Setlist History: Red Hot Chili Peppers Live Debut Two in Portugal

The Red Hot Chili Peppers kicked off the European leg of their By The Way Tour on January 24, 2003 in Portugal with live debuts of two songs they'd have second thoughts about.

The tour would be an epic one, spanning 30 countries and 130 gigs over 18 months, in support of their 8th album that nearly had Flea quitting the group. At issue was the lovable bassist felt he was being nudged out of the creative process and replaced with a soundscape of strings, keyboards and guitars.

His familiar bass funk was pushed to the side on By The Way, an LP guitarist John Frusciante wrote much of the music for.

A ticket to the show via RHCP archive.

The irony about the feud between the two musicians is it was Flea who told singer Anthony Kiedis in 1998, after the group had fired Dave Navarro, that the best way to keep the band going was to rehire Frusciante who had been a few years clean after a successful rehab. "The only way I could imagine carrying on is if we got John back in the band," Flea told the singer.

But as is typical in a self-proclaimed dysfunctional group, just a few years later as the guitarist was enjoying "one of the happiest times in my life" writing tunes like the title track and "Don't Stop," the bassist was quietly steaming inside.

Flea was so unhappy he didn't tell anyone, including Kiedis, his best friend since high school. What's stranger is Anthony was ok with that.

“I’m actually glad he didn’t tell me,” the typically shirtless singer told Kerrang in 2006. “Sometimes things like that are a personal struggle. If he had told me when he was going through it, it probably would have just freaked me out.”

Meanwhile Kiedis was penning some freaky lyrics to Frusciante's music. Perhaps the oddest was one of the tunes, "Purple Stain" the band live debuted that January evening at the Pavilhão Atlântico in Lisbon.

The song came from 1999's smash hit Californiacation album, the first record the band released after the guitarist's return. So why didn't "Purple Stain" appear in any of the 139 gigs for that tour? Perhaps it had something to do with the lyrics and subject matter.

Later in the European leg of the tour the Chilis played to 80,000 people at Slane Castle where they filmed the show for a DVD. Purple Stain made the cut and we get to see a clearer picture of Flea in his skeleton suit.

"Purple stain refers to a double entendre of a girl’s hair dye staining your pillow and a girl’s menstrual flow staining your everything," Anthony explained.

While AK's lyrics might be TMI at times, he miraculously was able to put his guitarist's name in a rhyme:

Python power straight from Monty
Celluloid love's got a John Frusciante
Spread your head and spread the blanket
She's too free and I'm the patient

Chili Peppers in Portugal, 2003.

In Portugal after the Chili's performed the song, it was Anthony who was perturbed, complaining he couldn't hear himself in the mix.

Meanwhile it was Flea, sporting a full skeleton suit 17 years before Phoebe Bridgers brought the look back, who focused on the positive vibes by telling the fans, "that was the first time we ever played that song live," and that he hopes everyone felt the happiness and joy.

The other tune that had its live debut that night was "Warm Tape" which epitomizes the issues Flea had with the new direction of the album. Even though his bass is there, those swirling synths, turned up high in Rick Rubin's production, are overpowering.

The one saving grace, Kiedis's line of "the two of us are made of angel's dust."

It didn't save itself, though. After 27 other shows, the band shelved the tune and has yet to wheel it back out.

"Purple Stain," didn't fare much better. It was performed 40 times between 2003-2004, and once more at the Silverlake Conservatory in 2019, which is the children's music school in LA that Flea founded.

The band plays a benefit there each year to raise money for the non-profit.

Only the plague could keep the Chilis from playing the Silverlake Conservatory each year.

Is there a better tune to convince people to open their checkbooks?

Speaking of Los Angeles, Kiedis was on Hollywood Blvd. last Friday to honor Parliament-Funkadelic leader George Clinton who was receiving his well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Anthony introduced the funk legend who famously produced the Chili's second album Freaky Styley.

After having a poor experience recording their debut, they asked their label if Clinton could lead them in a good direction on their sophomore effort.

All parties agreed and the band jetted off to Detroit, Clinton's home, where first they crashed at his place, but the scene was so wild, the band moved to different quarters nearby.

The Freaky Styley photo shoot in '85.

How wild was it? Allegedly Clinton's party favor supplier became upset when the tab couldn't be settled, so the producer asked if the gentleman was interested in forgiving the debt if he became a guest on the album.

Let's just say he was an uncredited guest on the album.

The Peppers, who are all in their 60s now, will be playing a few gigs in February and March to stay in top form before they head out this summer for the Unlimited Love Tour. Tickets available on the Chili Pepper website.

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Last updated: 14 Apr 2024, 22:40 Etc/UTC