…just good music.
there are few things i enjoy more in life than getting to watch and listen to good musicians enjoying the time they have making music and jamming out together. albums like Jimmy Smith’s The Sermon, Buddy Miles’ Live ’71, Grateful Dead (name any live bootleg), Keith Jarrett Trio (any live album) – these all make me smile because you can feel the energy the musicians have together – and they’re GOOD!
and tonight, the red hot chili peppers got added to that list.
their albums are good – no doubt. but there are bands who can’t translate from the studio to a live setting very well. there are other bands who translate it TOO well and create over-produced, over-choreographed, waay-too-slick concerts that i would have been better off just staying home and listening to the CD. i fear both of these things when it comes to live shows.
so: gnarls barkley opens the show – interesting set. pretty straightforward – good reproduction of the CD – took 15 people on stage to reproduce it but it was cool.
and then. the peppers. holy. crap.
nothing fancy. the huge displays were the only special effects. no backup singers. just a dude playing percussion off to the side on some songs. they launched into a nice set of tunes during which i thought, “crap – they’re just reproducing the CD note for note…”
and then they shut me up.
suddenly, flea and john are the only ones up on stage and they’re doing this sweet jam. and they jam. and they jam some more. and this happened frequently through the rest of the show, eventually ending with the two of them bringing the house down during the encore.
i was surprised, but i wouldn’t have been if i had read up on the RHCP concert experience a bit. Wikipedia’s RHCP article includes the following:
Improvisation has always been a major part of the signature style of the band. Early shows were composed almost entirely of improvisations. As well, many solos recorded on the current albums by guitarist John Frusciante are improvised, and his live solos are almost invariably improvised, as are Flea’s bass solos. The band has, for the better part of the last decade, opened the show with a short improvisation, always on the same key as the initial song. Sometimes the beginnings, middle sections and/or endings of the songs are long extended by improvisations, such as Give it Away.
all this to say: i’d been familiar with the peppers since high school (they started waaay back in 1983) and bought bloodsugarsexmagik when it hit back in the early 90’s, but i didn’t realize what a fantastic, ass-kicking group of musicians they were!
awesome time tonight. hanging out with my friend scott, good dinner with friends of his at Betta’s, great show by the RHCP – good way to spend a saturday night.