Droves of Charlotteans trickled into Bank of America Stadium to see not one iconic band, but two blow up the arena Thursday night. The Red Hot Chili Peppers hit Charlotte on the North American leg of their Unlimited Love tour, supporting an album they put out by the same name in April of this year — but also a new double album, Return of the Dream Canteen, due out Oct. 14.
Icons in their own right, The Strokes played an opening set, offering a cross-country New York rock vibe to lead into the So-Cal funk band’s set. Legendary bassist Thundercat opened the evening, adding more Cali vibes to the lineup.
Unlike the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes remained pretty firmly rooted in place for the entirety of their set, but when you sound that good, it doesn’t matter what you look like. They don’t have to put on a production and more than make up for any lack of movement with their tight and sharp sound.
After a quick set change, three of the four Chili Peppers (Flea on bass, Chad Smith on drums and John Frusciante on lead guitar) hit the stage to bulldoze through an opening instrumental.
The “Intro Jam” is an appropriate kickoff as the three are given a huge platform throughout the show to showcase their talents. Each time the band finished ripping through a song, the three players would constantly break into outros resembling one giant jam session.
Singer Anthony Kiedis, at any given time during these jam sessions, could be seen leaving the stage entirely to let the light shine on his bandmates — or he would dance and just act altogether silly in the background.
The group plays with an energy that’s hard to believe — these guys have been rocking everything from clubs to stadiums since the 1980s. When you get a glimpse of Flea jumping up and down frantically during a bass solo or Kiedis flexing and showing off his six pack in the background, it’s easy to forget that these guys are all just shy of their 60s.
The band proved that age ain’t nothing but a number. They packed their setlist with everything from their greatest hits to material from the new album, never holding out on the crowd and playing some of their most well-known songs from the get-go.
Launching from the “Intro Jam” into “Can’t Stop” and then favorite “Dani California” got the crowd’s energy immediately popping off, the band thrashing onstage as trippy lighting effects blurred the images behind them. Every song bled into original intros and outros that seemed inspired on the spot, and the crowd’s reaction to huge singles like “Give it Away” must have been heard for miles around.
Kids were there with their parents; couples and friends of all ages were there, too. Because Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of those rare bands that really do span generations. Similar to the Stones who came before them — both generationally and at BofA Stadium earlier this year — these guys still put on a great show. It was almost as if no time had passed since they made their debut in 1983.
The Strokes setlist
Meet Me in the Bathroom
Under Cover of Darkness
Hard to Explain
The Adults are Talking
You Only Live Once
Red Hot Chili Peppers setlist
Here Ever After
Snow (Hey Oh)
These Are the Ways
Soul to Squeeze
Nobody Weird Like Me
The Heavy Wing
Give It Away
I Could Have Lied
By the Way
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