The weather in Ottawa didn’t always cooperate for Bluesfest-goers over the past couple of weeks. Whether it was ironically watching The Cult belt out “Rain” under a downpour or patiently waiting out a thunder and lightning storm for AWOLNATION and Sam Hunt almost a week later, ponchos and rain boots were the outfit of choice at the city’s LeBreton Flats more than once during the annual event’s 9-day run.
But grey skies and muddy grounds did nothing to dampen the spirits of the almost 40,000 Red Hot Chili Peppers fans who flocked to the site this past Friday, setting a new record of attendance for the festival’s 20-something years. And by the time the Chilis took the stage, the seemingly incessant rain had stopped and concertgoers had packed out every square foot of space, even flocking to the top of the Canadian War Museum to get a better look at the stage or one of the screens set up around the park to accommodate the overflow.
And they did not disappoint. After a lengthy intro jam, they jumped right into “Can’t Stop” and proceeded to fill the next 90 minutes with a funky mix of old classics and new tracks from their latest album The Getaway, with the occasional jam thrown in to keep the audience in suspense of what was up next. They even incorporated not one, but two tributes to Joy Division in honour of what would have been frontman Ian Curtis’ 60th birthday. Anthony Kiedis sounded better than ever and the boundless energy from Flea, Josh and Chad fell nothing short of expectation.
Toronto will have to wait some time to catch RHCP’s The Getaway tour. Currently, the only other Canadian stop is for Montreal’s Osheaga on July 29 before the band heads to Chicago for Lollapalooza, followed by Europe for the rest of the year. But stay tuned: while nothing has been announced as yet in terms of a North American headlining tour, it’s hopefully something we can look forward to next year.
Dark Necessities (preceded by jam of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control”)
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Right on Time
Tell Me Baby
Under the Bridge (preceded by Josh solo tease of Joy Division’s “Atmosphere”)
By The Way
Soul to Squeeze
Give It Away