Sunday, August 13, 2006

TMV and RHCP @ Portland's Rose Garden

[Photo Credit]

The last arena concert I went to was the Red Hot Chili Peppers three years ago in Seattle. Top and I mingled with preteens on the floor, Flaming Lips opened, and John Frusciante stayed behind his hair stage left. Last Friday in Portland, the floor stayed closed, John Frusciante played guitar like glass shatters perfect, and I sat in my assigned seat one row in front of Billy Beerspillingman.

Mars Volta played a delicious manic set for half a crowd and ended after one prompt hour. If you have to choose, it would be better to leave early than to arrive late for this show.

All black arena. Flea thrummed us out of the dark. The stage lit up and John Frusciante's notes ran red up giant columns of horizontal strips to topple forward and star out over the crowd (that sentence still can't make up for the dead battery in my camera). Four screens roved around the backdrop displaying separate shots or combining in one image. Chad Smith was just warming up. Anthony Kiedis came in for 'Can't Stop' and didn't stop for the rest of the night. The set was a solid mix of easily accessible hits, new songs, and some older obscure tracks. High points included Frusciante's solo on 'Throw Away Your Television' and an incredible Flea solo/interlude (I'm not too savvy with classical but it was a recognizable movement as an extended intro to 'Don't Forget Me.' Maybe Mozart, Beethoven, or Vivaldi? Somebody out there help me!) The encore opened with a wicked long drum play and was comfortably absent of 'Under the Bridge.' I had no luck in two tries, but hopefully the other coast of MetroD gets to see Omar Rodriguez and John Frusciante play together.

This tour, like Stadium Arcadium, might prove to be the best of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After individual efforts the last few years, John Frusciante seems comfortable. He contributes even more to the music live than on the album. Solos, individual songs, and backup vocals all demonstrate his presence in the music. Unlike the past, he's not playing against his mates, but carrying them.

Set List:
"Can't Stop"
"Dani California"
"Scar Tissue"
"Fortune Faded"
"Throw Away Your Television" (JF killed at the end of this one)
"Blood Sugar Sex Magik"
"Snow (Hey Oh)"
???? (maybe "Righteous and the Wicked" - Flea dedicated it to Gus Van Sant)
Interlude - Frusciante - Usually Just a T-Shirt #3 (off the map version)
"Wet Sand"
"Right On Time"
Interlude - Flea solo
"Don't Forget Me"

Interlude - Frusciante instrumental
"I Could Have Lied"
"Tell me Baby"
"By the Way"

Chad Smith Drum solo
"Soul to Squeeze"
"Give It Away"

No comments: