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Red Hot Chili Peppers celebrate 2013 in a cramped Chelsea Ballroom

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The Red Hot Chili Peppers close out 2012 in the Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroon.
Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage

The Details

Red Hot Chili Peppers
three stars
December 31, Cosmopolitan's Chelsea Ballroom

It took two whole songs for singer Anthony Kiedis to take his shirt off during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ New Year’s Eve concert at the Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroom, and bassist Flea didn’t even wait that long (does Flea even own shirts?). A fellow concertgoer joked that Flea ought to put out his own line of exercise videos, and indeed the shirtless duo looked just as fit in their 50s as they did two decades ago when they used to go onstage wearing nothing but socks. All four band members (augmented by a keyboardist and a percussionist) seemed to have boundless energy, easily matching the audience’s enthusiasm.

Newish guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who took over for John Frusciante on 2011’s I’m With You, equaled his bandmates’ verve, and did a decent job of replicating Frusciante’s guitar work on pre-2011 material. The set was weighted heavily toward the band’s fairly mediocre output of the last decade, including four songs from I’m With You, although older hits “Under the Bridge,” “Suck My Kiss” and closer “Give It Away” made it in there as well (with predictably strong audience response).

The band spent a little too much time on meandering instrumental jams, giving a number of songs unnecessary extended codas (there was also a half-hearted version of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight), but even that seemed like a product of excessive exuberance. Far worse than any musical missteps was the venue itself, a long, narrow ballroom ill-equipped for hosting a rock concert. Only the fans in the very front of the general-admission section had any chance of actually seeing the band members, and even the sightlines from the VIP area (complete with bottle service) were terrible. At the end of the show, Flea issued a passionate call for fans to support live music. The Cosmopolitan could start by hosting it in a more suitable location.

Setlist:

“Monarchy of Roses”

“Dani California”

“Can’t Stop”

“Otherside”

“Look Around”

“Snow (Hey Oh)”

“Soul to Squeeze”

“The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”

“Me & My Friends”

“Universally Speaking”

“Ethiopia”

“Suck My Kiss”

“Under the Bridge”

“By the Way”

Encore:

“Around the World”

“Give It Away”

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