Last October Red Hot Chili Peppers announced the dates of their Global Stadium Tour, a tour of gigantic outdoor venues that will start in Spain: its first date will be in Seville (La Cartuja Stadium) on June 4, 2022 and the second in Barcelona (Estadi Olímpic) three days later. It is the first time in its entire career that the group is going to play in large stadiums in our country, and the news might seem surprising: is it still strong enough to fill such large venues at prices that are not exactly affordable? (from 55 to 150 euros for general admission, up to 600 euros for a VIP). The answer answered itself when, a week after being put up for sale, the entire capacity of Seville was exhausted. How did this come to be? We analyze the keys to the inexhaustible success of the Californian band.
Red Hot Chili Peppers have been around since 1983, surviving hard drug addictions, loss of former members, infighting and many creative and emotional lows. In a way, announcing a stadium tour is an ordeal in which they show their power of resilience and present themselves as a super band ready to celebrate themselves in a big way. So much so that in the US the supporting cast will include Beck, The Strokes, Haim and St. Vincent, among others (in Europe they will be rapper A$AP Rock and the unclassifiable Thundercat).
In addition, as Joan S. Luna, editor-in-chief of the magazine mondosound, It is the first large tour announced after the pandemic. The covid frustrated the group’s plans in 2020, both to play live and to record a new album that, in addition, marks the return of the most emblematic formation of the band: with the erratic John Frusciante on guitar and Rick Rubin as producer. . For the group’s followers, who have bought tickets from all over the country, the appointment in Seville is doubly symbolic: for inaugurating a world tour and for the promise of being the first great post-pandemic rock party.
They are already some rock classics
Like the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen or U2, the Red Hot are a classic rock band that turn each of their concerts into a must-go event, regardless of the interest their latest albums have aroused. It is enough that there are a score of singles that the general public knows how to recognize and hum even if they have never bought an album of theirs. “They have been many years without signing a masterpiece. I think Californication, published in 1999, it is their last great album, but then they have released singles that have worked very well commercially and have become a band for all audiences, signing countless mid-tempos and more accessible songs. They have lost much of what made them an exciting band to, instead, offer an effective formula and cover that share of rock tastes for many people”, says Joan S. Luna.
They have permeated the emotional memory of several generations
Related to the previous factor is the ability of the band of singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea to have created songs that have lasted in people’s memories, so the nostalgic component also plays a big role. “The Red Hot have provided the soundtrack of my life. I’ve been listening to them and playing their songs for almost 30 years. For a while, I wore the Blood Sugar Sex Magik every afternoon and played the bass for all the songs, from start to finish. I will undoubtedly continue listening to them, because not only have they transmitted their love for funk and rock to me, but listening to them transports me to incredible times in my life”, says Fran Belda, a 44-year-old from Tenerife who, as soon as the tickets came out Seville, he bought for himself, for a group of friends with whom he is going to meet again after years without seeing them and for his partner.
This is Susana Lasvignes, a 45-year-old from Madrid, who says: “Being so mythical and a group I’ve grown up with, I didn’t want to miss the party. At the concert I hope to connect and empathize with all that enjoyment.” “I’m going to have a great time with my friends, sing all their great songs, and I’m sure I’ll laugh and cry. They are going to have to put up with me for sure, ”says Sevillian Cristina Bendala, better known as Tinatha. This multidisciplinary artist (she does rap music, graffiti, illustration and design) discovered them for a few skateboarders from Huelva when he was 11 or 12 years old, and it automatically became his initiatory group. “The Red Hot were like my cool cousins, people who empowered me to grow up. I wanted to draw, color everything, paint T-shirts and dye them with bleach, be in a group, skateboard, be wild and natural. And being strong like Anthony too”, he explains with a laugh. “His attitude was very important to me, I saw some crazy guys, free and wild, fun and with a wonderful spirit. Almost naked on stage with socks strategically placed on his genitals, like that poster I hung in my room in 1996. How wonderful! Which brings us to…
They have created a unique (and very attractive) aesthetic
No one doubts that one of the great secrets of their success has been the personal way in which they brought together the bravado of hip hop, the groove and the carnality of funk with the electric intensity of metal and punk, to which, in the second stage of their career, added the most melodic accessibility of alternative pop and rock, as well as a carefree and crazy image. They have continued to cultivate that even in the Tour announcement video. Each of its components is a very recognizable figure, with its own charisma and a lot of humor. They could, in fact, be characters from comics or animated cartoon. But, when they are together, they are propelled to another dimension.
The way they interact on stage gives off a lot of fun, but also a lot of physical energy. They are a muscular band in the literal and metaphorical sense. “You just have to see how Flea continues to convulse while he plays, almost 60 years old, and how Anthony moves around the stage, although it is true that the vocalist has lost a lot from a few years to here. I also like the twists and the different way of playing some songs. That moment when John Frusciante, Flea and Chad Smith start to drag out a song and it makes you want it to never end. Above all, they transmit a lot of positive energy”, indicates Fran Belda.
For Tinatha, her greatest values on stage are “the combination of wildness and sensitivity, fun and sadness, explosiveness and naturalness”. Joan Luna has seen them on four different tours and, according to him, “the most attractive thing is a certain sense of lack of control that they had and that they have been losing. From that moment on, the best thing they have is a huge bass player whose value goes beyond what the band is today”.
They are four renowned and influential musicians
All the components, present and past, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers are considered among the best in the world with their respective instruments. Anthony Kiedis has been characterized by an unmistakable voice in different registers, which evolved until it reached its peak in Californication. Chad Smith joined the band in 1989 -succeeding prestigious drummers like Jack Irons (later in Pearl Jam) or Cliff Martinez (later to be one of the most sought-after soundtrack composers)- and he was the one who raised it to a higher stratum. with a fast and powerful style that drinks from funk, metal and jazz. John Frusciante has been in or out of the band depending on his different vital moments, but he has been present on the most important albums of his career: Mother’s Milk (1989), Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) and Californication (1999).
“Among the most recognizable of his style is his cleanliness and the space he leaves between the notes and the chords he gives: he is not an invasive guitarist. People, even if they don’t realize it or know why, feel that they let them into the song, that they can fit in. With that way of playing he achieves that drums and bass, absolutely fundamental in that band, are heard very clearly and that in a very short time many things are happening. It is never, absolutely never vulgar, predictable or obvious. And he has another fascinating thing that is the physical sense that he gives to his instrument. You can feel the contact of the plectrum with the string, it’s like seeing a Pollock painting, you notice the gesture, the active fact of the body when executing the action”, explains a renowned Spanish rock guitarist.
And, of course, Flea, considered by many to be the best bassist in history. “He is my greatest musical reference,” says Fran Belda, who currently plays in a group called Cachorro. “What struck me the most was how slapped on the bass turning it into a percussion instrument. Besides, it opened the doors for me funky, allowing me to discover authentic groups like Parliament, Funkadelic, or Sly And The Family Stone”. Susana Lasvignes, who plays drums in Cachorro and previously played drums in a duo called Seventeen, admires both Chad Smith and the bassist. “In addition to having a super recognizable style, for me Flea is a wacko who enjoys like a dwarf with his instrument despite the years, despite the virtuosity and despite the success; and that seems tremendously admirable and enviable to me, ”she concludes.
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