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Good ReadsRed Hot Wild Night at Bluesfest with The Chili Peppers!

Red Hot Wild Night at Bluesfest with The Chili Peppers!

Red Hot Wild Night at Bluesfest with The Chili Peppers!

All photos by Andre Gagne.

Move over Santana, KISS, and, yeah, even you Kanye! The Red Hot Chili Peppers may very well have attracted the largest crowd in the over two decade history of Bluesfest.

Day 7 (2 of 17)The rumble that this would be a big one started late Thursday afternoon when it was announced that, due to overwhelming demand, no day-of tickets would be available for the show. The festival would also be adding two additional screens in the main bowl to accommodate the expected crowd. This was a first. A few hours before the gates opened came another announcement. The show had sold out, something that hasn’t happened at Bluesfest in 10 years.

Day 7 (3 of 17)Hours before the festival’s seventh day began, fans were camped out on damp sidewalks and soggy grass waiting…waiting and, then, a mad sprint to the front lines to secure a spot for the show of the summer. Thousands would follow them over the courses of the day.

“The band is awesome and funky and any mood you’re in you can listen to the Peppers. They have songs for everything,” said fan Brendon Wyatt who was dressed in the classic band logo t-shirt along with his two friends. “There’s not an album that’s out there that doesn’t have a good song on it.”

Day 7 (4 of 17)“They are always exciting. Their music is the type you want to sing along to,” Brendon’s buddy Sean Fallon added. “They have a very unique sound. You know a Chili Peppers song when you hear it.”

The band almost became the “Wet” Hot Chili Peppers with thunderstorm warnings threatening to possibly postpone the festival shows for a second consecutive evening. Sam Hunt’s performance the previous night was delayed by an hour.

Day 7 (6 of 17)
Hundreds wait out the weather in the War Museum.

The weather agency was urging people to “remember, when thunder roars, go indoors” but this wasn’t holding anybody back. When the storm hit a few hours before the band was slated to perform, the crowd –and by this point there was a whole lot of crowd– took refuge in the War Museum.

“The Chili Peppers are such a blast to see live. It’s going to be a wet and wild time tonight,” said Marianne Albright, one of the couple hundred waiting out the weather indoors. To her, though, the rain didn’t matter. If need be, this band was worth some drenched clothing.

“It’s always a good time at a Chili Peppers show,” she adds, having seen a few in her 20 years of being a fan of the group. “The band’s music will never die. There are old diehards like me that have been around, you know, but there are also the kids that are in their teens that are just getting into the Chilis. I find that as long as the parents feed the music down to their kids, they will be around for another decade!”

Day 7 (16 of 17)Day 7 (12 of 17)Day 7 (15 of 17)

The weather warning lifted, the crowded took to the field, many parking themselves in front of the two new screens giving the area a Drive-In Movie feel with lawn chairs in place of cars. If there was a spot to be filled, those who came to see the Los Angeles Rock and Roll Hall of Famers would fill it from the stage barricade to the road and back towards the food vendors near the main bowl’s second stage. Even the street was packed not to mention the insanely long lines for beer and bathrooms.

Day 7 (10 of 17)That all dispersed, however, when one of the best drummers in rock, Chad Smith, kicked things into gear. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer soon followed with some riffs. You felt bassist Flea before he appeared on stage, the sound of his Modulus pumping through his Gallien-Krueger amps to reverberate ribcages!

Day 7 (8 of 17)The three set the pace for what would be an extremely frenetic 90-minute set, working the crowd up with a building funky rhythm that only released them –only for a moment– when singer Anthony Kiedis bolted onto the stage in a blaze of colour and energy to merge the jam into 2002 hit “Can’t Stop”.

And they didn’t stop, pausing only once or twice to address the crowd. Outside of Flea asking us all if we wanted to join him fishing on the Ottawa River after the show, it was wall to wall music with older tracks like “Under the Bridge”, “Otherside” and “Scar Tissue” joined by cuts off the band’s most recent release, The Getaway. A few couples got up to dance in the big screen glow when the band started playing “Californication”, their romance cut short by a loud cry from beside the screen.

“Take off your shirt,” shouted a woman so far back she’d need a megaphone and a miracle for Kiedis to hear her but, nevertheless, she got her wish.

Off came the shirt for the encore’s “Give It Away”.

Day 7 (14 of 17)


  1. Intro Jam
  2. Can’t Stop
  3. Dani California
  4. Scar Tissue
  5. Dark Necessities
  6. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
  7. Right on Time
  8. Otherside
  9. Tell Me Baby
  10. The Getaway
  11. Guitar/Bass Duel
  12. Californication
  13. Sam Jam
  14. Go Robot
  15. Under the Bridge
  16. Detroit
  17. By The Way


  1. Chad/Josh/Flea Jam
  2. Soul to Squeeze
  3. Give It Away


Ottawa Life’s Festival City Series will provide a unique look at some of your favourite summer events.We’ll go beyond the music with artist interviews, volunteer profiles, concert reviews and spotlights on the tastes, sights and sounds of the festival season. Your city! Your festivals! Your summer! Like a good sunscreen, Ottawa Life has you covered.

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