Californication. This was my first time listening to the band we all know and have come to love as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Like it was yesterday I can recall my cousin Nel; short for Neftali, excited to share his latest cassette tape with me. It was 1999 and I was spending the holidays with family in Guadalajara, Mexico. Now you have to remember that it was pre-internet era. The Internet did exist, however; it was not readily available to everyone like it is now. So this meant that pop culture in rural parts of Mexico was behind compared to the United States. The album was released that summer and it was only until now my cousin was getting around to the news. He pops the tape into his home stereo system. You know which one I am talking about; the big three-piece table top system with the bright lights and flashy shapes. In reality, it was poorly made and sounded sub par. The tape begins to spin to life with that crackling sound and “Around the World” blasts into your ears. He is jumping up and down on the bed going nuts. My eyes locked on the now iconic album cover. The bright fire orange reds and deep ocean blues you can spot from any distance with the California sun lit swimming pool. I’ve been hooked since then. I “Can’t Stop” listening to the band and their music. Pun intended!
Flash forward 18 years. I’m in the photo pit at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Tx about to cover the Getaway Tour opener date. This would also be my first time seeing them live. Despite doing this for so long, I still get nervous before a concert. The show is sold out. My eyes scan the arena for the first sign of an empty seat. None could be found. Next thing I know the lights go out and the place comes alive. Cheers, shouts, and screams resonate as Chad Smith walks on stage followed by Flea and Josh Klinghoffer. They begin to jam out together to what would be the intro for the night. Just has Anthony Kiedis is spotted on stage by the audience they transition beautifully into “Can’t Stop”. Josh and Flea run around each other and I love it. Great stage presence makes for great photographs! Their stage production is impressive. There is so much going on it feels surreal. They followed up with Dani California from their 2006 album Stadium Arcadium. Josh shreds! He is an amazing guitarist. His guitar solo along-side with Flea outstanding on the bass bring the song to a close with a bang.
The atmosphere settles and they begin to touch everyone’s souls with “Otherside”. The band and audience are now one signing together with immense volume that I am sure anyone outside of the arena could hear. My brain begins to bring back memories of Guadalajara and my cousin Nel. Wishing he could be there to experience the magic. After the three songs we are escorted out as normal and I check in my gear. I rush to where my seat was located stage left just above floor. Perfection! I had a great view of the band and was not too close to the edge. The night continued with “Dark Necessities” from their latest release “The Getaway”, “Hey”, “Right On Time”, and “Go Robot”.
Throughout each song I admired the production they had on tour. They have a lighting system with hundreds of single tube lights that can be operated individually going from the stage and across the venue. I can imagine the nightmare it must be programming that system but it is well worth it. They used it to create the RHCP logo even render ocean waves. The LED screens mesmerized me during Californication. The motion graphics displayed brought back memories of watching the music video on MTV. The special treat of the night was their performance of “Breaking the Girl” which I learned had not been played on stage since 2012. The night ended with their heavy hitters “Suck My Kiss”, “Under the Bridge”, “By the Way” and “Give it Away”. We were given a taste of the tour with this opening night performance . One can only imagine what is in store for the rest of the tour. Please do yourself a solid and go check them out this spring!
[ P H O T O G A L L E R Y ]
Photographs taken on January 5th, 2017 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas
Disclaimer: All photographs are copyright Clark Terrell Photography and cannot be used/cropped/printed without the consent of the owner.
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