(Ed. Note – I was writing this post when news showed up that Eddie Van Halen passed away. RIP, EVH. I need to write some thoughts about you and Neil Peart very soon)
Full disclosure: The bribe happened way back a few seconds ago.
To put some of this in perspective, two separate events merged to make this unfortunate event happen.
First Event – Luke Was Disappointed When I Did Not Eat At Raising Cane’s When It Opened
The first event was that a Raising Cane’s fast-food restaurant opened in Santee. This was apparently the first one in San Diego, and apparently was the first in the chain to have two drive-thru lanes1. Friend and Co-worker Luke was super excited and perhaps a bit crestfallen when I reported I had not eaten there.
The reasons were that it was in an incredibly inconvenient location only accessible from Northbound Cuyamaca Blvd which required a u-turn around the Trolley tracks. The second was that all they sold were chicken strips. And Luke was already a Chick-Fil-A fanboy, so I assumed his native Georgian instincts were getting too carried away again.
Second Event – Making Fun Of Red Hot Chili Peppers
The second event happened in my Happy Birthday Kid A blog post the other day. In it, I threw a little snark at RHCP fans (a fun hobby). So naturally, I sent out the link to a couple fans to see if they would pick up on it.
Luke did! I believe he took biggest issue with my assertion that RHCP fans just wanted simplistic ear candy. I have to admit – that felt good. Now, Luke is a pretty good guitar player himself, so he wasn’t about to take this lying down.
Luke then laid down a challenge. He would Venmo me money for a Raising Cane’s Box Combo, and I would have to watch a 2 hour concert of RHCP from 20032. While 2 hours of Red Hot Chili Peppers is entirely too much for me to handle, I also really like fast food. A deal was made.
Raising Cane’s Review
The person at the window said, “Chicken, Chicken, Chicken, what combo you pickin’?” I was a little startled by this. I picked the Box Combo, because I only had money for the Box Combo. As an added bonus, they did let me substitute the crappy cole slaw for another piece of Texas Toast. This was a win.
The chicken was fine. Considering it was the only main course I could select, I suppose that is a good thing. The Texas Toast was decent, although I much prefer Sizzler’s Cheese Toast. The fries were a huge disappointment and I would put them pretty low on my French Fries ranking. The soda was way too small. As a proud, obese, American, I demand more than 22oz.
Would I go again? Sure. But my community also has a Del Taco, and it would take a lot for me to choose anything but Del Taco.
2 Hours Of Red Hot Chili Peppers
This is the payoff Luke was looking for. My quest was to watch the entire concert, take notes, and blog my actual, honest, thoughts. What Luke was going for was to get me to admit enjoying the concert, and perhaps have a better appreciation for John Frusciante. He has probably quit and re-joined RHCP as you read this blog post.
Here are my honest thoughts. This looks TLDR but stay for the sarcasm!
- Yes, I know I rounded up 1 hour 41 minutes to 2 hours. Deal with it.
- 0:03 – That is a random tree branch.
- 1:23 – John needs to close this mouth.
- 1:40 – Who is holding that random chick up in the crowd? She’s made as many appearances as Flea in the first two minutes!
- 1:56 – Nice opening guitar solo by John. Why doesn’t he ever do this on a record?
- 1:58 – Oh look, there’s Anthony Kiedis, late as usual. Oh well, Instrumental RHCP was nice while it lasted. I hope he doesn’t fall off a stage this time.
- 2:03 – He launches straight into By The Way. Yawn. I want that guitar solo back.
- 2:15 – Lots white people with no shirts on singing. I guess this is Ireland, which is also famous for beer, choosing to die than eating fish, and enabling corporate tax-dodging.
- 2:23 – I guarantee these people don’t actually know the lyrics but are just mouthing words to look like they do.
- 2:28 – What’s up with those weird open finger gloves that Anthony has? Kinda weird?
- 2:43 – There are 3 types of concerts. One is a polite concert where you stay seated and listen carefully. Another is a crazy concert with a mosh pit so violent that you stay away or get your ass kicked. The third is a concert when a bunch of dorks are just jumping straight up and down. RHCP fans in concert – are the third.
- 2:58 – Epilepsy alert! Too many jumpcuts!
- 3:10 – So…another thing, what’s up with Anthony’s capri pants? Bright red and above the ankle? When was this a style? Was it ever a style? Who told him this was a good look?
- 3:26 – Some of these vocal sound effects are better in studio. Frusciante’s backing vocals are, dare I say….not bad actually?
- 4:20 – John is already sweating! He needs to do some cardio!
- 5:00 – Just a general comment. Most of these cuts are 2 seconds, tops. It is really annoying! It’s a live concert, let us just watch the 4 guys play! Too many cuts of Irish people jumping. We get it, they are excited and energetic. I think back to some live concert video I have enjoyed and realized that it was less a video production and more just letting the musicianship stand for itself. We will see how the next 75 minutes go.
- 5:56 – More of this. Let John play. How about doing this on an album?
- 6:10 – Oh I see how it is! The crowd stops jumping during the interludes. How rude, RHCP fans!
- 6:25 – Oh yes, Scar Tissue. Also known as Under The Bridge Part 12.
- 6:59 – What’s up with the Flea head bobs? This is basically a power ballad, dude.
- 7:32 – Again, this is a power ballad. Flea and Anthony jumping through John’s guitar solo because they’re bored I guess?
- 8:31 – This is the part where I will concede that Frusciante is a better guitarist than I give him credit for. His ability to hit some pleasing chords reminds me of what David Gilmour used to do. Now, pump the brakes RHCP fans, he isn’t the best guitarist of all time.
- 10:24 – Flea bass solo. Yawn. I guess everybody else needed a water break. This isn’t quite Cliff Burton’s Anesthesia.
- 10:46 – Anthony and John conversing to figure out when Flea is going to be done or something.
- 11:12 – Oh I see what he did there. Around The World (also known as, Give It Away Part 11). Plagiarism can be a problem in music. Red Hot Chili Peppers plagiarize themselves! It really is amazing how much you can avoid this stuff by not listening to the radio!
- 13:47 – He really did the racist Chinese lyrics! I wanted to skip the 3rd verse but wanted to see if he was going to do it. This has not aged well, Anthony!
- 14:25 – These guys really like to hop straight up and down. I guess if you do it at an angle, you just might fall off stage!
- 14:38 – Anthony, I don’t know what that dance is.
- 15:25 – Those aren’t great high notes, John.
- 16:11 – Crowd waves totally out of sync! This Frusciante song is basically just a break for the band? They’ve only been playing for 15 minutes, heck, Anthony was 2 minutes late! I wish I could take breaks this often at work!
- 17:03 – More hopping up and down. I am surprised this didn’t become trendier.
- 17:52 – I find Chad Smith to be an……okay….drummer. I wonder if Jack Irons ever regretted quitting the band and joining Pearl Jam right when they decided to become a garage band. Chad Smith didn’t have to do much to earn all that easy sell-out Californication money.
- 21:25 – I have no idea what Flea just said.
- 21:31 – I guess he was talking about the weather. Hmmm.
- 22:45 – Anthony wears New Balance shoes apparently. Maybe those help him hop up and down without falling off the stage?
- 24:18 – Parallel Universe is probably one of their better generic songs. I want to like the chorus, except he sings, “California King,” which is just one hop from Californication. The lengths this band will go to plagiarize themselves is endless.
- 25:29 – Anthony totally cheated and used the mic stand to make himself look like he had Michael Jordan-level hops. I call shenanigans. What if the stand broke and he fell off stage? Anthony should fall off stage at every concert. That should be a thing.
- 27:25 – Irish crowd chanting like they’re at a rugby match. It’s a welcome respite from hearing the same song for 25 minutes.
- 31:45 – Now Flea is saying its beautiful outside. I thought was whining about the weather 10 minutes ago. He just told the crowd to “breathe it in deep,” which means he wants everybody to get contact highs.
- 32:05 – Okay NOW we are at the point where Anthony hops up and down with no shirt on. Still wearing the weird gloves.
- 32:48 – Throw Away Your Television never gets played on the radio. Crowd isn’t singing the song. Coincidence? I am totally not commenting on the sophistication of RHCP fans….not doing that at all.
- 36:23 – I guess that’s the Castle. Called Slane Castle. Hmm. My favorite castle was Castle Anthrax.
- 37:45 – A Ramones cover. Anthony mentions Guinness to an Irish audience and it’s probably the only thing he knows about the island.
- 40:30 – He asked if anybody was from Dublin (duh). Now he shocked me and asked if anybody was from Cork. Somebody gave him that town name off-stage. I bet he faux-paux’s and mentions Belfast.
- 41:20 – He didn’t ask about Belfast! Somebody told him to not bring that up!
- 41:38 – Otherside, another generic self-plagiarism of their past selves, was always played way too much on the radio. Oh, here is the crowd again singing! Can’t believe it!
- 45:44 – Frusciante is taking his guitar off and walking off stage. Is he quitting the band AGAIN?
- 45:58 – Nope, he’s back. And he is playing another Give It Away ripoff. Shocking.
- 50:11 – Flea doing something Irish. Crowd liked it I guess. Better than the contact high he was telling them to do last time.
- 50:45 – Some Irish people brought an Irish flag to a concert being held in Ireland.
- 51:09 – Flea apparently has an Irish great grandmother. Really strange to hear an American has a distant relative from a country that had 4.5 million people migrate to the United States! Super rare!
- 52:12 – This is legit good work from John. Actually, some of his best technical work is on this song and Luke will get a small admission from me here. Okay, let’s go back to snark…
- 54:15 – Who thought to bring all these candles? 20 years earlier it would have been zippo lighters. Fast forward to today and it would be a Zippo lighter smartphone app.
- 57:02 – Why does this opening sound like a London Calling rip-off?
- 58:24 – More video editing magic to make Anthony appear to have a 50″ vertical. I’d like to see him try this when he is 70 and he tears both ACLs….while also falling off stage.
- 1:00:03 – Oh, “Can’t Stop” another cover of Give It Away. Red Hot Chili Peppers sure know how to change things up3. I also know from the track listing on YouTube that Give It Away is on the way. I have made some bad life decisions in the name of free fast food.
- 1:04:33 – Luke only wanted me to admit I liked the opening. This was the part without Anthony Kiedis. Of course I liked that part, but I am now 1 hour past then. And I have 40 minutes to go.
- 1:08:36 – Holy crap, is that an acoustic guitar? One Hot Minute is back! Oh wait, Frusciante claims he has never listened to that album (which is better than the others, not coincidentally with Dave Navarro on guitar!). Yes, Red Hot Chili Peppers refuse to play songs from the album with the most unique work they have ever done. Real shock.
- 1:12:18 – Give It Away has arrived. I wish they would Throw It Away. Is it blog-legal to fast forward through this song? My God this song sucks and it sucked in 1991.
- 1:16:40 – Hopping in place yet again! Even their dance moves mail it in.
- 1:17:45 – This is the part where Anthony pretends the concert over. They’re not the only ones guilty of this. Bands do this all the time! Stop pretending you don’t already have a 3 song encore planned. We already know4.
- 1:19:22 – Oh look! Chad Smith has appeared. I never get why the crowd gets excited when they knew the whole time the encore was coming!
- 1:20:20 – I actually prefer the Irish crowd chanting over Anthony finding another synonym for Californication.
- 1:20:56 – Flea can play the trumpet. He once did the National Anthem with a trumpet. I was hoping to be spared more of him with the trumpet.
- 1:22:50 – John took off his shirt with only 3 songs to go. Also, let this guy jam more and maybe tell Anthony to take a longer break?
- 1:24:14 – Oh God. Californication is here. I guess that was inevitable.
- 1:30:02 – So here is the thing. My 2560 x 1440 screen cut off the description at song 17 on the YouTube listing. So the entire time, I am thinking, “Oh thank God I don’t have to listen to Under The Bridge.” Well, I missed the track listing kept going. This is misery.
- 1:35:17 – More hopping up and down for The Power of Equality. I haven’t heard this song in a long time but I remember 14 year old me letting out a sigh when KROQ would play this in 1991. I guess this was “funk rock” back then. As it turned out, songs like this spawned a huge number of copycats. Of course, the copycats turned out to be….themselves.
- 1:39:15 – Anthony just said he would see them at the coffee shop tomorrow. Liars. This time, they left the stage for good, and I am a free man!
The concert is finished. I am a free man. Luke, I have fulfilled the terms of your dare. Now, you may ask. After this experience, would I ever watch another 2 hours of an artist I like to mock just to get some free food?
Red Hot Chili Peppers is fine. They have the songs. Many sound the same! Frusciante is a decent guitarist but I wouldn’t put him at the top of any lists. I don’t see myself writing 2,000 words about them ever again.
Well, reader, yes I would. Of course I would. In fact, feel free to add me to Venmo and pick my next musical torture blog post. If the food is worth it, I’ll do it.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.