About an hour into the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ set at Intrust Bank Arena on Monday night, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer surprised the crowd with a short rendition of “Wichita Lineman.”
The nod to Wichita was not the only surprise at the concert – a show that drew heavily on the Chili Peppers’ three decades of back catalogue while mixing in a few from “The Getaway,” their 2016 album.
The Chili Peppers played to a raucous crowd on Monday – after warnings of an impending ice storm over the weekend caused the show to be postponed by a day.
Going into the show, I had questions (or rather, fears) that the postponement could affect the performance.
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You never know how unexpected changes can throw someone off their game.
Those fears were largely assuaged by the time the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage.
The band warmed up the crowd with a healthy dose of three older songs – “Around the World,” “Otherside” and “Snow (Hey Oh)” – before breaking out a song from “The Getaway,” the album on which the band is currently touring.
Lead singer Anthony Kiedis didn’t appear to be 100 percent, as he was wearing a walking boot the whole time and often sipped from what appeared to be a mug of hot liquid.
He inexplicably left the stage a couple of times, leaving his bandmates to jam until he returned to continue the set. The mini jam sessions were enjoyable, though, so no complaints. It did leave me wondering if something was wrong, though.
He addressed his affliction midway through the set, saying one of his “getaway sticks” was injured.
“There’s a dancing man out there picking up the slack, and I appreciate that. That’s my spirit animal right there,” he said, gesturing toward Flea, the band’s iconic bassist.
Good thing Flea was there, putting in the equivalent of three ordinary people’s daily cardio workout, seemingly always jumping or doing high-knees while simultaneously playing bass.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises was how many of the band’s hits could be skipped while still selling a high-energy 100-minute set.
Some notable omissions from Monday’s set that most Chili Peppers fans could reasonably expect to hear at a show – “Under the Bridge,” “Dani California,” “Scar Tissue,” and “Suck My Kiss” were all nowhere to be found.
The concert got off to a bit of a rocky start, with opening act Jack Irons playing a solo 20-minute drum set to a seemingly half-empty arena – many concertgoers arrived late Monday.
And while Irons, the founding drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (also of Pearl Jam fame) was technically quite good at percussion, it made for a bit of a puzzling opener. It was over and done before many concert attendees were even in the building.
I initially feared that the ice storm predictions had left the arena with hundreds of refunded tickets.
But by the time the Chili Peppers’ second opening act, Trombone Shorty, had finished, the arena had filled up with about 10,000 people, and the place was jamming.
I’d be remiss not to include a few words of praise for Trombone Shorty, the Chili Peppers’ second opener. The band – sort of a modern-day, funkier Chicago – brought the energy of New Orleans jazz to the arena and injected it into the Monday night crowd.
So, in the end, did it make much of a difference that the concert was on a Monday rather than its scheduled Sunday?
Did we lose anything?
I wouldn’t say so.
The band hardly made reference to the postponement – Kiedis at one point simply said he was “glad everyone got the memo ... to come tonight.”
If there were more empty seats, you could have fooled me.
The enthusiasm of those that did venture out on a Monday night in Wichita served to render that point moot.
Red Hot Chili Peppers setlist
“Around the World”
“Snow (Hey Oh)”
“Hard to Concentrate”
“Sir Psycho Sexy”
“Wichita Lineman” (Glen Campbell cover)
“Search and Destroy”
“Soul to Squeeze”
“By the Way”
“Give It Away”