Kicking off the first date of the UK part of The Getaway World Tour, Red Hot Chili Peppers descended upon London with their funk-fueled, alternative rock and insane energy. As Flea triumphantly addressed to the audience half way through the show, the Chilis have had a special affinity for the British Isles for more than thirty years. This affinity shone through not only the band, but the die-hard fans within the audience as well.
But it wasn’t just the Chili’s that graced the O2; they enlisted the help of a certain Japanese heavy metal band. For those not verse with BABYMETAL, it was certainly a shock to the system. I believe half the audience weren’t expecting what appeared on stage after the introductory insanity provided by the backing Kami band. BABYMETAL, of course, is famous for its juxtaposition of a death metal band backing three teenage girls in co-coordinating outfits and choreography, whilst singing kawaii-infused lyrics promoting young teens to accept themselves and to stand up for what the believe in.
Part of the audience seemed dissuaded by this choice of support group – a lot of people around me got up for beer with a confused demeanor – but those who stayed ended up falling as in love with the band as I have been for the past year or so.
Twenty or so minutes after BABYMETAL vacated the stage – leaving the audience in a mixture of awe and disbelief – Chad Smith, Flea and Josh Klinghoffer bounded out with a spontaneous jam with Anthony Kiedis following close behind, eventually breaking into their first track of the night ‘Can’t Stop’. From there, the Chilis traversed their three-decade long career from 1989’s Mother’s Milk to their latest release – and tour namesake – The Getaway.
One always wonders what big alternative rock bands like the Chilis have up their sleeves in terms of production. Each tour is drastically different from the last, and the band did not disappoint on this occasion. From the over thirty gigs I have been to, I have never seen lighting as enthralling and astounding as what erupted as soon as the band began ‘Can’t Stop’. A large number of light rods on cords cascaded down from the ceiling, producing unique patterns and movements for each song on the setlist. From forming the famous asterisk symbol to emulating calming, Californian waves, it added to the already fast-paced atmosphere of the gig that the Chilis themselves bring out in their music.
The energy that the band leapt on stage with in the first place somehow increased throughout the duration of the show; ending with one of the Chilis most high-powered tracks (‘Give It Away’). So much so that both Anthony and Flea took their shirts off – a bet me and my mum created before the show began about what point either of them would become partially naked – and Flea’s ability to come back on stage on his hands with Chad following close behind conjuring Flea’s ability to do so. Even through the slower songs such as ‘Under the Bridge’ and ‘Californication’, the Chilis were able to transfer their energy to the crowd with us all belting the lyrics back to this legendary band.
I don’t think any person in that arena wanted the show to end. Especially for me personally, since I had waited eleven years to see one of my favourite bands in the flesh. As Flea stated, the Chilis have an infinite love for the UK, there’s no question that they’ll be back sooner than we think.
Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently touring the UK throughout December.