Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Gonzo Report: Red Hot Chili Peppers inspire passion in the pit

Heat and Magik at Mission Valley’s Snapdragon Stadium

Hey John Frusciante! It’s the Johns!
Hey John Frusciante! It’s the Johns!

On Snapdragon Stadium’s opening day, I recall hearing stories about how the sun melted a college football crowd into a dank mess. This much is true: the new stadium, although modern and affable, fails to provide any sort of shade for us first world bitches. Fortunately for us, on this particular day, the May gray is back with full coverage. Our skin remains unblistered. Still, I plan to get melted, not by the sun, but by the Mars Volta and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are popping in to penetrate our city’s big, new, noisy box.

It’s Friday, concert day. Before burning down the I-8 West to Mission Valley, my coworker Victoria and I stop to stock up on beers and tacos for tailgate time. Parking at the stadium costs an eyebrow-raising $50, but considering the price of food and drinks inside, we agree it’s worth it to be able to party by our car. Our friend Chris B. Creme is already waiting for us. I throw Victoria two twenties for the parking; she’ll buy my first beer inside. Deal? Deal. Beers range from $16-$19, and food — well, it’s typical stadium robbery.

Chili Peppers in full melt mode.

Just outside our gate, I notice a grassy hill behind the merch tent. “Excuse me a minute,” I say to my friends, before ripping off a couple of somersaults to the bottom, then going back up and doing it again — because we have the time, and I have the inclination. Brushing off the grass from my shirt, I then enter with the others and orange bands are wrapped around our wrists, indicating we’re allowed to go where few achieve access. The pit’s entrance is swarming with around a half-dozen security guards, who wave us in. I’m usually the guy looking for alternative ways to the front from my shitty seats, but tonight’s different. I actually paid for good tickets.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Listening to a recent Rick Rubin podcast, I heard the famed music producer describe the Chili Peppers as reaching transcendence on a very regular basis. Rubin said, “It’s wild being in the room. We just look at each other kind of dumbfounded, because you can’t believe what’s happening.” This is something I want to witness, and the pit puts me as close as I can be.

During The Mars Volta set, a fan wearing bunny ears and a leather bomber jacket keeps shouting for the Johns to assemble. His name is John, and he has found five other Johns. Then six. A short while later, one of the Johns finds his dad, who’s also John. I tell the bunny-eared John to make the John gang so big that Mars Volta guitarist John Frusciante hears about it and has no choice but to become a part of the collective. I believe in him, but lose sight of his efforts when the Chili Peppers hit the stage. We make our way to the middle of the crowd and, once at the center, stop and get comfortable. Then a voice from behind echoes over to us. “Hey, I think the ladies were here first,” says a young fella to me. Sure, we budged a little, but it’s the pit. You get in where you fit in. We move over a little more to appease them. I still feel their ballistic heat vision on my neck, but I hardly care.

A couple of songs into the set, a person wearing a ladybug costume starts crowd-surfing from behind us toward the stage. As they pass by, they kick the back of my head, knocking off my hat and sunglasses. When I go down to retrieve them, one of the hostile women sees her chance to reclaim her spot ahead of us, rushing in for a calculated blitzkrieg. I make my way back up, start fist pumping to “Can’t Stop,” and feel a bony elbow jamming my side. The woman is beside me now, chicken winging my ribcage like a xylophone. That’s the pit spirit, lady. “I know you and your little girlfriend budged, but we’ve been waiting here since six o’clock,” she spits.

“All is fair in love and war and rock and roll,” I calmly reply. To ease the tension, I fire up a joint. After a crackling hit, I extend the fresh doobie to the angry woman as a peace offering. She scoffs at me as I let her by. With her moving back ahead of us, all parties seem satisfied. I tilt my head back, flare my nostrils wide, and begin breathing in forty years of Chili Peppers. No need for blood, sugar, or sex. I’m only here for the magik.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Del Mar Beer Fest, Shark Summer at Birch Aquarium

Events July 21-July 24, 2024
Hey John Frusciante! It’s the Johns!
Hey John Frusciante! It’s the Johns!

On Snapdragon Stadium’s opening day, I recall hearing stories about how the sun melted a college football crowd into a dank mess. This much is true: the new stadium, although modern and affable, fails to provide any sort of shade for us first world bitches. Fortunately for us, on this particular day, the May gray is back with full coverage. Our skin remains unblistered. Still, I plan to get melted, not by the sun, but by the Mars Volta and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are popping in to penetrate our city’s big, new, noisy box.

It’s Friday, concert day. Before burning down the I-8 West to Mission Valley, my coworker Victoria and I stop to stock up on beers and tacos for tailgate time. Parking at the stadium costs an eyebrow-raising $50, but considering the price of food and drinks inside, we agree it’s worth it to be able to party by our car. Our friend Chris B. Creme is already waiting for us. I throw Victoria two twenties for the parking; she’ll buy my first beer inside. Deal? Deal. Beers range from $16-$19, and food — well, it’s typical stadium robbery.

Chili Peppers in full melt mode.

Just outside our gate, I notice a grassy hill behind the merch tent. “Excuse me a minute,” I say to my friends, before ripping off a couple of somersaults to the bottom, then going back up and doing it again — because we have the time, and I have the inclination. Brushing off the grass from my shirt, I then enter with the others and orange bands are wrapped around our wrists, indicating we’re allowed to go where few achieve access. The pit’s entrance is swarming with around a half-dozen security guards, who wave us in. I’m usually the guy looking for alternative ways to the front from my shitty seats, but tonight’s different. I actually paid for good tickets.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Listening to a recent Rick Rubin podcast, I heard the famed music producer describe the Chili Peppers as reaching transcendence on a very regular basis. Rubin said, “It’s wild being in the room. We just look at each other kind of dumbfounded, because you can’t believe what’s happening.” This is something I want to witness, and the pit puts me as close as I can be.

During The Mars Volta set, a fan wearing bunny ears and a leather bomber jacket keeps shouting for the Johns to assemble. His name is John, and he has found five other Johns. Then six. A short while later, one of the Johns finds his dad, who’s also John. I tell the bunny-eared John to make the John gang so big that Mars Volta guitarist John Frusciante hears about it and has no choice but to become a part of the collective. I believe in him, but lose sight of his efforts when the Chili Peppers hit the stage. We make our way to the middle of the crowd and, once at the center, stop and get comfortable. Then a voice from behind echoes over to us. “Hey, I think the ladies were here first,” says a young fella to me. Sure, we budged a little, but it’s the pit. You get in where you fit in. We move over a little more to appease them. I still feel their ballistic heat vision on my neck, but I hardly care.

A couple of songs into the set, a person wearing a ladybug costume starts crowd-surfing from behind us toward the stage. As they pass by, they kick the back of my head, knocking off my hat and sunglasses. When I go down to retrieve them, one of the hostile women sees her chance to reclaim her spot ahead of us, rushing in for a calculated blitzkrieg. I make my way back up, start fist pumping to “Can’t Stop,” and feel a bony elbow jamming my side. The woman is beside me now, chicken winging my ribcage like a xylophone. That’s the pit spirit, lady. “I know you and your little girlfriend budged, but we’ve been waiting here since six o’clock,” she spits.

“All is fair in love and war and rock and roll,” I calmly reply. To ease the tension, I fire up a joint. After a crackling hit, I extend the fresh doobie to the angry woman as a peace offering. She scoffs at me as I let her by. With her moving back ahead of us, all parties seem satisfied. I tilt my head back, flare my nostrils wide, and begin breathing in forty years of Chili Peppers. No need for blood, sugar, or sex. I’m only here for the magik.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Del Mar Beer Fest, Shark Summer at Birch Aquarium

Events July 21-July 24, 2024
Next Article

Shorebirds active in local tidal zones, full buck moon on Sunday

Extreme high tides this weekend, perfect for grunion grabbing
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.