Red Hot Chili Peppers rock Egypt’s pyramids

The concert is the first international gig to be held at the ancient site since pianist Yanni in 2015.

By REUTERS
March 17, 2019 20:54
2 minute read.

Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during their concert by the Giza Pyramids on the western outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo, late on March 15, 2019 (Credit: Uri Hochberg)

Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during their concert by the Giza Pyramids on the western outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo, late on March 15, 2019 (Credit: Uri Hochberg)

 
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Californian group Red Hot Chili Peppers played in front of Egypt’s great pyramids of Giza on Friday, entertaining more than 10,000 people at the site and many more over a livestream link.

With the three ancient monuments silhouetted behind the stage, the funk-rock band opened with “Can’t Stop” from the 2002 album By The Way and followed with “Californication,” “Dark Necessities” and other hits.

The concert, held under tight security, was promoted by Egypt’s tourism ministry, which is trying to put the country back on the map as a prime destination after an uprising in 2011 and years of subsequent turmoil scared many visitors away.

“It was a lot of work to get here but it was absolutely worth it,” said fan Christina Robertson, from Madison, Wisconsin, who left five children at home to make the trip. “I’ve always wanted to come to Egypt, I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids, it’s spectacular, it’s a dream, and to see Red Hot Chili Peppers here, my favorite band of all time.”

Efrat resident Avi Levy-Stevenson, a student in Middle East Studies at Shalem College, devoted five days to making the trip with five friends. The journey included a Wednesday night drive to Eilat followed by a 12-hour cab ride to Cairo.

“It was totally worth it, I can’t wait to come back,” Levy-Stevenson told the Post on his way back to Israel Sunday.

Calling the Chili Peppers a band close to his heart, he added, “It was a wonderful show and the setting was incredible. What also made it special was that it was such a small venue, it felt like going to the Tamar Festival or a similar show in Israel.”

According to Levy-Stevenson, the band also contributed to the uniqueness of the event by performing some songs not usually found in their setlist, including a rendition of Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” performed on the piano by guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.
He estimated the number of Israeli who attended the show to be in the hundreds. “People were careful about speaking in Hebrew, but the feeling at the show was incredibly safe. There was a lot of security.”

Singer Anthony Kiedis, bass player Michael “Flea” Balzary and drummer Chad Smith join the likes of The Grateful Dead, Scorpions and Frank Sinatra performing at one of the seven wonders of the world.

The concert is the first international gig to be held at the ancient site since pianist Yanni in 2015.

Fans traveled from 67 countries, said concert organizer Karim El Chiaty, vice chairman of Travco Group.

“I think there’s a big fan base in Egypt and I think for what we’re trying to achieve here today, which is to promote tourism in Egypt, we needed a band of that kind of scale and that influence,” Chiaty said.

Red Hot Chili Peppers have sold more than 60 million albums, won six Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, the same year they performed at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park.

The band is currently on a world tour and working to complete their 12th album following their 2016 release The Getaway.

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