Red Hot Chili Peppers at Isle of Wight Festival (14/06/14)


Forever dividing opinions, the cult band seemed to have surprisingly mixed reactions from the crowd. On talking with and overhearing numerous festival goers, I found that the set I had enjoyed was not loved by all. With one drunken older member of the crowd shouting “they’re shit” at every person he stomped past as he irately left the main stage area. Personally I was not blown away by the set, preferring smaller stages and bands to overcrowded audiences screaming to a band that is never going to hear them.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are legendary, earning global fame and recognition. Life hasn’t always been so sweet for the four piece, with a constantly changing line-up and years of struggling before finally achieving fame. However, having one a total of seven Grammy’s, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and performing at the Super Bowl halftime (the most watched in the history of the Super Bowl), it is easy to say they have gotten rid of the demons of those days of relative anonymity. Their fame and musical prowess is plain to see, whether you look at the figures or the sheer hysteria of the fans.

The main stage at the Isle of Wight Festival is a huge expanse of space. Whenever I saw the musicians emerging from side stage it took me by surprise that indeed they are the height of a normal sized human, rather than a giant that the stage could potentially house. However, the personalities of the four piece are enough to fill up the space. The graphic backdrop was colourful and vibrant, displaying varying images, from giant shots of each members face to cartoons of Hollywood, even scantily clad caricatures of women.

With the appearance of each band member came a chorus of deafening screams from the audience, particularly for crowd favourites Flea, and Chad Smith. The band immediately launched into their 90 minute set, opening with ‘Can’t Stop’. Keeping their traditional loose, jazzy sound, the group were seemingly relaxed and in their element in front of the 50,000 person crowd. Their set included 12 songs ranging across their entire discography, with an encore of ‘Give It Away’.

The band supplied as much banter and comedy as they did music, even with Flea jokingly admitting to his relationship with Chad:

‘The whole time the Chili Peppers have been going, me and Chad Smith have been gay lovers… Every night after the show we go back to the room and cuddle naked in bed together.’

Overall, as debateably one of the hardest nights to headline, Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a stellar set, merely enjoying the experience of being up on stage. Their fame is becoming of them, with such laid back confidence in the face of such a large audience. Although I was not blown away by their performance, they are perhaps slightly out of my generation of music, and perhaps would be enjoyed by a slightly more mature member of the audience. As their only UK performance of the year, it was an essential set to see at the festival.


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Head of Events for The Edge magazine. Keen concert goer and angry feminist. Shared recycled oxygen on a 12 hour flight with Foals.

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