An Old Man's RHCP Experience

Is it me, or have concerts changed?


There are a lot of things that make this 30 year old feel old: talking to children, watching TMZ and not recognizing any of the celebrities, hearing about “new” Apps and music that actually dropped about a year ago, knowing that I could sit down and have a beer with someone born in 1991 …

The list goes on.

Ever so slightly, my coolness (or whatever the hell the kids say nowadays) is fading away. Soon I’ll be spewing stories that start off with the phrase, “When I was a kid …” Spewing off those stories, driving slowly with my blinker on and wearing my pants up to my nipples.

Well, as of right now, my pants are where they should be, my sports sedan was just inspected and approved for use on race tracks  … so that just leaves the stories.

Who knew going to a rock concert would be the source of one of those “When I was a kid” stories?

Last weekend, a group of friends and I went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform at the Core States Center, er … Wells Fargo Center. The band is on its “I’m With You” tour, and is still relevant — still putting out solid albums that translate well to live music. (Well, even if the band weren’t relevant, I still would have shelled out the money to see them — they’re my hands-down favorite band.) 

And shell out we did. Each ticket cost a shade under $70, but I’m not sure if that was before or after I extended TicketMaster the “courtesy” of letting them take my money.

Walking up the steps, it became clear that our seats were going to be within a stone’s throw from Charles Barkley’s retired number; we could touch the acoustic tile, as our seats were in the second from the last row.

“How did this happen?” I muttered to my friends and a couple of strangers. We bought the tickets as soon as they became available online so they must have been doled out at random, something to do with algorithms, IP addresses and the strength of the Yen, I suppose. I heard the concert sold out in less than in hour.

It made me remember one of the bigger concerts I went to when I was kid in high school. Dave Matthews was coming to the Vet and I think Santana opened up for him. It was the late ‘90s … so this lineup was nuts. My friends and I decided to go to this show — as did everyone else in the high school. And how did we secure good seats?

We camped out, that’s how.

Even though the interweb was around, the easiest way to get the seats was to camp out in front of the Strawbridge’s store at the Willow Grove Park mall and wait for it to open.

Dave Matthews, Strawbridge’s, The Vet … oh, the ‘90s!

Another one of my, “Remember when” moments came during the RHCP concert when I bought two beers — one for my brother and me. They were Heinekens, they were cold, and the clerk told me the price was offset by the fact that they were being poured by a seasoned beer-pouring professional. Still, I thought to myself, “Remember, self, when two beers didn’t cost $27?” I’m not embellishing the price. 

Looking back, the strangest thing about the show was the fact that about half the audience was trying to divide its time. It’s as if they were saying, “OK, how much of this should I chronicle for my friends on Facebook?” I find it hard to enjoy music while simultaneously playing the roles of “junior, fake ‘Rolling Stone’ reporter,” music fan and “popular Facebook guy.”

Honestly, I tried to snap a couple of pictures — turns out, my iPhone 4 non-S has a pretty crappy camera and I don’t think my friends really need those pictures.

Regardless of our altitude, and me harking back to the way things were, the show was fantastic. The playlist started off with:

  • Monarchy of Roses
  • Can’t Stop
  • Scar Tissue
  • Pea
  • Dani California, and then
  • Flea pandered to the audience by saying, “The Sixers are going to put the [long expletive] hurt on the Celtics!”

At least Flea seemed to be just as I remembered him from prior concerts.


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