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ACL Fest 2017: Red Hot Chili Peppers stretch out on hits old and new

Jake Harris

With a 20-plus-year catalog and more than a dozen hits that are part of the backbone of the alternative rock canon, it was justifiable to wonder how the Red Hot Chili Peppers would change up their well-known party funk personas for their Saturday night headlining set.

The answer: they stretched things out, expanding to a seven-piece at one point with two keyboardists and a second bass player joining founding member Flea’s distinctive sound. While there were hits aplenty the band didn’t hold back from running through lesser-known material from its more recent records, showing how singer Anthony Kiedis has grown as a singer who can croon and sustain when needed.

In a savvy move, the band members dropped short instrumental workouts in between several songs, adding intrigue for the crowd and chewing up roughly 20 minutes of their 95 minute set. That could’ve tested the patience of the audience very easily, but when they repeatedly stuck the landing on modern rock classics like “Suck My Kiss” and slightly more rigid take on “Give It Away,” not many of the cheering thousands gathered in front of the American Express stage were complaining.