it's the fans that make or break bands

Red Hot Chili Peppers – O2 Arena, London

O2 Arena, London
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7.0 10 Good

Golden Oldies are gratefully received by the Pilgrims…

Twenty-eight years in the industry, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have certainly lived the rock and roll lifestyle. Death of a band member and close friends in the early years through drugs and alcohol, it’s almost as if some of the band members are living as a cat being blessed with nine lives.

It is refreshing to see they are living clean lives these days, ridding of drugs and swapping alcohol with Green tea. But this is showing through their music and the edgy, punk, funk rockers seem to be retiring this popular, iconic style they created all those years ago.

Five years on from their award winning Stadium Arcadia release, the Chili’s latest offering ‘I’m With You’ is their tenth studio album, welcoming Josh Klinghoffer as the permanent replacement for John Frusciante sees them growing up and slowing down their famously fast paced and much loved funk sound. Klinghoffer’s impact is hugely noticable with the inclusion of keyboards and dare I say it, many songs, particularly ‘Happiness Loves Company’ sounding very ‘pop’. It seems as if the band are in a stage of their lives where for once everything is going swell but because of this the raw lyrics from other albums are missing. Klinghoffer is certainly talented but Frusciante’s absence is definitely felt.

As a result, the band’s first appearances since playing in the UK in four years would be interesting. The LA punk rockers played only a handful of their new songs perhaps preferring their old style live and this was certainly appreciated by many of the audience members at the gig.

Nearly thirty years in this industry with Kiedis not far off fifty years of age, he is full of energy, in fact they are all running around on stage just like they were back in the old days, wearing very little with only their socks to protect their modesty. Their new lifestyles’ of Fatherhood, Green tea and calm are really beaming through.

With little interaction with the crowd at the O2 though, it does bring it back home how they aren’t keen on sharing the stories behind songs many of us desperately want to hear. Unknowing to what their inspirations are we are left to guess ourselves.

The gig was high voltage with an effort to produce a stage show being at what could be argued, quite a sterile venue for the band. It was welcoming to hear their older, funkier songs and to be honest, that’s one of the reasons I was eager to see them live again. It was clear who were old faithful fans enjoying the nostalgia with just as energetic versions of ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘Me and My Friends’ as there were when they were first being played in the early years.

Hopefully, by the time of their show next year in June at Knebworth, they will have warmed to the audience, enjoying the open air venue and will have opened up a bit to reveal to the crowd, ‘I’m With You!’

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