Monday, October 8, 2007

1992 Lollapalooza: Red Hot Chili Peppers



Photographs of Anthony Keidis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, taken during the band's ninety minute set at Lollapalooza '92, on Saturday, September 5, 1992 at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds in Rosenberg, Texas (just outside of Houston, Texas).

After the show, Marty Racine of the Houston Chronicle summed up the Peppers' set as follows:
Headliner the Red Hot Chili Peppers (10:30-midnight) are a Houston favorite, having appeared here in such diverse venues as Rockefeller's, the Unicorn and the Ensemble Warehouse.

Touring behind "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," the Peps have endured the death of their original guitarist, the sudden departure of "his" replacement, and doubts about their own sincerity (due, in part, to their tendency to perform in various stages of undress) to emerge as the dean of white funk rock groups.

The emergence, too, of rap has been good for the Peppers. The high strut has been accepted into the group's attitude and spat out alongside the hard beats. Now, few doubt the band's commitment to the trinity of funk and its place near or at the top of alternative -- safely secured until the sixth or seventh rock 'n' roll generation displaces it.1
What, if anything, does this review say about the show? I've been picking on Racine's reviews in my series of posts on Lollapalooza '92, but really, the three paragraphs above read as if he did not even attend the Peppers' set. No specific information is provided about the Peppers' performance that night; no songs are mentioned, no stage banter is recounted, and no characterization of their stage antics is offered. (He doesn't even mention the fact that at the show the Peppers donned helmets with flames shooting out of the top.). He refers to the death of Hillel Slovak and the departure of his replacement John Frusciante but identifies neither by name. Considering Racine's lax review of Ice Cube's performance, and the reference to the late hour of the Peppers' set, it may be that Racine simply left the concert early to avoid the inevitable traffic from Rosenburg back to Houston. If so, what kind of review is that?

In the early 1990s, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were at the height of popularity with their album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. One could not turn on MTV for half an hour without seeing the video for that album's "Under the Bridge" at least twice. (Time was, one could also raise eyebrows if one, upon discovering that CD in a jukebox, played "Sir Psycho Sexy."). After 1992, though, it was really all downhill for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There were, of course, hints of their downfall before then (including Flea's appearance in the dreadful Back to the Future sequels), but it was only after 1992 that the band fully committed to its downward slide. 1993 gave us the awful and soulless "Soul to Squeeze," a non-album single which they contributed, to of all the things, the soundtrack to the Coneheads film. Their 1995 album One Hot Minute was forgettable and paled in comparison to that which came before, and by the time the Californication album was released in 1999, one wondered if it was truly the same band. Though they've remained popular, but they've lost all relevance, which is a sad fate for any entertainer. But no one knew that was what the future held in store for the band as he headlined Lollapalooza '92 fifteen years ago. And, yes, the photographs above were indeed taken by me, using my photo pass.

1. Racine, Marty. " Lollapalooza!/The music is a decidedly hip, high-strung hybrid of rap, funk and hard, linear beats, laced with a requisite dose of attitude. 'Lots' of 'tude/New generation finds its alternative," Houston Chronicle, September 7, 1992.

1 comment:

The Regent said...

I wouldn't say they lost all relevance. If "Stadium Arcadium" can win multiple grammys, then SOMEONE is still listening. True, they're not as 'tuned in' to the zeitgeist of the times as they once were, but they're well on the way to being the rolling stones for people who came of age in the 1990's.