Red Hot Chilli Peppers – A Gig Review
RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS @ THE APOLLO MANCHESTER
Hey…………………Oh, twenty years may have caught up with the Chilli’s.
As a veteran of the distinctive funk, rock, pop combination I am well versed in the expectations the Chilli’s bring at any event anywhere on the planet. The enthusiastic, melodic amalgamation of funk, rock pop sounds have provided a generation of music lovers with any number of anthems to define the moments and memories of their lives. However, as melancholic as it is to say this throughout the set I found myself pondering whether or not the Chilli’s have finally grown up.
In their heyday the Chilli’s were the very definition of cool. Sexy, talented, rebellious, wild and free. Remember this is the band that ditched all traditional stage attire for a single sock. They had hordes of groupies, endless supplies of booze and drugs, their youthful good looks (well, their long hair), money and fame. Today however, as an impartial observer to me they resembled the oldest swingers in town (if you discount The Rolling Stones, obviously).
I am perhaps being overly critical. They are a testament to the adage ‘whatever doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger’. Individually they have battled drink and drug demons over the years that have clearly influenced their lyrics. If nothing else their collective infusion of experience, talent and devotion to each other and music in general is something to be impressed by.
I saw four men whom after twenty years of playing together still enjoy what they do. Their passion is clear for all to see and it is somewhat uplifting to become immersed in their world for an hour or two.
An intelligent track listing guided the Chilli’s through an indifferent night. The typical instrumental opening was followed by fans favourite Can’t Stop complete with Kiedis jumping, darting, diving and dancing around the microphone stand each time missing his cue by several seconds. Anthems from BloodSugarSexMagick followed with limited crowd reaction, though Californication provoked a rapturous applause from the 30,000 plus crowd.
With Kiedis looking like he was on the verge of a hernia he retreated behind the stage to the sound of guitarist John Frusciante virtuoso improvisations. Seemingly completely oblivious to his surroundings or conscious of the fact that he has thirty thousand people’s eyes upon him, his melodic rifts engaged the audience and for those few moments united us all.
Ironically upon Kiedis return he was apologetic for his brief departure the clouds begin to darken and spouting some rhetoric concerning Manchester United the crowd responds with a chorus of boo’s. Quickly retorting he signals to drummer Chad who launches into ‘Give It Away’ and all is forgotten.
This serves as obvious indication of the music and message of the Chilli’s. They seem almost retro. Like skinny jeans. The irony being that the once ‘coolest band in the world’, have finally past their sell by date. Yet they still seem to draw attention. Yes the gig is notably impersonal. Yes they do seem ridiculous sometimes bounding around on stage. Yes their message is somewhat antiquainted, but maybe that is the Chilli’s. They exist on a different plane and have always let the music speak for itself. This is their comfort zone and when a formula has worked for twenty years why change it?