September 27th, 2023, went down as a historic evening for rock lovers. The filled to near-capacity Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA reverberated with the eclectic sounds of two monumental acts – the incomparable Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) and the avant-garde brilliance of St. Vincent.
Opening the night was St. Vincent, the mesmerizing stage avatar of American musician Anne Erin Clark. Clark’s musical journey commenced as part of the Polyphonic Spree, further broadening her horizons with Sufjan Stevens’s touring ensemble. By 2006, the world was introduced to St. Vincent as a solo act. That evening, her setlist transported fans through her musical chronicles. With tracks like “Digital Witness,” “Down,” and the hauntingly beautiful “Your Lips Are Red,” she painted the arena with her intricate arrangements and a vast soundscape of instruments. Already a three-time Grammy awardee, St. Vincent’s performance was a testament to her artistry, captivating everyone present.
The energy surged to a new level as Flea, with his characteristic flamboyance, handstand-walked across the stage, signaling the onset of the RHCP set. With origins tracing back to Los Angeles in 1982, the band’s lineup currently boasts of legends like Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, and John Frusciante. Their genre-blending music – a cocktail of alternative rock, funk, punk, hard rock, and more – has earned them a spot in the annals of rock history, with a staggering 120 million record sales to their name. The stadium came alive as the Peppers blasted their classic hits such as “Around the World,” “Snow ((Hey Oh)),” “Californication,” and “Black Summer.” But what made the evening truly unique was an unplanned surprise. Although “Under the Bridge” was penned on the handwritten setlist, in a delightful turn of events, they graced us with “I Could Have Lied.” A personal favorite of mine, this addition to the encore added a deep, emotional layer to the evening’s high-voltage performance.
The evening was a testament to the evolving landscape of rock music. St. Vincent’s experimental tones seamlessly merged into RHCP’s legendary energy, crafting an unforgettable musical tapestry. The unexpected encore was the cherry on top, ensuring the night was etched in the memories of all those present. Rock truly was documented that night in Hershey, PA!