On Sunday, Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined New Orleans Jazz Fest in place of Foo Fighters, who dropped off the lineup in light of drummer Taylor Hawkins’ tragic passing.
At the end of the set, Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith gave a brief speech honoring his close friend. “We just found out about this two weeks ago, because Foo Fighters were supposed to play here tonight,” Smith said. “We love Foo Fighters, and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins. This means a lot to us to be able to play for them.”
Smith acknowledged that Hawkins’ family, including his wife Allison, as well as members of Foo Fighters were in attendance. He then closed his remarks by encouraging the crowd to cheer in unison, “We love you, Taylor!”
In a pre-show interview, Smith said Chili Peppers’ Jazz Fest performance would “be a celebration. That’s what [Allsion] wants. She doesn’t want it to be anything other than, ‘Let’s celebrate music, let’s celebrate our friends, let’s celebrate Taylor. This is what he would want and he would be very happy that you guys are playing and he would want it be nothing but a positive experience.’ So we’re going to do all that and she’s going to be part of that and I’m very honored that we can do that with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.”
Elsewhere during Sunday’s set, Chili Peppers played “The Zephyr Song” with John Frusciante for the first time since 2004, dusted off “If You Have to Ask” for the first time since 2017, and closed a show with “By the Way” for the first time since 2007.
Chili Peppers’ Jazz Fest performance marked the start of the band’s lengthy 2022 tour in support of their comeback album, Unlimited Love. After touring Europe and the UK in June and July, they’ll embark on a North American stadium tour beginning in August. You can get tickets to the band’s upcoming tour dates here.
Also check out our inaugural cover story on Chili Peppers.