The Red Hot Chili Peppers cranked up the heat on a chilly San Diego evening at Snapdragon Stadium
Los Angeles funk rockers The Red Hot Chili Peppers brought their unique psychedelic concert experience to the newly opened Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego California on Friday May 12th. The band, which is still in the midst of a massive multiyear world outing, last visited San Diego on this same tour at Petco Park in July of 2022. Luckily the Peppers were ready to come back again soon, and treated another massive San Diego audience to a slightly different set list with plenty of the same classic favorites thrown in. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are still touring behind two impressive albums released back to back, also in 2022, entitled Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen.
The Peppers always seem to embrace their fans in San Diego, but on this night the biggest cheers and the most t-shirts worn seemed to be influenced by the band’s favorite basketball team, the LA Lakers. As proudly announced by Flea onstage, on this same evening the Lakers eliminated the Golden State Warriors from the 2023 NBA Finals. The hottest merch items seen all over the stadium featured the famous star shaped Chili Peppers logo in Purple and Gold, not to mention drummer Chad Smith’s purple outfit, and Flea’s custom LA Lakers bass. Regardless, the San Diego faithful standing on the hallowed grounds of the former Jack Murphy Stadium seemed to enjoy the band immensely, with huge crowd sing-alongs for hits like “Californication,” “By The Way” “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” and closing song “Give it Away.” One small disappointment in the evening was the absence of one of the band’s most well-known songs “Under the Bridge.” The rock radio staple was on the band’s printed setlist for the show but was for some reason scrapped, the song unfortunately not having been played at either of the band’s recent San Diego shows.
Singer Anthony Kiedis sang intensely on a wide mix of older and newer material from throughout the band’s career, however he seemed unusually subdued. The famously chiseled singer must have been cold on this chilly San Diego evening, opting for a fishnet top instead of his normal shirtless appearance. Famed bassist Flea was clearly happy about his Laker’s win, but possibly also a bit more calm than normal after having physically missed the game. However, his gut punching slap bass sound was on point, both propelling the band forward and providing an unmatched low end power. Drummer Chad Smith was as always a bombastic powerhouse on the drums, pounding out aggression throughout the evening on his huge custom drum kit at the back of an expansive LED lined stage. His drum solo was truly impressive. And lastly the true highlight of this concert was getting to hear John Frusciante play live. The guitarist who has famously left and rejoined the band several times, is such an integral part of their live sound. His searing guitar tone and beautiful vocal harmonies really pushed the band to another level and his jamming interactions with Flea were phenomenal. Overall you can just tell this band is actually playing everything live and really going for it, improvising intros, jamming together, and providing a unique concert experience every time they perform.
The visuals and sound from the band’s massive stage setup were clearly visible all over the impressively designed Snapdragon Stadium. The construction of this innovative new venue is far more comfortable, clean, and luxurious than anything formerly in its place. Seeing concerts here is really a fun experience and the stadium with its high sloping stands and open sight lines manages somehow to feel intimate while still accommodating 35,000 fans. The food and beverage options at the new stadium were plentiful, along with quick moving merchandise stands inside and outside the stadium, the staff were also super helpful and fantastic to work with.
Overall, this show was a blast and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were on fire as always, here’s looking forward to many more concert memories at this new San Diego landmark.