Red Hot Chili Peppers Jam Out at The Apollo Theater for SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series: Recap, Photos and Setlist

·6 min read

The post Red Hot Chili Peppers Jam Out at The Apollo Theater for SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series: Recap, Photos and Setlist appeared first on Consequence.

After a wild summer of playing sold out stadiums in the US and beyond, Red Hot Chili Peppers returned to New York City to play one of the smallest-capacity shows of their tour on Tuesday night (September 13th). Although The Apollo Theater doesn’t have the size of, say, New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, it certainly has the history. “I’m standing where Duke Ellington stood,” said Flea early on in the show, making sure the band paid their respects to one of the most legendary performance venues in the country.

Luckily, Red Hot Chili Peppers definitely know how to bring their best to a legendary location like The Apollo. It wasn’t just the venue that made this performance special; the show was set to be recorded and broadcast on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ exclusive SiriusXM channel, Whole Lotta Red, as a part of SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series, and will continue to be rebroadcast throughout the month.

@consequence

It’s not every day you get to see such a world class band on such a small, historic stage ❤️ @siriusxm @Red Hot Chili Peppers #rhcp #90s #theapollo #nyc

♬ original sound – consequence

Not only were there various celebrities in attendance last night (including Questlove, Michael J. Fox, Colin Jost, and Scarlett Johansson), the band was introduced by none other than Chris Rock. “I know for most of us, this is the first time we’ve been out since the Queen died,” Rock joked before announcing the Chili Peppers as “the greatest band in the motherfuckin’ land.”

The show began with a full-throttle, experimental jam from the trio of bassist Flea, recently returned guitarist John Frusciante, and drummer extraordinaire Chad Smith — who happened to be celebrating his anniversary with his wife, Nancy, last night (Anthony Kiedis, who often spotlighted Smith by howling “Chad Motherfuckin’ Gaylord Smith!!!!” throughout the show, took a moment to wish him and his wife a happy anniversary).

This was not the only time where the band entered an open-ended jam session, which often found Smith rapidly shifting tempos and styles while Flea and Frusciante oscillated between being in sync with each other and engaging in full guitar freakouts. Each song throughout the evening felt so playful and loose that it was only natural they veer off into jams; after they finished Stadium Arcadium cut “Snow ((Hey-Oh)),” which already ends in a bit of a cathartic jam, the band shifted styles yet again and gave the song a more fascinating, energetic climax.

Before playing The Apollo, the band’s previous show took place in Fenway Park — Flea took note of the change in environment early on by claiming it was weird to see “everyone so close.” There was absolutely a more intimate energy to the show than the usual stadium or festival vibe, with Smith and Flea frequently making direct eye contact with members of the crowd and even shouting out some friends and family.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform Live At The Apollo Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series
Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform Live At The Apollo Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series

Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SiriusXM

The set was also slightly shorter than their previous dates, going from their usual hour and 45 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes. So, that meant the band had to make some tough setlist choices for the evening. Perhaps the biggest omission was “Under the Bridge,” usually reserved for their encore slot, but in this case, it was cut for time. In fact, the band only played one song from their seminal 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (“Give It Away”), so if you were looking for an early ’90s nostalgia blast, this wouldn’t be the show for you. (However, they did dust off “Soul to Squeeze,” which originally appeared as a B-Side to “Give It Away” and “Under the Bridge”).

Another setlist highlight came with the band’s performance of Californication classic “Otherside,” which, to this day, is one of their most powerful compositions. They haven’t included the song at every date on their extensive tour, so it was particularly special that it made the cut for the evening at The Apollo. There’s something so urgent and devastating about “Otherside,” a meditation on the difficulties of addiction that features one of Kiedis’ most inspired vocal and lyrical approaches to date. Even more special was Frusciante’s return to the band’s live sound: His soaring, signature vocal harmonies were right on point and sounded exactly as they do on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ records.

But of course, Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t show up just to play some old tunes: Throughout the evening, the band played four songs from their most recent LP, Unlimited Love. Lead single “Black Summer,” which they performed weeks ago at the MTV VMAs, is sure to be a fan-favorite from Unlimited Love, and is exactly the kind of rousing, anthemic number that the Chili Peppers have become known for.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform Live At Th Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series
Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform Live At Th Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series

Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Perhaps the best Unlimited Love cut from the evening, however, was the band’s rendition of “These Are the Ways,” which seemed to bring the most out of each member of the band. The song’s energetic pre-chorus allowed Smith to fill the space with an incredible drum solo, Flea and Frusciante got to go full Rage Against the Machine in the chorus, and Kiedis’ ascending vocal line was full of energy and character.

Not only was Unlimited Love well-represented at last night’s show, the band arrived with new music in tow. Though they didn’t bust out any tracks from the band’s upcoming 13th studio album, The Return of the Dream Canteen, the band did provide a brief teaser, remarking how exciting it was for them to receive a physical copy of the record that day and praising the album’s psychedelic artwork.

Throughout the evening, Red Hot Chili Peppers treated fans to a wildly energetic, unforgettable performance — for a band that has ascended to the biggest stages, it’s truly special to witness them in as close-knit of a venue as The Apollo. And above all, it was clear that no matter the stage, this is a band that has fun.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform Live At The Apollo Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series
Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform Live At The Apollo Theater For SiriusXM's Small Stage Series

Red Hot Chili Peppers, photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Watching Kiedis dance during Flea, Frusciante, and Smith’s solo and jam sections was a little bit hilarious while also being endearing — you got the sense that he was just as connected to the music they were making together, even with only a microphone in his hand. Flea, of course, was having the time of his life on that stage, busting out a hardcore dance or a wacky facial expression with each barnstorming riff. And Smith and Frusciante, with every complicated musical phrase, were unceasing, go-the-extra-mile musicians.

Watching them separately is a treat, but when you take all four of them in together, this is a powerful, indestructible unit. After so many years of music, we’re still so lucky to have the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Grab tickets to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ remaining tour dates here.

Setlist:
Intro Jam
Can’t Stop
Dani California
Here Ever After
Snow ((Hey Oh))
These Are the Ways
Soul to Squeeze
Right on Time
Otherside
The Heavy Wing
Black Summer
Californication
What Is Soul? (Funkadelic cover)
Give It Away
Encore:
By the Way

Red Hot Chili Peppers Jam Out at The Apollo Theater for SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series: Recap, Photos and Setlist
Paolo Ragusa

Popular Posts

Subscribe to Consequence’s email digest and get the latest breaking news in music, film, and television, tour updates, access to exclusive giveaways, and more straight to your inbox.