Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Review, O2 Dublin
red hot chili peppers
REM have called it a day. U2 have talked about quitting next year. But 28 years after first getting together, the Red Hot Chili Peppers juggernaut rumbles on relentlessly.
Unlike most of their similarly sized peers, RHCP haven't had to rely on their old hits to keep the wagon wheels turning. Some of their best-loved songs are quite new and tonight, material from 'I'm With You' -- their latest album -- fits in well with the more venerable anthems.
Founder members Anthony Kiedis and Michael 'Flea' Balzary will both be 50 next year and long-term drummer, Chad Smith, has already reached this milestone age, but with their super-energetic performances and ripped bodies, they are halting the ravages of time remarkably well.
At one point, when Kiedis takes to the stage walking on his hands, you would be forgiven for wondering if you had happened upon a circus rather than a rock show.
But this is a rock show, and for the best part of two hours the California-based outfit demonstrate why they're among the best in the business. The aforementioned trio are an exceptionally tight unit, musically, and in newcomer Josh Klinghoffer, they have a virtuoso guitarist in the same vein as former member John Frusciante.
Sensibly, the band sprinkle the new material among the established songs and deliver the big guns from the off. Crowd favourite 'Dani California' is the second song played, and it's followed by one huge funk-inflected rocker after another. 'Throw Away Your Television' is particularly potent and 'Can't Stop' finds Kiedis in impressive form vocally.
It is to their credit that the band mix the tempo and moods successfully. There's a gentle version of 'Scar Tissue', as well as a sparse take on 'Under the Bridge'. The early part of these songs features Kiedis and Klinghoffer performing together. It's a compelling minute or two, and the 14,000 present remain reverentially silent.
Unfortunately, RHCP have an annoying tendency to jam self-indulgently and tonight is no different. And there are several moments where the noodling guitar and bass lines sound like the band are rehearsing in an empty room.
For the most part, though, this is a band very much in tune with their fans and Flea, as he has frequently done at Irish concerts, delights the crowd with a short blast of 'Amhran na bhFiann'. This cynic wonders if he has memorised the opening line of other national anthems, too? Expect to hear "Sinne Fianna Fail" sung in an American accent when the band play Croke Park on June 26.