Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers • June 5, 2024 • Utah First Amphitheatre

Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson

On Wednesday, June 5 the Red Hot Chili Peppers brought their Unlimited Love tour to Utah’s First Amphitheatre. It was no surprise that the show quickly sold out. Utah fans have waited 18 long years for the band to return. Their last concert in Utah was in 2006, Their performance was the 3rd to last concert at the original Delta Center before the name changed to Energy Solutions Arena. I found it interesting that their long-awaited return to Utah marked the 3rd concert at the newly named Utah First Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amphitheatre.) 

Photo Credit: Alisha Gregson

I am often asked what bands are on my bucket list to see and photograph. For a long time, Red Hot Chili Peppers have been high on that list. Growing up in Southern California, I think I had no choice, but to love them. They are of course, popular all over, but the Los Angeles-based rock band will always remind me of home.

When I was 16, I got a job at a frozen yogurt shop down the street from my house. My boss, Subhi, was a RHCP super fan. I am not sure if he listened to any other bands besides them. The playlist he created to play at the shop consisted of Red Hot Chili Peppers and only RHCP. You would think that listening to one band on repeat day after day would get old, but I always looked forward to it. I always wanted to go to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert when I was in high school. I never got the chance. Now in my mid-30s and living in Utah, it was finally time to see them! 

The sun was just beginning to set when it was finally time for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to take the stage. 25,000 fans erupted in cheers at the first sight of the band members. Guitarist John Frusciante, drummer Chad Smith, and bass guitarist Flea made their way out in front of the crowd and began to jam. After a couple of minutes of their jamming, the already high energy intensified and the screams from all around the amphitheater signified the arrival of lead singer Anthony Kiedis. 

With Kiedis now front and center, the band transitioned from jamming and began to play the easily recognizable intro to one of their hit songs. The crowd, already on their feet, lost their minds getting to hear the first song “Can’t Stop.” I always love the energy it brings to a concert when a band plays one of their most popular songs right at the beginning. Next up was “The Zephyr Song”, another fan favorite.  I especially love the vocals in this song, and it felt surreal to finally hear these songs that I have loved for so long sung live. I was very impressed with Anthony Kiedis and thought he sounded just as good as he did on their albums. 

After playing “Here Ever After,” a song from their newest album “Unlimited Love,” they surprised the crowd with another one of their biggest hits, “Snow (Hey Oh).” At this point, I was feeling pretty excited and hoped the rest of the night would continue exactly like this. With them playing the older songs we all came to hear while sprinkling in a few of their new songs. I was surprised, however, and maybe even a little disappointed with the rest of the setlist.

While they did a good job alternating between new and old songs, they left off many of their biggest songs that we were all expecting to hear. They did include “Californication,” and “By the Way” but we missed out on “Scar Tissue,” “Dani California,” “Otherside,” “Tell Me Baby,” and “Under the Bridge.” Of course, a band with so many great songs can’t be expected to play them all, but I wish they would have included a few more. The band also had quite a few improv jam sessions, which I wasn’t expecting but it was fun to see that side of them. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are pretty well known for the energy they bring to the stage, so when I noticed Anthony Kiedis was wearing a boot on his foot, and a compression sock on his other knee, I wondered if that would slow the lead singer down. I am happy to report that he gave his fans the full Kiedis experience. He spent the night jumping and dancing around the stage, even pulling his shirt up over his head at one point. Flea of course matched his energy, and they were both a lot of fun to watch. It’s a well-known fact that drummer Chad Smith’s doppelgänger is the very famous Will Ferrell, they have even done skits together, but I still heard comments from fans who were surprised by their similar appearance.  

At the end of the night, after a few minutes off stage, the band returned for their encore with Keidis now wearing a cowboy hat. They played a two-song encore, starting with “I Could Have Lied” and ending strong with “Give It Away.” Hearing the crowd sing along to “Give It Away,” was one of the highlights of the night, and felt like a perfect way to end. But I have to admit that I felt the sting when I saw the setlist and realized they had originally planned on playing “Under The Bridge,” instead of “I Could Have Lied.” While I did feel a little disappointed about all the songs we didn’t get to hear, I still enjoyed every minute of their performance.

This is a concert I have waited over 20 years to see, and although I showed up with unrealistic expectations, it was an incredible show, that I will never forget. Let’s just hope the Red Hot Chili Peppers don’t wait another 18 years to return to Utah.

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