There are not many bands who can make an evening at Birmingham’s cavernous LG Arena feel like a night at a 100-seat nightclub. But then the Red Hot Chili Peppers are not just any band.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
review by Andy Richardson: photographs by James Watkins
There are not many bands who can make an evening at Birmingham's cavernous LG Arena feel like a night at a 100-seat nightclub. But then the Red Hot Chili Peppers are not just any band.
On Saturday, they thrilled 12,000 fans during the first of two sold out LG Arena shows by making them feel as though they were watching an intimate invitation-only showcase.
Make no mistake, the Chili Peppers remain one of the world's greatest rock'n'roll acts; they're a rock-funk circus who remain as sharp as a razor despite being 28 years into their career.
The fact that they're playing at the LG rather than, say, Villa Park, or Coventry's Ricoh Stadium, is not reflective of a malaise. Far from it, next year, if you want to see them live you'll have to fork out for a ticket at Knebworth.
On Saturday, they mixed songs from I'm With You with a smorgasbord of hits, including Californication, Universally Speaking, Under The Bridge, Higher Ground, Give It Away and a storming version of By The Way.
The two-hour set mixed rock, punk, psychedelia and funk with dizzying aplomb with frontman Anthony Kiedis prowling the stage like a demented big cat.
Bassist Flea was inspired, rocking back and forth like a caged polar bear on speed as he hammered out insistent riffs while drummer Chad Smith and new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer were sensational showmen.
The Chilis have been one of the world's biggest bands for 20 years, following the release of 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and their powers are not on the wane.
The weekend's two shows in Birmingham felt as though they were just limbering up, ready for their triumphant return to the UK for mega-gigs at Knebworth and other stadiums in the summer of 2012.