Monday January 14th, 9.15pm. Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.
Exit the annoying, so-called “punk supergroup” OFF!. Who spent a huge chunk of their set lecturing the naive crowd about American politics. Enter the rock and roll hall of famers, the Red. Hot. Chili. Peppers. The crowd surge, barge and explode with excitement. Without too much delay Chad Smith, Josh Klinghoffer and the iconic duo of Flea and Anthony Kiedis arrive on stage. I am literally almost crushed to death by the sweaty, heaving tide that is the army of Chili’s fans. Before I have a chance to gather my surroundings or process what is unfolding before my eyes, the band dive head-first into the opening track of 2011’s ‘I’m With You’. This was it, the moment I had waited for for years had finally come. One of the predominant bands of my childhood were kicking into gear metres away from me. Fuck yes.
For two and a half hours the new-look Chili’s jammed out to the sold-out Auckland crowd. Performing a set list which included all their stock standard hits, with a few surprises such as an apparently unrehearsed cover of David Bowie’s ‘What in the World’. Their full set-list was:
Monarchy of Roses
Around the World
Snow ((Hey Oh))
What in the World (David Bowie cover)
She’s Only 18
Throw Away Your Television
The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
Right on Time
Under the Bridge
Suck My Kiss
Factory of Faith
By the Way
Higher Ground (Encore)
Soul To Squeeze (Encore)
Give It Away (Encore)
The personal highlights for me were ‘She’s Only 18’, ‘Throw Away Your Television’ and ‘Soul To Squeeze’. Simply because I did not expect them to be played. As soon as I heard the distinctive driving bass line of ‘She’s Only 18’ I lost my mind. As I did when I had the first revelation of ‘Throw Away..’ and ‘Soul To Squeeze’. Basically I lost my mind the entire time. As expected the crowd lapped up all their greatest hits and sing-a-long’s which were all equally epic. And a full on mosh-pit formed for the hectic ‘Right on Time’ off Californication, where I along with many others was almost crushed, suffocated and knocked out. It all added to the experience and I wouldn’t have changed it.
Although Kiedis was noticeably ill; leaving stage between most songs,sipping mysterious potions and remedies in the background and constantly clearing his sinuses onto the stage, he delivered an impressive performance to say the least. It’s no secret that he is not the strongest vocalist in the world, and I did not go in with extremely high hopes but to his credit he performed exceptionally well, even mustering up the energy to jump and prance around like a shadow of his younger self. Those who have read his autobiography Scar Tissue know that at times live performance are a huge struggle for his body.
The ideal situation would have been John Frusciante musically masturbating in front of me, however I came to discover that Josh Klinghoffer is a really fucking amazing guitarist. Upon the release of ‘I’m With You’ and the naming of Josh as John’s replacement I had been sceptical, but this showing from Klinghoffer really changed my opinion. In fact his performance urged me to look deeper into his musical background, this led me to discover his orgasmic experimental band Dot Hacker (more on this band to come later).
The Chili’s life expectancy may be ever-shortening, but one thing is for sure; they still know how to fucking jam. They put on one hell of a show. The passion, fire and funk is still there, with Flea’s provocative, impromptu speeches that ranged from blowjob offers, cleavage, world peace, and his love of live music proving the band’s spirit had not been dulled by old age. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for the funky foursome, and would fucking love to see them in the flesh again!
(credit http://www.cheeseontoast.co.nz for the images)