Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck & Thundercat Give Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium A Hometown Throwdown (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

One of the most commercially successful bands in the history of modern popular alt-rock returned to their SoCal hometown for a blowout show at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on July 31, 2022. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are in the midst of a worldwide tour and the sellout crowd of 70,000 enjoyed three different artist sets of rollicking music as Beck and Thundercat, two other born-and-raised Los Angeles musicians shared this city of Angels billing.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers returned to the USA after packing in the audiences during the European leg of their tour, which began in early June. Their round-the-world tour supports both their twelfth and thirteenth studio albums, “Unlimited Love” (released on April 1, 2022) and “Return of the Dream Canteen,” (coming on October 14, 2022). The band showcased three of the new songs from “Unlimited Love” during their nearly two-hour show.

The first new single, “Black Summer,” is a strong ballad with a mesmerizing guitar riff from John Frusciante. The track and album are the first new material by the band since he returned in 2019 and this is their first tour with him in 15 years. They continued with new tracks, the second single “These Are the Ways” and another tune called “Here After Ever.” All were warmly received by the audience, but nothing compared to the response the band got from breaking out the hits from “Californication” and “By the Way,” which got the loudest response from the adoring crowd, whose ages ranged from 60ish contemporaries of the band’s members all the way to twentysomethings.

After some particularly vigorous applause, Flea grabbed a microphone and shouted out, “We fuckin’ love you; we breathe you in every fuckin’ day; we are you.” That statement stirred up the LA crowd even more. Beloved songs “Scar Tissue,” “Otherside” and the title track from “Californication” kept the energy level high and featured solid vocal work from Anthony Kiedis. Flea and Frusciante’s instrumental duet leading into “Californication” was a thing of beauty as the two played off each other with rhythmic intensity. Kiedis and bassist Flea were their usual aerobic dynamos the entire show, bouncing and strutting across the vast stage as lighting effects and video sequences beautifully complemented the music. 

The production was immense, with a giant video backdrop, two huge vertical video screens on either side of the stage, and video effects throughout the stadium that created an enormous 360-degree visual montage. The stadium’s audio system was aggressively loud but extremely clear. The volume was intensified by Chad Smith’s beastly drumming as he tried to beat the skins into submission, all the while with a mischievous grin on his face. As he energetically pounded his kit, he constantly made goofy facial expressions and eye contact with his bandmates and people in the crowd. 

The audience enjoyed a vast array of creative imagery as the band played many songs from their deep catalog. A manic version of “Give It Away,” with one of Frusciante’s many imaginative and sweet solos closed the set. Flea started the encore by walking across the stage on his hands as his long black skirt flopped over his head, exposing his purple and gold Lakers compression shorts. That drove the crowd into a frenzy. The band began a fantastic version of “Under the Bridge,” a hit song that has been absent from several of their current tour stops. However, it was particularly meaningful that they played it at SoFi since the lyrics and story touch on addiction, loneliness, and redemption on the streets of Los Angeles. The crowd sang along throughout the song and kept it going for the performance ending “By the Way.” 

Beck Hanson came on before the Red Hot Chili Peppers, just as the stadium was filling up. He covered a lot of ground in his short set that spanned the funk, soul, hip hop, electronic, and alternative rock genres. Early in the show, Beck rhapsodized, “This is our hometown show. These are our fans and these are our family.” The crowd responded favorably to his big hits “Devil’s Haircut,” “The New Pollution,” “Loser” and Where It’s At.” 

Unfortunately, the show opener Thundercat played to a nearly empty house. Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner is a local from Compton who went to UCLA to study music, so it truly was a local show for him. His reputation was built on his work with Suicidal Tendencies and on Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning 2015 release To Pimp a Butterfly. Thundercat’s incredible bass playing on jazz fusion and funk tunes was a treat for the fans who came early and a true loss for the throngs who showed up fashionably late. This show proved “LA Confidential,” as three names, each on their respective tier, proved stadium worthy.

Live photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon ©2022 FB: andy.j.gordon1, IG: andyjgordon1

Red Hot Chili Peppers Setlist SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA, USA 2022, 2022-23 Global Stadium Tour

 
Beck Setlist SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA, USA 2022

 

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