The Red Hot Chili Peppers played an emotional set yesterday (May 1) to close the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, filling the slot vacated by Foo Fighters following the March 25 death of drummer Taylor Hawkins. Hawkins’ widow Alison and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl were on hand for the performance, which Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith played on a kit featuring “Taylor” spelled out on his kick drum, encircled by a white hawk.
“This means a lot to us to be able to play for them,” Smith told the audience following the set and then led them in a cheer of “We love Taylor.” Smith and Hawkins were close friends and performed together as recently as last fall during Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder’s annual Ohana Festival.
Although Grohl was watching from the wings, he did not appear on stage yesterday. The artist did, however, drop by Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “Midnight Preserves” benefit concert the night before to watch The Who’s Pete Townshend guest on several songs.
Beyond being dedicated to Hawkins and the Foos, yesterday’s Chili Peppers set also marked its first full show since 2019 with longtime guitarist John Frusciante back in the band. As previously reported, the Peppers are touring extensively this year in support of their recent album, Unlimited Love, which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.
Foos vibes were also strong during an earlier Sunday set by New Orleans band Dumpstaphunk at Jazz Fest. The group, led by the legendary Ivan Neville, covered the Foos’ “Best of You” during its performance.