After closing their performance with a rendition of “By the Way,” drummer Chad Smith — whose drum kit was emblazoned with “Taylor” — grabbed the mic to remember his departed friend.
“We just found out about this [gig] two weeks ago, because Foo Fighters were supposed to play here tonight,” Smith said, alluding to the fact the Chili Peppers took over a headlining spot that the Foo Fighters vacated following Hawkins’ death. “We love the Foo Fighters, and we love our brother Taylor Hawkins. So this means a lot to us to be able to play for them.”
Smith noted that Hawkins’ wife, Alison, was in attendance for the performance, and also said “the guys in the band are here.” It’s unknown which members of the Foo Fighters may have been at the show. “We love them. We love Taylor,” Smith declared, before encouraging the crowd to chant in unison: “We love Taylor!”
Watch Chad Smith Honor Taylor Hawkins
Earlier in the week, Smith told Billboard that he and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had been in contact with Alison and planned to make their set a “celebration” of Hawkins. “That’s what she wants,” Smith noted. “She doesn’t want it to be anything other than, ‘Let’s celebrate music, let’s celebrate our friends, let’s celebrate Taylor. This is what he would want and he would be very happy that you guys are playing and he would want it be nothing but a positive experience.’ So we’re going to do all that and she’s going to be part of that and I’m very honored that we can do that with her. … We’re going to play our hearts out.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers weren’t the only act paying tribute to Hawkins this weekend. At the Beale Street Festival in Memphis on Friday night, Sammy Hagar and the Circle — who, like the Chili Peppers, had replaced Foo Fighters in the lineup — dedicated a rendition of “My Hero” to the late drummer.
Watch Sammy Hagar and the Circle Perform ‘My Hero’
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Funk rockers have delivered some timeless classics … and a couple of forgettable releases, too.