For really huge bands, club dates can either be a kick ass warm-up show for an upcoming tour, or a sloppy way to showcase new songs, mixing in some old classics to prevent fans from being bored.
Fortunately, Red Hot Chili Peppers' homecoming gig last night at The Roxy on Sunset was more of the former. It was an intimate, one-off gig to prepare for their upcoming trip to Europe and to promote their upcoming album, I'm With You, and they played a crisp, career-spanning set that included tunes from almost every incarnation of the nearly 30-year-old band.
"Can't Stop," "Soul To Squeeze," "Californication" and "Give It Away" were crowd pleasers that still sounded great, while new tunes such as "Ethiopia" and the album's first single "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" were greeted with friendly familiarity.
The band has gone through another lineup change, with longtime lead guitarist John Frusciante out and Josh Klinghoffer his replacement. Unfortunately, Klinghoffer was by far and away the weakest link. Fortunately, the rest of the band picked up the slack and led the crowd through a brisk 100 minute set. Though the newly moustached Anthony Kiedis, the purple-haired Flea and Will Ferrell lookalike Chad Smith did their thing, Frusciante's signature guitar was missed.
For a one-off show, RHCP were on their A-plus game. Diehards were singing along to every word and the band appeared to be enjoying themselves on-stage, frequently cracking smiles and interacting with the crowd.
This special performance will be aired on FUSE next Tuesday, to coincide with the band's new album. If this gig is any indication of what's to come on the band's upcoming European tour, then loyalists should be prepared to get their paws on some bootlegs. The band has simply gotten better with age.
Here's t he band's set list, though they did deviate from it.
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More photos below.