Verizon Amphitheater, Sept 2 2000
You’d think being on the road working for a band for almost a month and 20+ shows would have made me slightly jaded, if not indifferent. Yeah right, not this band! Definately not the case this past weekend in Irvine for a two night RHCP residence at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine, CA. Saturday night marked probably the best RHCP show I’ve ever seen. Friday night was good, but Saturday was the point at which I found myself saying “I love this band. No, I fucking love this fucking band.”. It was actually one of the best shows I think I’ve ever seen, period. And that even beats Ozzy Osborne with Randy Rhodes when I was 7.
Now, there were some factors in this particular show that made it a potential ace for being a good show. STP recently joined the melee.. and it was the first night that Grier and Scotty got to use their new Jumbotron screens. It was also the first night of the leg… Hmm, what else. Oh, well everyone’s families were there. And girlfriends. Damn, even Woody Harrelson was there.
The sides of the stage were packed with family and friends, the amphitheatre was packed with people show were getting their money’s worth. Bicycle Thief put on a great set, full on with some new songs that I totally enjoyed. It was great to see them, one of the nicest bands this side of Northridge. All of them are such good players, and great songwriters, it’s good to keep this bill full of goodness, and these guys do it. Tonight also marked the first night I’d ever seen STP, and considering they were replacing my great friends the Foo Fighters, I was hesitant to open myself up to another band in the slot, but let me tell you, these guys kicked the preconceived crap out of me. Ultimately, they played their asses off, and totally took the crowd by surprise. Only this band could replace the cock-rock ethics of the Foos, and get away with it. It was fun, it was loud, and it was off the hook. They played a solid show, they looked happy…like they were having more fun than the people watching (though the crowd was standing on the seats going apesh*t!). They engaged the crowd, smiled for the camera and dealt some serious rock! Highlight for all y’all was Red Hot Chad sitting in on drums for “Plush”; damn he kicks ass on anything he touches!
As I waited for RHCP to hit, I luckily had the whole press pit to myself, thanks to the main man Baggy, who always has my back. There was a slight delay and then as the command came from the crowd to “get this f*ckin’ show on the road” the lights went down and the peppers spilled onto the stage like a heat cloud rolling off of a volcano. Anthony in a white shirt and tie, Flea wearing his funky-ass red leather vest and even John donning a white knit hat and a blue-collar shirt. I love it when they play dress up… makes for interesting photos! They all looked like the RHCP we know so well, and love to death.
They were mixing up the set tonight, throwing in things here and there, breaking for unusual chit-chat, and taking time out to put a stop to a violent outbreak in the crowd. That was some sh*t. I was amazed as Flea peacefully and politely told the two meatballs in the front to stop fighting… but make no mistake, he was not going to let that happen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so serious. “This isn’t a place for violence, it’s a place for love”. While that might have sounded funny enough to crack a smile at coming out of Ozzy Osborne’s mouth, it sounded right coming from Flea and those two jackasses stopped in their tracks like deer caught in headlights.
I’m not going to take you through the set, but the amount of fun these guys were having was something that will always stick with me. They were joking around, smiling, a little less serious than they normally are. They played to exhaustion, and with all the people on the side of the stage you could have mistaken it for a show in a college basement... sweaty, loud, GROOVING and full of love. The jumbotrons totally put a new spin on the show, I’d never seen anything like it. Even if you have nosebleed seats, go see this freaking show. It’s amazing even from the top tier. The visuals are mind-blowing. Also with Dave Rat, and the Rat Sound Crew at the helm, you will get the most amazingly crystal clear sound you will ever hear in a large venue. Hands down. I was blown away how good it sounded even on the lawn.
This show has got the goods for everyone, you will not be disappointed, and you will drive home with the happy feeling like you just ate a huge pasta dinner and fine wine at a large family reunion. Have you ever been in love? You know that first night after you drop the person you love off at their doorstep? That’s what this night felt like.
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