I take full responsibility for the fact that I anticipated Anthony Kiedis to sound like he did 20 years ago. I also take full responsibility for thinking Intuition Ale Works wouldn’t be a complete shit show before the concert. These two things made last night’s Red Hot Chili Peppers concert experience at the Veterans Memorial Arena sub par.
Let’s start from the beginning. I’ve been a fan of RHCP since the mid-1990s when I discovered the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik and even sang “Under the Bridge” with a bunch of my girlfriends at the eighth grade talent show. Clearly, we -- nor the administration -- realized that the song was about heroin. I stayed with the Chili Peppers through One Hot Minute (1995) and Californication (1999), but then went off to college and kind of forgot they existed.
That is until lately.
I heard the band were coming to Jacksonville and have been hearing their new stuff on Flagler College’s WFCF station, so I thought, “Let me go relive my youth!”
Whether it’s a band, boyfriend or pair of skinny jeans, it’s very difficult -- if not impossible -- to relive your youth.
I realized this first at Intuition as it took 30 minutes to get a beer while some golf-shirt wearing Jabroni next to me kept leaning over the bar, shouting to the bartender, “Hey, a little love over here.” Dude, that’s not going to help you get a frosty IPA. After waiting a while for some food, which was insanely tasty, my friends and I headed to the show.
Two of us had media passes and two had VIP tickets left at Will Call by Anthony Kiedis himself. She had waited on him the night before at The Floridian in downtown St. Augustine and he called the restaurant the day of show to see if anyone who worked there wanted to go. What a super solid, famous-rock star move.
I went to my non-VIP seat and anxiously waited for the show to begin. Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer took the stage unleashing tunes like “Around The World,” “Dani California” and “Scar Tissue.” While Kiedis’ vocals aren’t nearly what they used to be ‑ I mean, he’s 54 years old now ‑ these guys have so much energy that it's hard to shit on them. Towards the end of the show, Kiedis addressed the audience by saying, “Without you, I got nothing to do.” And then Flea added, “I’m so fucking grateful. With all of our hearts, thank you.”