With nearly 40 years of being in a band together, the Red Hot Chili Peppers know exactly what their fans want — a show they’ll never forget. And that’s exactly what die-hard Peppers fans got when the band gave an intimate performance to 1,500 attendees at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater on Tuesday night, with the band delivering a 15-song setlist that included some of their biggest hits, fan favorites, and even some surprises that spanned their expansive catalog, going back to 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
After a timely intro from Chris Rock — which saw the comedian giving a lighthearted take on Queen Elizabeth II’s recent death — members Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and John Frusciante took the famed Apollo stage as part of SiriusXM’s Small Stage Series to celebrate the launch of the band’s new SiriusXM channel Whole Lotta Red Hot.
The show opened with a bang, with Flea and Frusciante going toe-to-toe for a new take on their classic concert intro jams with Smith as he attacked the drum kit, hyping up the audience before Kiedis’ formal arrival to the stage. Kiedis, full of energy, then appeared from the wings as the group transitioned into the 2003 By the Way single “Can’t Stop” and kept the energy of the crowd high by launching into the 2006 Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “Dani California” from Stadium Arcadium right after.
The first half of the showcase was a mixture of Stadium Arcadium and their April 2022-released Unlimited Love, with the rock band powering through “Snow (Hey Oh)” and Love‘s “These Are the Ways” and “Here Ever After.”
Fans hoping for a few surprises certainly got their wish during the SiriusXM performance. “Soul to Squeeze” — the Blood Sugar Sex Magik reject and “Give It Away” and “Under the Bridge” B-side (included on the Coneheads movie soundtrack and later release as a standalone single in 1993) — was played at the intimate gig instead of “Bridge,” likely to the dismay of some fans in attendance. But the next track, “Right on Time,” more than made up for it as the band incorporated The Clash’s “London Calling” into the intro for the track.
If the first half of the concert was about Red Hot Chili Peppers’ slower grooves, the latter half was about the sing-alongs. Fans of every age belted out eachword to “Otherside,” “Californication” and “Give It Away” — sandwiched in between the band’s cover of “What Is Soul” by Funkadelic — before closing out the special performance with “By the Way,” a rather fitting closer to the evening, as if to signal to fans that, even after 30-plus years, they’ll continue to be waiting there with the light on.