Red Hot Chili Peppers have confirmed that their instruments were not plugged in during their Super Bowl performance on Sunday (February 2).
The band appeared as guests of Bruno Mars at the half-time show at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. The performance attracted the largest audience in the history of the sporting event, pulling in 115.3 million viewers.
During the show, many social media users commented that the band’s instruments did not appear to be plugged in. Blues guitarist blues artist Joe Bonamassa tweeted: “Flea… I mean we all know, but for god’s sake at least try to humor the children.” Former Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid writing: “That guitar is plugged into NOTHING.” You can see for yourself in the video below.
In a long message on the Red Hot Chili Peppers website, bassist Flea explains that the bass, drums and guitar were not amplified or plugged in, but the vocals were.
He writes that the band were offered no other option by Super Bowl organisers NFL, and following careful consideration decided to go ahead and appear at the event in spite of having to mime.
“So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal, like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it… We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig.”
He adds that the decision not to pretend to be plugged in was deliberate. “Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance.”