Red Hot Chili Peppers / Neil Young And Crazy Horse: Hollywood Palladium

Neil Young and the Chili Peppers bring out the big hits in support of rehab counsellor Gloria Scott...

Those visiting loved ones in maximum-security prisons are unlikely to face the level of inspection and scrutiny that every one of the concert-goers attending

‘A Night For Gloria’, a benefit show for Hollywood rehab counselor Gloria Scott, starring the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neil Young And Crazy Horse. A guard runs a metal detector up and down each and every patron, while a second line of security forces attendees to empty their pockets and then proceeds to get know show-goers in a way few lovers do. Cigarettes aren’t allowed in and even a critic’s pen is considered a potential weapon, and not just a metaphorical one.

It’s in the dispute over the admissibility of this exact writing object that the

opening set by Thelonius Monster is missed. However, according to Event Staff 39, who is manning the photo pit in his yellow windbreaker, “They sucked,” and you know what impeccable taste he has.

In between sets noted DJ Paul Oakenfold is spinning, but as he plays nothing more cutting-edge than Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Fatboy Slim’s once omnipresent ‘Rockefeller Skank’, you really could believe it was any club hack if it weren’t for the KROQ disc jockey, who comes on stage and identifies the invisible man playing the faceless hits.

Neil Young’s arrival on stage with his long-time backing band gives a gathering that paid $65 a ticket their first real reason to applaud. Adhering to a set list comprised of past favorites that includes ‘My My Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)’, ‘Love and Only Love’, ‘Cinnamon Girl’, ‘Cortez The Killer’ and ‘Like A Hurricane’, Young’s tenure onstage prompts a contingent of balding men with glazed looks to shuffle around aimlessly and high-five one another somewhat inaccurately, until the finale of an extended wash of piercing feedback and distortion puts paid to the set.

Although solid, Young barely addresses the audience beyond one brief “How are ya?” and one gets the sense his bus leaves the building not long after the feedback dies down.

After more garden varieties from Oakenfold, the Red Hot Chili Peppers stumble out like the old Gashouse Gang, with guitarist John Frusiciante flopping onto his back for guitar solos and singer Anthony Kiedis executing a series of moves that would be considered skating tricks if he had a skateboard underneath him.

Before an audience that includes Tom Morello, Rick Rubin, Woody Harrelson and Kiedis’ mom, the Chili Peppers take their turn at playing jukebox, with Frusciante’s scratchy guitar work on ‘If You Have To Ask’ the highlight of a string of tunes from ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’. Although both bands play full and accurate sets, there’s little other than the relative small size of the venue to distinguish this show from any other and one hopes the feeling of doing good and helping Gloria Scott outweighs the sense of being slighted.

Colin Devenish