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A much-awaited return, a stadium that was practically full, and a crowd that were willing to have an amazing night; it was the perfect set up for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to come back to Manchester.
A little warm-up to get the crowd going was the support act Fools Gold, a five-piece band also from Los Angeles who played a 45-minute set. They had a unique sound and I rather enjoyed their music, but nothing could compare to the atmosphere that was created the moment the lights went down before the main act – believe me, this atmosphere was electric. A buzz of excitement swept throughout the MEN Arena and almost everyone was on their feet in anticipation.
Anticipation and excitement that had been brewing for over five years for the return – finally – of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to the UK. A roar of excitement echoed around the arena as Antony, Flea, Josh and Chad walked out onto the stage.
From the very start Anthony Kiedis provided a crazed enthusiasm that oozed off the stage and captivated the audience, jumping and dancing all over the stage encouraging everyone to let their hair down and have some fun. Intriguing backgrounds to each of the songs they played kept the performance fresh with a new lighting scheme and pattern being introduced for each.In between songs their infamous bassist Flea kept the audience entertained with odd conversation fillers that the crowd lapped up.
Surprisingly, the band only played three songs off their new album, but having said that it seemed that the classics were going down a storm. The exception was ‘The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie’, which the crowd absolutely loved and was met with rapturous applause and cheers once played.
You know you have created a fantastic track when you are almost drowned out by your fans singing their hearts out. The Peppers’ performance of ‘Under The Bridge’ was a timeless track demonstrating that 10 years on, everyone can still recall the lyrics and wants to show their appreciation of this classic.
To end, the massive hit ‘By The Way’ – very probably the best song of theirs to finish on, a mixture between fast moving verses and a slow chorus that the crowd really enjoyed.
Like every good band the lights remained off ready for the encore, inspiring fans to go crazy with screaming, clapping, feet stamping, and the classic chant of “we want more!” The Peppers played three more songs – but for two of them, the crowd seemed to be tired, or, even worse, bored. The difference in the crowd’s attitude was really surprising; many people around me were stood with their arms folded, and understandably so, as it was hardly the encore I expected.
Luckily, it was briefly saved by the huge ‘Give It Away’, which once again had every one moving and even caused a mass outbreak of crowd surfers. But unfortunately, this save was short lived. A self-indulgent instrumental that seemed to go on forever had people leaving long before the last note was played. The premature disappearance of Kiedis caused disappointment as many fans waited for him to reappear in an amazing stunt or last chorus or something. But he did not come back and the gig suddenly fell flat, like all of the energy that had happened before no longer mattered. It was an unsatisfactory end to what was an otherwise brilliant gig.
However, the energy of the main show was intense, with vivid light shows and colour schemes, some classic songs and some great new ones too. Unfortunately not the 10 out of 10 show I was expecting, but still an amazing night and I would highly recommend watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers; even in their old age, they still know how to put on a show.