Chili Peppers stopped by San Diego’s newest venue, the Snapdragon Stadium, as part of a global 23-date tour in support of their two newest albums: “Return of the Dream Canteen” and “Unlimited Love.”

It was no surprise that both albums reached number one on the Billboard Top 100 chart, serving fans and disbelievers alike further proof of the band’s unique longevity as an active and fierce creative force in the music industry. Four decades in and they are still going strong, showing no intention to slow down the pace.

While many bands at this level of success might be happy to simply look back and reap the benefits of a “fan favorite hits” tour, the Chili Peppers delivered an amazing, and carefully-planned setlist that equally highlighted their past and new material, allowing fans to fully embrace the magnitude of their ever-evolving talent, and lose themselves in an evening that was nothing short of pure magic.
The evening opened with bass virtuoso Thundercat. They took the stage with an electrifying set that included “Great Scott / Innerstellar Love,” “How Sway,” “Dragonball Durag,” “Funny Thing,” and “Them Changes.”

Up next was progressive rock masterminds The Mars Volta, whose Latin-infused musical experimentation was accompanied by the soul-reaching vocals of lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala. The crowd was hooked from beginning to end. The early crowd thoroughly enjoyed “Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of),” “L’Via L’Viaquez,” “Graveyard Love,” “The Widow,” and “Cicatriz ESP.”

When it was time for RHCP, first to hit the stage were bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist John Frusciante.
They started their set with a spectacular introductory jam session that allowed each of them to musically dance with one another, exerting a contagious energy that got the audience pumped and ready for the evening.

To be honest, it was hard not to just stand there watching them in awe. The almost delicate, intricate elegance of Frusciante’s layered riffs perfectly balanced off Flea’s deep, heavily syncopated funky bass lines were both earthed by the heavy drum beats that echoed with the magnitude of thunder.
By the time lead singer Anthony Kiedis joined them onstage, the fans’ energy was palpable as they followed his lead into a “Can’t Stop” sing-along that continued through “Scar Tissue.” Even though he was injured and forced to wear a walking boot, nothing could contain Kiedis’ high energy, which seemed to grow as the evening progressed. He truly is an age-defying force to be reckoned with.

Fans and photographers were not the only ones fighting the urge to stare frozen in admiration; throughout the set, Anthony Kiedis himself sat off to the side speakers onstage, wide eyed and watching the three musicians losing themselves in their music. It was really impossible not to.

The gorgeous psychedelic stage display seemed to amplify their magnitude, making for an incredibly immersive experience.
The performance of “The Zephyr Song” and “Dani California” took fans to higher grounds, accompanied by the amazingly electrifying drum solo that led one song into the other. The beats echoed the perfectly on cue rhythmic stomps of the audience, resembling that of a pounding heartbeat, giving life to the stadium.
Another special moment was John Frusciante performing “Danny’s Song” (a Loggins & Messina cover). It added such a guttural, emotional moment to the evening. Frusciante’s return to the Chili Peppers was an honor and a privilege to see as he is such a key part of their sound.

Their performance “Eddie,” their tribute song to the late Eddie Van Halen, was another very special moment that highlighted a more melodic and emotional side of Kiedis’ vocals and was amplified by Frusciante’s intense and soulful guitar riffs.

The band played through many classics, including “Otherside,” “Soul to Squeeze,” “Californication,” and “By the Way.” It was a flawless evening with a two-hour set that seemed to fly by. They ended on a fiery, energetic note with a powerhouse encore performance of “Give It Away” that left fans loudly begging for more.
After a few more US shows, the band packs up and heads to Europe before returning to our shores for Lollapalooza in August. Make the trip to Chicago to catch the Chili Peppers!


by Fatima Kelley Photography