After a long five years (during which some of us waited impatiently), one of the greatest rock bands in this (parallel) universe yet again graced our lives with their return from the dark waters of the taboo phenomenon ‘hiatus’. Short of one John Frusciante, and up one Josh Klinghoffer, the Red Hot Chili Peppers bravely attempted to make their mark on the second decade of the millennium with the release of their new album I’m With You and the launch of their worldwide tour of the same name.
So, as I’m sure die-hard fans of the Chilis out there will agree with me, expectations were high! I can’t be anything but honest — the first listen through any album is always the hardest; we’re all naturally very skeptical. However, despite entering the 60-minute trip through I’m With You with a clear mind, I left confused and expecting a climax the album never reached. Now don’t get me wrong, just like all other Peppers albums this was very easy to listen to, with catchy choruses in ‘Brendan’s Death Song’ and ‘Goodbye Hooray’ (an occasional stroke of lyrical genius from Anthony Kiedis), along with the pleasant melodies of ‘Did I Let You Know’ and ‘Ethiopia’; but I’m With You seems lacking in any true bound-to-be classics, like the ones we had on By the Way and Californication. All in all, it is a very radio-friendly album, and hardly pushed any boundaries like past RHCP gold. Nevertheless, with every new listen I grew more and more impatient to see the quatro perform some of the tracks from the album at the O2 Arena, to which I’d bought a ticket.
Standing in line to see the show that night, biting my nails as the lights went down, I definitely wasn’t ready for the magical two hours which were ahead of me. The roar of cheers which filled my ears and strained my vocal cords as the legends walked onstage set me up for a night I will never forget. True to all stories of their gigs I’d heard from friends who had been lucky enough to see them before, they filled their set with vintage tunes which made the crowd pulsate with pleasure.
Opening up with their newest single ‘Monarchy of Roses’, and then rolling through the classics ‘Can’t Stop’, ‘Scar Tissue’, ‘Throw Away Your Television’, ‘By the Way’ and ‘Californication’, with the occasional track from the new album nestled in between, it’s safe to say the tears rolling down my face when ‘Parallel Universe’ came on (the highlight of my evening) were in no way undeserved. Paired with the emotions emanating from the audience as they sang along to ‘Under the Bridge’, as well as Flea’s impressive handstand, Chad’s generous giveaway of numerous drum sticks throughout the night, and the iconic moment Kiedis took his top off (a perfect piece of DNA), the night definitely merited an ‘epic’ status.
The passionate jams between Flea and Klinghoffer tickled the senses and proved that the latter was worthy of the stage, even when they played the cult ‘Sir Psycho Sexy’ (not one of my favourites, but certainly one which was appreciated by a friend who also saw them) to kick off their encore. Saved in the close by Chad’s moving words of gratitude for the welcoming reception “even after 30 years”, Kiedis’s little hiccup (when he moodily walked offstage after he’d finished singing) was long forgotten; but not the night, which proved to be a dauntless moment in time.
Overall, this may possibly have been a very biased review of the long-anticipated comeback of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as I am a die-hard fan who would probably benefit from putting her memorising skills to good use in her degree rather than just shamelessly recalling lyrics, but to all you similar RHCP maniacs out there — don’t take my word for it — go and see them for yourself! The Peppers are coming back to the UK next year, and I’m definitely not missing out on another treat, so I’ll see you all there!