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"Red Hot play's it safe" ...Rocks The Bay *.. Dec 29th/ Sacramento

Funk-rock heroes the Red Hot Chili Peppers capped their impressive 1999 comeback on Wednesday night with an exciting and well-rounded effort at the near-full Arco Arena, improving significantly over their disappointing show at Woodstock 99. I was hoping they would not repeat the same mistake they made at Woodstock 99 when they encouraged the thousands of fans to burn the place down . Not too cool ! but their fans love them any way.. This year, they reunited with troubled guitarist John Frusciante, released the critically-acclaimed Californication, toured the world yet again. To warm up for their New Years Eve show at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles the Chilis are undertaking a mini-tour of California, which includes stops at the Cox Arena in San Diego on Dec. 26, the Cow Palace in San Francisco on Dec. 28, and the Arco Arena in Sacramento on Dec. 29.

.........When the band finally walked onstage, I was immediately struck by how physically fit these guys look. While shiftlessness has become a Chilis trademark, it fit their style visually, too -- unassuming yet very engaging. The band threw themselves at once into "Give It Away" and then "Suck My Kiss," squandering no time fervently setting the tone of their performance. Chilis still performed their tunes with an honest and unaffected air. They didn't distance themselves from the audience like some sort of rock gods as bands of their stature so often do. Anthony Kiedis was indeed a captivating singer throughout the show. His vocals were full, tireless, and strangely much more clear and understandable than those of the first two bands. His vocal stage presence was physically punctuated by his agility in flailing himself about his mikestand . Even if Anthony couldn't sing, his appealing good looks and demeanor could probably still reel 'em in. With prodigal guitarist John Frusciante back in the band after a six-year absence, the Chilis made a welcome return to form with 1999's multimillion selling "Californication," a surprisingly inspired effort that's top to bottom as good as any of their previous six albums. And the quartet amply demonstrated their renewed musical virility in Sacramento. "Around the World," the first track on the new album, was ignited by Flea's thundering bass gallop, and the celebratory tune ("life is beautiful, around the world") kicked off the band's 90-minute effort in appropriate fashion. "Love is the only thing that matters," Flea would later say, a far cry from the risque comments we used to hear from these guys. The first half of the Chili Peppers' set featured some of the group's more melodic and popular songs, such as recent hit "Scar Tissue," the spastic numbers "Suck My Kiss" and "Give It Away," both from 1991's "BloodSugarSexMagik," not to mention Frusciante's brief (and comical) solo version of Elton John's ballad "Tiny Dancer." Simple effects worked well which proves you don't need super high tech help to be one of the best bands out there. Songs played ranged from early years like "Higher Ground" and "Backwoods" to greatest hits such as "Under The Bridge", "Give It Away" and "Suck My Kiss". Included in this batch of gems were hits from their recent "One Hot Minute" CD, like "Aeroplane", "My Friends", "Warped" and "Coffee Shop". The concert rocked out for a good two hours. Pure fun!

Check out their new cd out at > cdnow

By Randy Cohen

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