The Red Hot Chili Peppers came to Omaha, a place that bassist Flea holds close to his heart.
When he was 15, Flea went to visit singer Anthony Kiedis in Michigan via Greyhound bus. One of his stops was Omaha, where he spent a few hours.
“There was like a rock show happening,” he said. “It was the first time I thought a rock show was a weird and crazy and wild and interesting, and I wanted to be a part of that. That's my Omaha memory.”
More than 13,000 fans — a few hundred shy of a sellout — showed up Sunday at the CenturyLink Center for the show, and they stayed on their feet the entire time — almost two hours.
Onstage, the band was an unstoppable force with more kinetic energy and movement than a perpetual motion machine.
Even guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who wore a walking cast on one foot, moved around like a wild man, though he was supposed to be seated to rest his foot. Flea, with pink hair and socks and shoes, danced around the stage and climbed on top of speaker stacks to jam. Chad Smith's drumming was frenetic, and Kiedis danced and twirled around between verses.
“Dance with me, y'all,” he called out before “Look Around,” and the audience followed suit.
The band kept it up for the entire show. The Chili Peppers ended with “Give It Away” and pounded their instruments and jumped around harder than they had the entirety of the show.
I've seen the Chili Peppers only once before — their Californication Tour about a decade ago — and I'm amazed that they've gotten better and more energetic as they've gotten older.
The Chili Peppers have been around for almost 30 years, and most of the band members are near 50 years old, and they play as well as ever.
Sunday's show was one of the best rock arena shows I've seen since the Foo Fighters last year.
Klinghoffer, the band's most recent addition, has a similar style to longtime guitarist John Frusciante that's funky, fluid and psychedelic. Though Klinghoffer appeared on only the band's most recent album, “I'm With You,” he added his own melodic style to classics such as “Under the Bridge.”
During that song, the audience pulled out lighters and sang with every word Kiedis sang during the song.
Several times between proper songs, Flea, Klinghoffer and Smith jammed improvised instrumental interludes that were as complicated and entertaining as tunes such as “Can't Stop.”
Klinghoffer and Flea would occasionally have a guitar-bass battle where they tried to jam together as well as outdo each other.
The band's setlist mixed new songs such as “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” with 21-year-old tunes such as “Breaking the Girl.”
Fans kept up. Whether it was “Suck My Kiss” (1991) or “Californication” (1999) or “Monarchy of Roses” (2011), the audience sang along.
They cheered the band nonstop.
Band members, especially a very talkative Flea, were grateful.
“Thank you, Omaha, for your hospitality,” Flea said at the end of the show. He went on for several minutes about music.
“We care so much about what we do. Thank you for having us this evening.”
Contact the writer: 402-444-1557, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/owhmusicguy