Red Hot Chili Peppers bring punk back to Syracuse after 30 years

Red Hot Chili Peppers bring punk back to Syracuse

The rock band was welcomed back to the Dome for the highly anticipated show.
Published: April 16, 2023
Bassist Flea jump during the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert on Friday, April 14, at the JMA Wireless Dome at Syracuse University.
Flea jumps to the beat of "Can't Stop" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the JMA Wireless Dome.

Fans of all ages crowded into The JMA Wireless Dome on Friday night to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers live in Syracuse for the first time since their last concert at the Landmark Theatre in 1991. The band gave an exciting, age-defying performance that left the crowd cheering for more — even after a nearly two-hour set. 

The show started promptly at 6:30 with a special performance from King Princess, aka Mikaela Mullaney Straus, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Brooklyn. She seemed genuinely happy on stage, laughing and smiling through her set where she sang her songs “1950” and “Little Bother,” among others. 

The Strokes took to the stage shortly after King Princess with a 30-minute set of their own. A heavy stream of fog clouded around the stadium leading up to The Strokes’ appearance on stage. Lead singer Julian Casablancas stepped out encompassing the classic rock-star look with shades, a leather vest, and a single leather glove. Fans continued to filter into their seats during The Strokes’ performance, but that didn’t stop them from head-banging along to every song. The younger crowd at the show said they were there for King Princess and the Strokes as they walked by to their seats. A group of college-aged girls danced in the pit to every song from both performers. 

A lull went through the crowd while everyone watched the Dome workers set up for the Chili Peppers. Some people meandered around the floor and others took pictures of the giant gong with the RHCP logo that accompanied the drum set. About 10 minutes before 9:00 pm, the Dome abruptly went dark. A hush swept through the stadium for less than a second before screams and cheers ensued; signaling the strobe lights and RHCP 60-year-old bassist Flea to handstand walk onto the stage.

King Princess opens the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert on Friday, April 14, at the JMA Wireless Dome at Syracuse University.

King Princess performs her single "Little Bother" to the crowd before the Chili Peppers take the stage.

The Strokes open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert on Friday, April 14, at the JMA Wireless Dome at Syracuse University.

The Strokes carry out an energetic 30-minute set to the crowd.

Fans quickly rose to their feet to match the energy of the band who started off their set with a bang. Drummer Chad Smith, guitarist John Frusciante, and bassist Flea kicked off the show with an introductory jam session before lead singer Anthony Kiedis joined them on stage to sing “Can’t Stop” and “Scar Tissue.” 

Kiedis came on stage wearing a black mesh t-shirt, black shorts with a suggestively placed pink lightning bolt, and a walking cast on his left foot. The heavy black boot didn’t seem to slow Kiedis down though as he skipped and danced around the stage during the entire two-hour set. Flea and Smith sported matching Los Angeles Lakers gear, with Smith in a purple jumpsuit and Flea with his purple skirt (that slipped during his acrobatic entrance to the stage, giving us a sneak peek at his underwear), along with mismatched purple and gold socks. Frusciante delivered a slightly more subdued stage presence, vibing out during the set wearing a t-shirt and pants covered in a clown face design.

The band played a range of songs from their many albums, some older favorites like “Californication” and “Snow (Hey Oh)” as well as “Eddie” and some other songs from their 2022 albums Return of the Dream Canteen and Unlimited Love. Despite most of the band members being in their early 60s (all except for 53-year-old guitarist Frusciante), they kept their original explosive energy for their full set and later for two encores. Flea in particular looked like he was having the time of his life while jumping around the stage and wailing away on the bass. His endurance throughout the show was truly awe-inspiring. 

Some fans might have been disappointed to miss out on hearing classic RHCP songs like “Otherside” or “Dani California,” but the live performance of “Give It Away” during the encore made up for it. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers exited the stage for the second time with deafening cheers and huge smiles on their faces. As fans shuffled out of the Dome, they already began to reminisce over their favorite moments from the show.