June 10, 2012


Bonnaroo 2012: Red Hot Chili Peppers By the Numbers

Aubree Lennon for Fuse
Aubree Lennon for Fuse

"That's what makes them awesome," one person told me before Red Hot Chili Peppers' headlining set at Bonnaroo Saturday night. "Phish is for the hippies. You either love or hate Radiohead. But everyone loves at least some Chilis songs."

Maybe not everyone, but I see his point. With their debut album 28 years in the rear-view mirror, the kings of funk-rock's reach now spreads across generations. Can anyone out there honestly say they don't like any RHCP song?

Saturday night's set cherry-picked from the band's landmark album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, focusing on the group's poppier, more melodic life since 1999's Californication. Live, though, tracks like "Dani California" are more muscular thanks to each member's interminable energy; each song sounding like they're playing it for the first time. Here's the complete breakdown:

Number of songs: 19

Percentage of songs from Californication onward: 68%

Number of seconds it took for someone to grab this view-obstructing piñata and fling it into the crowd once the show started: 5

Number of words said by Anthony Kiedis to make four girls behind me scream and remark on his beauty: 1 ("Hello")

Number of band members with the same outfit: 2 (Kiedis, Flea)

Number of songs before Kiedis took his shirt off: 2

Number of 80,000-person sing-alongs: 1 ("Under the Bridge")

Number of "Bonnaroo-y" things said by Flea: 2; "Be kind and gentle to your neighbor" and "It's good to relax and not get too tense."

Number of shoutouts Flea gave to his 6-year-old daughter Sunny Bebop: 1 ("Hi Sunny. I see you on the computer.") 

Number of steps Flea took while doing handstands across the stage before the encore: About 30

Number of covers: 2 (Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground," "Underdog" cartoon theme song)

Number of times Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer dropped to their knees and played on the floor: 1 ("The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie")

Number of bands Flea announced his love for at Bonnaroo: 5 (Radiohead, the Roots, Santigold, St. Vincent, Dumpstaphunk)

Number of bands Kiedis showed love to via his hat: 1 (L.A. hardcore supergroup Off!)

Number of instruments used in the encore that caused everyone around me to say, "What the hell is that?": 1 (Percussionist Mauro Refosco's cuica, a Brazilian drum often used in samba music)

Check out more of our Bonnaroo coverage, including the best moments of day 3, and best live photos.