Red Hot Chili Peppers / the Strokes / Thundercat @ Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
When I first saw the lineup for the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Global Stadium Tour, I had to do a double-take, as I thought I misread the openers. After I read it again, I reread it. Yes, Thundercat is an amazing artist and worth my drooling, but in fact, it was the inclusion of the Strokes that got my heart pumping. The elusive quintet was actually going on a full-scale tour, as openers, which is a far cry from their typical festival runs or one-off shows in NYC or Los Angeles. They have been my favorite band for some time now and I have only see the band once, way back in 2002 at the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. So needless to say, I was incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to review and shoot this show, as the Peppers have stood the test of time and continue to create music for the masses while bringing along my favorite band and the incredibly-talented Thundercat to Globe Life Field.

If you're not familiar with Thundercat, you're in for a treat. He's an absolute beast on the bass, makes some of the coolest sounding music you've never heard, and he seems like he's a genuinely nice guy. Flanked by a keyboardist and drummer while standing in front of a giant cat head, Thundercat's set is a blend of progressive R&B and funk. But in a blink of an eye, you can be hit with a barrage of bass notes that seem to never end. It's a wild concept but it's highly entertaining and keeps you engage throughout the entire set.

As excited as I was as the Strokes took the stage, I had to reel in my expectations because they were an opener and would be given an opener's limit in set time. So with a scheduled 45-minutes for their set, that gave the band enough time to touch four of their albums in their catalog, leaning heavier on their two first albums, Is This It and Room on Fire. Under the darkness of the subtle stage lighting, the Strokes opened their set with "Meet Me in the Bathroom", an uptempo cut from Room on Fire. Vocalist Julian Casablancas did most of his heavy lifting center stage, effortlessly singing through classics such as "Barely Legal", "Reptilia", and "Last Nite". The band sounded tight, giving an energized 11-song set which included a wonderful performance of "The Adults are Talking" from their latest release, 2020's The New Abnormal. As most Strokes fans who finally got to see them live, it was bittersweet that they had such a truncated slot but deep down, I was more than satisfied, having getting to see them in any capacity. They concluded their set with two tracks from Is This It in "Someday" and "Hard to Explain", putting an exclamation point on their time on stage.

After coming down from my Strokes high, I remembered that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were waiting in the wings, ready to show Arlington why they've been a cornerstone of modern rock and roll for the past 40 years. And to say their production was top notch still wouldn't do it justice. An LED panel that curled down the top of stage, down the entire back stage, and wraps around the bottom of the stage made the visuals more prominent than normal and it simply created a really cool illusion. The stage was also flanked by two huge LED panels that showcased the members as they played. After a jam between the iconic Flea, guitarist John Frusciante, and Will Ferrell lookalike Chad Smith, the band jumped into "Can't Stop" and joined by an energetic Anthony Kiedis who sounded as good as ever. I was in awe in their sound, dynamic and loud. For a band whose average age is nearly 60 years old, this band can still rip with the best of them.

I was also taken back by how many outstanding hits the Peppers have. I know I could probably list a few, but song after song, it felt like a greatest hits compilation as they continued the set with "Dani California" and "The Zephyr Song".  As mentioned previously, the visuals were awesomely trippy and an extension of the overall performance. The 18-song and nearly two-hour set showcased one of the great modern rock bands who music has never fit a single mold but melts various genres into one sound that can be described in a way only the Red Hot Chili Peppers can deliver. As much as I was glowing over the Strokes and my affection for their music, I was blown away by the Chili Peppers' set and will forever be a fan of their live show, as it went beyond my expectations and set the bar fairly high for any other stadium show I may come across.

Photos of the show are below:

The Strokes
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers / the Strokes / Thundercat @ Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX Red Hot Chili Peppers / the Strokes / Thundercat @ Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on September 20, 2022 Rating: 5
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