If one thing is clear, it’s that the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t done yet.
With the "kid" in the band (guitarist Josh Klinghoffer) being 37 years old, it’d be tempting to think the band has resorted to greatest hits tours to fund retirement homes in the Caribbean. But what prevailed in the Chili Peppers’ Friday show at KeyBank Center all but put that notion to sleep.
Filled with crowds ranging from smartphone-in-hand teenagers to graying heads of the rock and roll era past, KeyBank Center was ready to rock, and it was apparent the Red Hot Chili Peppers were up to the challenge.
From the downbeat of the band’s opening jam, it was clear the quartet was intent on making certain Buffalo was not just another stop on the tour. With bassist Flea doing everything from handstands to an improv tune dedicated to Buffalo; guitarist Klinghoffer passionately running around the stage and frequently striking near-split poses rivaling that of any goaltender having played in the building; singer Anthony Kiedis prancing around the stage despite a medical boot resulting from a torn tendon (suffered after years of said prancing); and drummer Chad Smith exhibiting his famed heavy-handedness behind the drum set, this was certainly no retirement gig.
Opening with smash hits "Can’t Stop" and "Dani California," the Red Hot Chili Peppers grabbed the energy of the sold-out arena and masterfully engaged the crowd with a setlist that drove the hits home while featuring both new material as well as old tracks that might otherwise have been forgotten.
New hits from June’s "The Getaway," including the title track, "Dark Necessities," "Go Robot," and "Goodbye Angels," had an airiness that made them poppy and perfect for the arena setting. Twenty-year-old "Aeroplane," a track the Chili Peppers had only played a handful of times in the 21st century, sounded great, and was a wonderful addition exemplifying the band’s groovy moodiness.
The encore was perfect. The slow build of "Goodbye Angels" culminating in an all-out bass, guitar and drum jam was perhaps the most Chili Peppers moment of the night, and the band’s famed "Give it Away" was possibly the best way to send fans on their way.
The band’s energy was clear, the passion to their craft unrivaled.
Whether it was the band’s drum tech avidly pounding on a drum trigger or Kiedis’ closing of the show by proclaiming "Buffalo, until we meet again" before promptly dropping the mic (literally) and running off the stage – boot and all, the performance was classic Chili Peppers.
The era of rock and roll may over, but if the Red Hot Chili Peppers show Friday at Keybank Center is any indication, rock is certainly far from dead.
Jack Watson is a junior at Orchard Park High School.