LIVE: Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Arena, Manchester (14/12/2016)

Date: December 14th 2016
Venue: Arena, Manchester
Support: Babymetal


Anyone who is over the age of 12 and doesn’t know of Red Hot Chili Peppers, or can at least recognise three or four of their songs at a minimum, needs to seriously give themselves a long hard look in the mirror, then spend the next week at home listening to nothing but. Even though their output of material has been far from their peak for at least a decade, RHCP are iconic. Now, with new album ‘The Getaway’ out, it seems like they’re finally heading in the right direction, and hitting arenas to ensure we know the extent of their impact.

Slowly walking to the centre of the stage drapped in black cloaks, Japanese trio Babymetal [8] slowly join their band to the beat of apocalyptic opener ‘Babymetal Death’, and it’s not long before the gowns are cast aside, and Su-metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal show the arena crowd what they’ve got. Admittedly a strange choice for tour support, the metal idol outfit have a bit of a challenge ahead of them with the lack of metalheads before them, but they’ve easily got enough gusto to pull a few new fans. ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’ and ‘Doki Doki Morning’ prove to be both heavy and insanely catchy, even with the clear language barrier at hand. If nothing else, Babymetal are living proof against all of the naysayers who claim that you can’t dance to metal.

With more than three decades under their belt, few bands have the same wealth of experience as Red Hot Chili Peppers [8], or as dense of a catalogue of songs talking about their home state of California. Right after a bit of a jammed out intro, RHCP cut right to the thick of some of their biggest hits to date with a one-two wham of the funky fast-paced ‘Around The World’ and more solemn ‘Otherside’, all the while a good hundred or so individual lights with minds of their own illuminate in a range of colours droop and slowly plummet, occassionally into the shape of their iconic star logo, down towards the roaring and already exhilirated crowd below.

The hits don’t seem to reel back. ‘Californication’ hasn’t seemed to age one bit since it first hit the airwaves back in 1999, ‘By The Way’ still stands as one of the best songs that the band have penned in their career, and their cover of Stevie Wonder‘s classic ‘Higher Ground’ is one of the rare exceptions of a cover that is arguably stronger than its original rendition and performer.

Of course, offerings from their latest record ‘The Getaway’ like ‘Sick Love’ and ‘Dark Necessities’ rear their heads, and definitely get heads bobbing and lungs screaming, but when you’ve got a repertoire of classics at your disposal, and end with one as bombastic and infectious as ‘Give It Away’, it’s hard for these newer offerings to not be reasonably overshadowed by their presence.

They may not be churning out material hitting the same heights as they were between the late 80s through to the early 00s, but at this point of their career, Red Hot Chili Peppers can avoid to be just below the bar. Evidently, when it comes to pulling out all the stops, that’s precisely what they do.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)