MANCHESTER, Tennessee — In a two-hour set that absolutely flew by, the Red Hot Chili Peppers proved Saturday night that they’re still the hardest-working band in the business. Their incomparable energy was on full display in their first Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival appearance as they tore through their nearly 30-year catalogue.
A little more than two months into a tour schedule that has them performing nonstop through the end of November, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees opened with “Monarchy of Roses,” the first track on their most-recent release, I’m With You. “Factory of Faith” and “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” also represented that disc.
Highlights included the RHCP classics “Give It Away,” “Suck My Kiss,” “Under the Bridge” and their cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.”
As if his bass playing isn’t impressive enough, Flea deftly made his way across the stage in a handstand. The bassist clearly caught Bonnaroo fever, gushing, “I feel peace and love and kindness everywhere I walk around here.” He praised the weekend’s earlier performances from St. Vincent, Dumpstaphunk, Santigold and the Roots, calling Radiohead’s Friday night set “so f—ing beautiful.”
RHCP, who will headline this year’s Lollapalooza , also pulled out “If You Have to Ask” from 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik and By the Way cut “Throw Away Your Television.”
On a very warm night that had festivalgoers running through the fountain at 2:30 a.m., Skrillex brought huge smiles to the faces of EDM fans.
Also Saturday, metal legend Alice Cooper’s show packed That Tent, which earlier in the day hosted a succession of hard rock and punk acts, including Bad Brains, Flogging Molly, Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer and Danzig.
Hip-hop also had a strong showing, as the Roots, Das Racist and GZA performing Liquid Swords with Grupo Fantasma all got heads nodding. Childish Gambino projected the lyrics to “You See Me” on the giant screen behind him so his fan boys and girls could sing along.
Friday featured Radiohead, Feist, Ludacris, Foster the People, and Mos Def and Talib Kweli as Black Star. The festival wraps up Sunday (June 10) with the Beach Boys, Phish, the Shins, Fun. and Bon Iver.
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