Many people consider the Red Hot Chili Peppers to be on a slight decline in their careers at the moment. Since the departure of legendary guitarist John Frusciante, and 2011’s I’m With You, which wasn’t necessarily a hit amongst the fans, the music world was left apprehensive about what would come next from the Californian rock royalty. However, ‘Dark Necessities’, a stellar first single from their new album quickly changed this, leaving people excited and hopeful for the new album. It didn’t disappoint either, containing songs such as the incredibly funky ‘Go Robot’, the smooth tones of ‘Sick Love’ and the wonderfully intense ‘Goodbye Angels’, it really was a return to form. And on the back of this success, they looked to conquer the UK once again.
Firstly, however, were Japanese group Babymetal, who many considered to be an odd choice as a support act. By their first song, ‘Babymetal Death’, they had already changed people’s minds. Their unique blend of poppy vocals and heavy metal instrumentation really seemed to resonate with the crowd. They finished their set with the insanely catchy ‘Karate’ and fan favourite ‘Gimme Chocolate’, really leaving the crowd in an energetic mood for what was in store for the rest of the night.
Following a short pause, the Red Hot Chili Peppers announced themselves by playing their famous intro jam, before launching into the familiar riffs of ‘Can’t Stop’. A rather subdued performance from frontman Anthony Kiedis was made up for by the boundless energy of bassist Flea, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and the powerful force that is drummer Chad Smith. The band seemed to show no complacency, immediately rushing into the popular ‘Dani California’, and the beautiful ‘Scar Tissue’. These old favourites were contrasted by a range of new material, with ‘The Getaway’, ‘Sick Love’ and especially ‘Go Robot’ being amongst the standout performances of the night. Despite this, the best performance of the night would almost definitely go to the emotional ‘Under the Bridge’. It was nice to see that the old classics haven’t lost their impact over 20 years later. The encore performance was somewhat underwhelming, including only ‘Dreams of a Samurai’ and the anthemic ‘Give it Away’. A heartfelt message from drummer Chad Smith at the end went down well with the crowd, but it did very little to aid the feeling that the night was missing something. Maybe it was the setlist, maybe it was the lack of Josh Frusciante, or maybe it was down to individual performances, but the show could have been so much more.