Favourite Live Performance nominee #10 – RHCP


When it comes to music, live performances are arguably one the greatest ways to listen to music. Tours, Festivals, Busking, whatever the weather you can always guarantee that the music fans will pull through and support new emerging talent. Over the past 12 months we’ve been lucky enough to attend some of the summer-weekend festivals, the inner-city gems and even catch bands up and down the country at some of the best venues that the UK has to offer.

A band that has captured a multitude of fans through generations since the early 80’s, pioneering their own species of indie and continuing to absolutely smash live performances, even in their mid 50’s.

Filling out a stadium is one thing, but filling the main-stage festival field is another.

Renowned for their obscurely ingenious lyrics, eccentric personalities and oddball bassist, ‘Flea’, with his inhuman bass playing; in no way did they disappoint as headliners for one of the UK’s biggest summer festivals – Reading and Leeds.

Red Hot Chili Peppers previous two albums received mixed reactions amongst fans, with some claiming that the band have lost the charge that made them such a one-off.

In an attempt to debunk this and regain their iconic status, the Californian funk rockers erupted onto stage, with the same outlandish energy as the nutty 18-year-olds that first broke the industry 30 years ago.

Without ignoring the importance of giving the fans what they want, RHCP threw themselves into phenomenal performances of their die-hard classics; ‘Can’t stop’, ‘Snow (hey oh)’, ‘Under the bridge’, ‘Dani California’ and ‘Scar tissue’.

The world-class bassist who gave the peppers that alternative edge; Flea’s relentless slap-bass playing thundered through the ground, resonating in every one of the thousands of fans crowding to catch a glimpse of the funk-rock enigmas. The insane bass riff in new track – ‘Dark necessities’ – was more of an otherworldly experience than just a live performance.

Entwining new tracks – ‘Go robot’, ‘Adventures of rain dance Maggie’ and ‘Goodbye angels’ into a set that was thick with their most adored songs, gave the band’s new guitarist – John Frusciante – a chance to prove his compatibility with the technical guitar work of previous songs, whilst parading his own fresh talent as the new addition the band.

The opening stand-alone notes of ‘Californication’ sent the entire field into music-evoked elation. The sound of a thousand voices, together singing every word to one of the most iconic songs ever produced  was unforgettable.

Reminding the crowd of his zany personality, Flea slipped in comments between songs of wanting to go on the rides and “vomit on everyone” – charming as always.

An unexpected entrance of Flea’s (assumed) daughter, who backflipped across stage – igniting an eruption across the entire crowd – was definitely a first.

Not long after RHCP had finished their set and proceeded offstage, a nonstop chorus for “one more song” enticed the four back on for a much wanted encore. Bouncing back onstage, Red-hot’s drummer – Chad Smith – recharged the festival. Chanting the lyrics to Queen’s ‘we will rock you’ to Smith’s excited drumming inspirited the rest of the band’s return.

Flea, Keidis and Frusciante soon followed suit and sauntered back onstage, seemingly with enough much energy to play all 13 of their albums twice through. RHCP’s mental state has not aged a single day since they were 18, still flaunting the same bizarre outfits and controversial hair colours. If anything they’ve gained energy in the 33 years since the band formed.

Final Encore song:’Give it away’ was a highlight of their much anticipated headline. Anthony Keidis’ impressively fast vocal performance and the high-octane drumming of the very over-excited Chad Smith felt like a return to 1991 – nonsense lyrics and a narcotic-induced instrumental.

“Peace and Love” – The heartfelt words of Flea seemed a fitting way to end such a phenomenal headline set.

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