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Woodstock '99 Report #58: Red Hot Chili Peppers Rock As Fires Pose Threat

Band's bassist, Flea, performs naked during set.

ROME, N.Y. — The Red Hot Chili Peppers made sure they would be the most talked-about act at Woodstock '99 when bassist Flea hopped onstage naked to start the funk-metal band's set.

Once he put on his bass, his crotch was covered, but Flea jumped up and down so wildly during the band's performance that his genitals made several return appearances.

The Chili Peppers pummeled the crowd with their ringing guitar sound on "Around the World," from their popular new LP Californication.

Lead singer Anthony Kiedis, dressed in a white shirt, black tie and long shorts, often jumped along with Flea, and at one point the two nearly intertwined.

The band's rundown of hits, including the propulsive "Give It Away" and Blood Sugar Sex Magik's "Suck My Kiss," was interrupted by fans setting tables and garbage cans on fire.

Before the latter song, Kiedis urged female fans to start a new Woodstock tradition by pulling out their tampons and throwing them to the stage. Several obliged his request.

Recently returned guitarist John Frusciante led an energetic version of "Me and My Friends" and provided perfect harmonies on "Scar Tissue" and "Californication."

During the set's slower numbers, such as the smash "Under the Bridge" and "Soul to Squeeze," the glow of lighters and matches in the audience was dwarfed by the flames of several bonfires, which eventually obscured the musical achievements of the Chili Peppers by creating a safety threat.

As the band realized the show must soon end, they covered Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" for an all-too-appropriate set-capper.

Concert organizer John Scher took the stage to implore fans to stop the vandalizing. He asked the crowd to part so fire trucks could drive through to put out the blazes.

When the Chili Peppers returned to the stage for their encore, Kiedis peered at the fires and said, "Holy sh--, it looks like 'Apocalypse Now' out there," referring to the Francis Ford Coppola film that ends in a massive conflagration.

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