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Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers ignite Rose Garden in Portland Wednesday

It’s hard to believe that a couple of punks from the streets of Los Angeles appearing on stage with nothing but tube socks placed over their privates have reached a major milestone: turning 50.

For 29 years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have gone through just about everything that would normally kill off any other rock band — personal turmoil, drugs, alcohol, death of former band members and the pressure to keep up with the changing times.

The trio of Anthony Kiedis, Michael “Flea” Balzary and Chad Smith — all in their 50s — have been able to work past it all. They have continued to write and record even when they had to go through a difficult process of changing guitarists when longtime member John Frusciante left the band in 2009. The band quickly rebounded with protégé Josh Klinghoffer, 33, on their newest record released last summer.

In support of “I’m With You,” their 10th studio album, the Chili Peppers made a stop to the Rose Garden on Nov. 14, since last appearing in Portland in the summer of 2006. Fans were a fine mix of both young and old, those who have grown up with the band since they first formed in 1983 to those who are brand new.

Kicking off an hour and 45-minute set with “Monarchy of Roses,” there was the usual blend of in-your-face, high energy performance that fans love to see, with a spectacular light show to match. Bassist Flea would bounce around from all corners of the stage while Kiedis spun in circles with his shirt off, sipping on tea and cough drops in-between songs. Not bad-looking for someone who just turned 50.

The Chili Peppers satisfied with classics “Scar Tissue,” “Can’t Stop,” “Californication” and “Under the Bridge,” and the entire crowd sang along word for word. They dug into new Klinghoffer-material with “Rain Dance Maggie,” “Ethiopia” and “Look Around” and surprised with “Soul to Squeeze,” “Suck My Kiss” and “Universally Speaking.”

After blazing through an explosive version of “Give It Away” to close the encore and 18-song set list, the Chili Peppers left the crowd drenched in sweat and begging for more.

“We want to thank you Portland from the bottom of our hearts,” Flea said. “This has truly been an amazing night.” Fans dangled from above the rafters screaming his name as he grinned his famous tooth gap before disappearing for the night.


Set List:

“Monarchy of Roses”

“Around the World”

“Snow (Hey Oh)”

“Scar Tissue”

“Can’t Stop”


“Throw Away Your Television”

“She’s Only 18”

“Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”

“Right On Time”

“Universally Speaking”

“Under the Bridge”

“Look Around”


“By The Way”



“Suck My Kiss”

“Soul to Squeeze”

“Give It Away”

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