Monday 22 January 2018


eamon sweeney

croke park, dublin

Red Hot Chili Peppers used to sell more records in Ireland than anywhere else in the world. They've also made a regular habit out of bringing over cracking support acts for Irish shows, namely New Order, Pixies, PJ Harvey, Queens of the Stone Age and now, Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds.

Back in the day, Oasis played Lansdowne Road rather than Croker, but Gallagher did tog out for a Mancunian GAA club against Kilmacud Crokes in 1983. Nearly 30 years later, he's hung up his boots but sold millions of albums. While its still early doors for his solo career, he's already done pretty well, especially considering little brother Liam's efforts in Beady Eye. Unsurprisingly, it's still the Oasis numbers that work the arenas well, with 'Don't Look Back in Anger' going down a storm.

The Chili Peppers are a great band on paper, but they've effectively become a dull and highly predictable brand. It's a shame, because they're fantastic musicians and extremely colourful characters. Any band would benefit from personalities as strong as Anthony Kiedis and Flea, which makes it all the more baffling that their music has got so bland.

They're still a somewhat compelling live proposition, blasting out of the traps with a thundering 'Monarchy of the Roses' from their recent album I'm With You. In the absence of former guitarist John Frusciante, it's the pouting bass machine that is Flea who really carries this band. It comes as no surprise that Damon Albarn and Thom Yorke both poached the bassist recently.

In the late '80s, the Chilis were famous for performing with socks covering their manhood. They still know how to goof around, but for the most part keep most of their clothes on, with the obvious exception of Flea's tattooed torso.

An unexpected but highly effective cover of Stevie Wonder's 'Higher Ground' injects a lot more zest into their performance, as they set their guns to stun with the big ones -- 'By the Way' and 'Give It Away'.

They do deliver good value and a bit of bang for your buck, but there's no escaping the fact that they're a watered-down shadow of their former selves.

They've just been inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, which more often than not really is the ultimate kiss of death -- a watershed moment that's about looking back rather than striving forwards. Looks like Axl Rose and the Sex Pistols might have been right all along.

Irish Independent

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