Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers

SHANE DE BARRA
Last updated 08:39 15/01/2013

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Fans could be forgiven for wondering if the Red Hot Chili Peppers still possessed the energy that has made their live shows the stuff of rock legend over the past few decades.

Millions of albums sold, worldwide adoration and a household name status might be enough to sate the appetites of lesser musicians, but not this crew. When you come to pay worship at the altar of Anthony Kiedis & Co. you get the full treatment.

When this band is on form their energy is infectious and they proved that again in Auckland last night. Taking to the stage at Vector Arena for the first of two concerts, the band opened with Monarchy of Roses before launching into a wonderfully crunchy version of Around the World.

From early on in the gig, Kiedis and bassist Flea worked their fans into a frenzy that had the packed venue buzzing. Scar Tissue, Look Around and Snow (Hey Oh) showed the crowd were up for it. Luckily the band were too. Some great mini-jamming interludes bridged the gaps between most songs and were to be a feature of the night ahead.

After a brief David Bowie cover to mark the great man's 66th birthday, the show kicked on with grunt and purpose. The funky beats of Can't Stop and Throw Away Your Television were delivered before the beautifully cathartic Under the Bridge brought the whole venue to its feet.

Crowd pleasers such as Suck My Kiss, Californication and By The Way all followed. Such was the high tempo of the gig, the band lost their way slightly in the latter song but, as professionals do, they quickly got back on track.

Drummer Chad Smith led a chorus of 'Ole, Ole' with his bass drum and found the crowd in fine voice before Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer launched into a grungy interlude that sounded more Soundgarden or Alice In Chains than Chilis. But it didn't matter, it still went down a treat.

It was pleasing to see Klinghoffer seem so at ease on stage with the band. Guitarists in the Chilis have operated on a revolving door policy down the years and filling the boots of the wonderfully talented John Frusciante - perhaps the band's best fit - is no easy task. But Klinghoffer made the stage and sound his own, and any man who can play the guitar standing at an angle low enough to limbo while wearing the world's most elastic trousers is pure rock n roll.

A trio of classics - Higher Ground, Soul to Squeeze and Give It Away - ended a concert that could have gone until the early hours of the morning. Given the energy on display last night it would seem this band are a million miles from stopping any time soon.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

WHERE: Vector Arena, Auckland

WHEN: January 14

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