Ho-o-ot Chili

The tattoos are picante!

The hike up to the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise isn't an easy one for southern-dwelling Miamians. But we slogged through ridiculous rush hour traffic to see the last show of the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Gnarls Barkley tour, and for the most part, the traffic sufferation was worth it. We arrived just in time to hear Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse kick the evening off with a rumbling version of "Just a Thought." Even though the crowd was just filing in, the Humpty Dumpty-shape frontman led them through an oddly lusty sing-along of the song's chorus, "And I've tried/Everything but suicide/But it's crossed my mind."

"This next song is what they call an instant classic. Oh yes, it is the reason I am so very rich and famous today," Cee-lo crowed. The "G-Strings," a quartet of long-haired, sexy violinists, launched into the opening strains of a flawless version of "Crazy" and the ever-growing crowd went wild. Gnarls was generally good, but Cee-Lo explained the lack of costumes, bells, and whistles that the band has become known for. "This is the last show of the tour, so we're just here to party and get fucked up with y'all," he yelled, as he unbuttoned his voluminous white shirt, and removed his tie to reveal a wife beater straining at the gut. Awesome.

One critique of the BankAtlantic Center, and I think it's a valid one — the fast food stands and bars only accept cash. There is one ATM in the whole place. And it's the fucking BankAtlantic Center. Seriously, that is just ridiculous.

The ATM line was insanely long, but thinned out enough for us to get some cash as the Chili Peppers started their set. They'd already whipped through "Can't Stop," "Dani California," and "Scar Tissue" by the time we made it to our seats. All in all, RHCP turned in a surprisingly mellow show. They pleasantly surprised older fans with a pounding version of "Blood Sugar Sex Magik," and "Snow (Hey-Oh)" got the crowd singing and swaying.

Songs like "Right on Time," "By the Way," and "Californication" featured a lot of back-and-forth noodling between Flea and John Fruiscante, which let the audience's energy lag. Anthony Kiedis seemed to be having a great time hopping and strutting around the stage like a crunk Mick Jagger, but his mysterious disappearance during the encore left fans confused. The fans waited in the darkness, and turned the Center into an ocean of waving, illuminated cell phones while pleading for more. The band returned and performed "I Should Have Lied," possibly the most depressing song from Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and followed that up with a note-perfect version of "Give it Away." At the end of the song Kiedis muttered something into the mike and ran off stage, leaving his three band mates to jam for about twenty minutes before it finally dawned on the audience that hey, this guy isn't coming back. What happened, Anthony?

-- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse