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Red Hot Chili Peppers Make It Look Easy at US Tour Kickoff in Denver: Review

The fathers of funk rock are back on the road with guitarist John Frusciante

Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform At Marlay Park
Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo by Debbie Hickey/Getty Images
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    Not many high school bands last 39 years. Even fewer make the transition from punk underground to venerated rock establishment, while continuing to jump around like teenagers with functional and highly lubricated knee joints just a few months shy of 60 years old.

    But Red Hot Chili Peppers are still doing it, and they’re making it look easy. They are the Rolling Stones of Generation X. And they are very much here to stay.

    Gather ‘round, children; way back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, there was a burgeoning new genre of popular music called “Alternative.” Red Hot Chili Peppers, which formed in 1983 in Los Angeles with Anthony Kiedis on vocals, Flea (Michael Bazary) on bass, Hillel Slovak on guitar, and Jack Irons on drums, was one of the first American bands to really dominate the genre, paving the way for the Seattle Grunge explosion in 1991. (When Slovak died of a drug overdose in 1988, John Frusciante joined the band, and, shortly after, Irons left and was replaced by Will Ferrell doppelganger Chad Smith.) Frusciante’s subsequent departure(s) and return(s) over the years have been well documented.

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    Fast-forward to July 2022, when the Chilis (including Frusciante) are back on the road to celebrate their recent album, Unlimited Love. The band’s North American stadium tour (get tickets here) officially kicked off at the Empower Field At Mile High in Denver on Saturday night (July 23rd), and the evening also brought yet another album announcement; the Chilis’ 13th studio album, Return of the Dream Canteen, is slated for October 14th, as the excited crowd learned last night.

    After opening sets by funk/electronica artist Thundercat and rock trio HAIM, a threatening blanket of clouds overhead burst into rain, drenching the 70,000-capacity open-air arena. The crowd was mostly comprised of Generation X fans in vintage RHCP merch, many with teenage children in tow. Elder Millennials were also in attendance, with their slightly fresher merch. It was a silent battle between Gen X, who were there to hear the hits from albums such as 1989’s Mother’s Milk and 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and Millennials, who were likely showing up for 2002’s By the Way and the smash 2006 release Stadium Arcadium.

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