Red Hot Chili Peppers at Target Center, 10/30/12

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Stacy Schwartz

Red Hot Chili Peppers
With Thundercat
Target Center, Minneapolis
October 30, 2012

The Red Hot Chili Peppers began their nearly 30-year music career by flouting '80s rock 'n' roll conventions, brazenly integrating styles and sounds that had no business being within the same three-minute pop song, and combining all of that into a potent and often quite crude live show that garnered them a dedicated following not only in their native L.A., but all across the United States -- and eventually the world.

Their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame earlier this year was a recognition of both that band, the wild one that caught everyone's attention in the first place, and the band that they have become, the tamer, more radio-friendly band that doesn't take many risks anymore. And the latter version of the Chili Peppers was on full display at the sold-out Target Center on Tuesday night, as the acclaimed quartet (flanked by two backing musicians) delivered a tepid 110-minute set that focused heavily on their mediocre recent material while neglecting most of the funky, feisty hits in their arsenal.

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The evening got started with a protracted jam which found the always limber, pink-haired Flea completely bent over, playing bass with his head between his legs while locking into a groove with drummer Chad Smith, who was perched behind a simply massive kit. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who officially replaced John Frusciante in 2010, remained seated for much of the opening track (and half of the entire show itself), "Monarchy Of Roses," due to a broken foot he suffered back in August. And while his playing was serviceable and occasionally dynamic, he doesn't have the experimental inventiveness of Frusciante, and the few older tunes that the band did dust off on this evening suffered for it.

Photos By Stacy Schwartz

Frontman Anthony Kiedis took his time taking the stage at the start, and seemed restrained and quite passive throughout the show. He's never been all that talkative for a singer, and on this night the cursory, "Thank you Minny, thank you St. Paul" was the only between song banter we heard from him all evening, letting the focus remain on the music. And while songs like "Around the World" and "Otherside" sounded good in an arena setting, especially with 13,500 hardcore fans singing along, there wasn't a spark or any sense of creative unpredictability within the music, something which pulsed at the heart of this band for so many years.

Despite the fact that they only ended up playing four songs from their recent record, I'm With You, by the end of the insufferable "Ethiopia" late in the main set, we all had heard more than enough from that anemic album. And while the many massive high-definition screens behind the band often provided imaginative visual accompaniment to the Chili's songs, the weak material itself never truly took flight.

Forgettable songs like "Throw Away Your Television," "Emit Remmus" and "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie" just came across as colorless and flat, with Kiedis injecting no personality or fire into the lyrics. Which left much of the between song entertainment to Flea, who did his best in his charmingly childlike way. "Thank you Minnesota, we're very grateful to be here tonight. Thanks for having us. And thank you for the Replacements. Thank you for Hüsker Dü. Thank you for Prince. And thank you for Chad Smith. That's right, his hairy little fetus was born here 51 years ago." (Smith was born in St. Paul.)

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