BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Returning to perform in the Bay Area for the first time since their climactic appearance at BottleRock nearly a year ago, the Red Hot Chili Peppers frenetic brand of high octane alternative rock and funk proved highly satisfying for a very sold out Oracle Arena crowd in Oakland on Sunday night.
Touring in support of “The Getaway,” their 11th studio album which was released just three weeks after the bands Napa show, the Los Angeles based Chili Peppers wasted little time raising the energy level to the vicinity of the Warriors championship banners in the rafters by opening with “Around the World” and “Scar Tissue” from 1999’s “Californication.”
The Peppers were backed throughout by often psychedelic visuals on the monitors behind the stage in addition to a highly appealing massive bank of cascading, swaying lights that constantly changed colors while undulating above the band and across the arena. Old favorites like “Airplane” and Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” electrified the crowd with the band still managing to include four tracks from their most recent strong release in their 20 song, hour and three quarter set.
Always highly energetic, lead singer Anthony Kiedis and his bassist/leaping companion Flea, in addition to Will Ferrell doppelgänger Chad Smith on drums and relative newcomer Josh Klinghoffer on guitar, the 2012 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame played a setlist that offered a nice mix of both hits and obscurities. Unfortunately, as with any band that’s still performing at an elite level well into it’s fourth decade, a number of fan favorites went unplayed. But anyone that has ever seen the Peppers before, whether on this tour or in earlier years, has to appreciate the fact that they change their setlist by mixing its up every night, as opposed to doing the same songs from start to finish throughout their tour like many other marquee acts.
Finishing out their set with 2002’s ”By The Way,” the Chili Peppers had made such a strong impression that the now manic crowd was still going crazy simply reacting to itself on the video monitors. Returning for a 15 minute encore with a great cover version of Sly Stone’s “Family Affair,” Kiedis, now shirtless wearing only cartoonish animated tights, and the band closed with a typically spastic rendition of their frequent finale “Give It Away” from 1991’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik.” That selection being one of the few predictable choices of the evening for this one time club band that has grown into one of the most beloved and electrifying in the world.