Red Hot Chili Peppers


Croke Park, Dublin

Thirty years of bouncing around onstage in your beach shorts can take its toll on your knees, but when the Red Hot Chili Peppers bounded onstage, they were determined to prove their cartilage could still take the pressure. Singer Anthony Kiedis, sporting a pervy moustache, stalked the stage like a demented biker from a 1970s B-movie, while bassist Flea twisted his tiny frame into myriad rock-monster shapes. Later, he’d traverse the stage on his hands, just to prove he could still do it.

The stadium may have been sporting a large bald patch towards the back (that darn recession again), but the attendance was still respectable, and it was clear from the get-go that, although the band’s music may have become tepid of late, their fans’ ardour hasn’t cooled.

The set-list featured some of the band’s greatest hits, including Otherside, Can’t Stop, Universally Speaking and Californication, along with songs from their new album I’m With You, their first in 15 years without their totemic guitarist John Frusciante, who has quit the band for the second time. New guitarist Josh Klinghoffer proves a good replacement, able to bring on the funky stuff on Suck My Kiss, Give It Away and their cover of Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground, but also capable of unleashing a bit of raw metal power when needed. And he can solo while doing scissor kicks – a vital and fast-disappearing skill.

Frusciante may have been the architect of the band’s best work, particularly the 1999 album Californication, but at least Klinghoffer spurs the other three to push the envelope on stage. Songs were prefaced by short, snappy jam sessions between Klinghoffer, Flea and drummer Chad Smith, and the set-list leaned towards their more uptempo tunes, Under The Bridge providing the evening’s only pause for thought.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers may be reheating their greatest hits and feeding off past glories, but at least they’re not creaking into the sunset.