by Debbie Seagle
Hot Chili Peppers/Stone Temple Pilots
I have the best job in the world.
While some people are barbecuing, swilling beer and hanging out at home
on Labor Day, I was swilling beer and hanging out with none other than
the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stone
Temple Pilots! The double bill was a powerhouse of hard rock/funk
music and the chillin Southern California crowd was elbow to elbow when
the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stone Temple Pilots arrived to help usher
out the last rays of summer in a Labor Day bash. The uniform for
the party was a mohawk hair cut and a six pack of abdominal muscles.
If you didn’t have a mohawk or the six pack, chances are, you weren’t with
either of the bands. Is it me, or have all of these music types
been eating their Wheaties on the road?
Having never heard of the word “understated,”
Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland burst onto the stage, looking like Jim Carrey’s
alter ego in the movie “The Mask” and belting out “Crackerman” like he
was possessed. Chapeau’d and sporting a pink feather boa around
his neck, he jumped, spun, crouched and swayed back and forth on a platform
at the front of the stage, alternating his platform swaying with exaggerated
Tai Chi moves and searing stares. One after another, they peeled
off the tracks that had everyone grooving and rocking the amphitheatre
to its footings. “Vasoline,” “Sin or P.O.P,” “Big Empty” and “Sex
Type Thing” had hips rotating and people pogo-ing as if the last day of
summer couldn’t possibly end unless the music did.
As the crowd became more excited by Weiland’s
colorful antics, the songs that were performed
off their latest album “#4,” took on a breath of life from the studio versions.
Tracks like “Sour Girl” and “Down” were made three dimensional by Weiland
and the band as the audience drew from their energy and gave it all back
with their reactions. As this became more apparent, Weiland ventured
into the audience briefly to soak up some of the love. He threaded
through the crowd with precision and fed off of their vibe.
more than a warm up from STP, the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage
with enough energy to light the city of New York. If Flea’s pants
weren’t inside out, I’d take his temperature. He and his band mates
all went to the same barber, apparently, and all would up with mohawks
to match their funky style (except for Chad Smith, who never takes off
his ball cap. Who knows what’s underneath
it?) Front man Anthony Kiedis, sported more formal attire, dripping
with rhinestone gauntlets, a tuxedo shirt and black pants that were shin
length, making him look like a bizarre version of “Buckwheat” from the
old Our Gang comedy series. The Chili Pepper’s set was a mind blowing
spectacle with five video screens that showcased their movements in delayed
time and splashed color against them as the funk ran rampant and the fans
dove into the pool for this last summer frolic
of the season. Flea stalked the stage and lunged back and forth in
his characteristic trance, while executing the signature slap bass style
he is famous for. Together, he and Chad Smith were as unstoppable
as a freight train that sped straight down the middle of the venue.
John Frusciante scores my vote for best Chili Peppers guitarist.
That is no slight to Dave Navarro, who is a kick-ass shredder in his own
right, but the chemistry with John is unmistakable and undeniable.