Red Hot Chili Peppers captivate Manchester despite not being last act

They may have had their support act missing (for a time) and it may have appeared that they had to finish a tad early to accommodate it. But the Red Hot Chili Peppers – when they were on stage – did anything but let their adoring fans down after six years in the UK wilderness. The gig started off on a somewhat contentious note when support act, A£AP Rocky, was delayed until after the main act due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ (which was never elaborated on), and ended up playing after the Chilis.

It appeared to those in attendance that the delay forced him to controversially eat into the Chilis’ stage time by appearing at 10pm – 15 minutes before the band’s scheduled finish. But when the band were on the stage, all of that was quickly shoved to the back of everyone’s minds. READ MORE: Not-so-A£AP Rocky – Rapper supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers performs set AFTER the show at Old Trafford

The Chilis have been performing – would you believe it – for 40 years. The line up may have alternated over those four decades, but the quartet the Manchester crowd was treated to was as close to the original as you could get. Anthony Kiedis, Flea, John Frusciante, along with the immaculate beats of drummer Chad Smith, know full well how to pull a 25,000 throng into a wave of rock adoration.

Flea at Old Trafford

You knew what you were getting as soon as Flea – dressed in a red vest and ankle length trousers (what else?) went sprinting back and forth across the stage before a note had even been played.

But it was a real indication of some of the mad energy those packed into Old Trafford could expect for the next hour and a half.

John Frusciante

Following a reverberating intro jam, Around the World , Dani California and Universally Speaking were the first songs to get the masses hands in the air, before the more niche but equally well received track I Like Dirt (“The first time we played that was in my garage, and it was as fun as hell”, Flea told the crowd) filled the airwaves. The band followed the crowd pleasers with four songs of their less anthemic beats, and if any criticism can be had of the set, it is that those middle tunes appeared to be some of their newer and lesser-well known works, rather than favourite fan anthems ( These Are the Ways and Here Ever After may be good tracks, but the Chilis could easily have about three albums full of better-known songs to pick from for those in attendance). But the middle section of the set was accompanied by some incredible and at times unbelievable notes from Flea’s and Frusciante’s guitars, the duo filling the gaps between a few songs with riffs that had the lighting stage behind them at full throttle.

Flea, in particular, is a performer whose energy and enthusiasm is something that is forever associated with the Chilis and at the age of 59 (!), that doesn’t look in any danger of slowing down.

And Frusciante, one of the original members of the band before leaving for over a decade and then returning in 2019, showed once again why he is revered as one of the best guitarists in rock. The riffs the duo produced were jaw-dropping, and had the crowd righteously cheering along almost as loudly as for the band’s best-known hits. “I’ll have some mash and bangers and mushy peas,” Flea – who, obviously, hardly stopped hopping – deliriously told the crowd (seconds after asking if there were any corndogs around – nobody was rude enough to shout up asking what they were).

Kiedis isn’t exactly a character to be overawed by those on stage with him, though, and it didn’t take long before he tore his vest off (the bloke is in good nick for someone in his 50s) to revive Chilis’ sets of old. Suck My Kiss , Snow (Hey Oh) and Black Summer (off the newly released and very much well received new album, Unlimited Love) all picked the crowd up, with Californication and Give It Away finishing it off to rapturous scenes, before an encore version of By The Way closed off the night of music.

Incredible guitar riffs, pitch perfect notes and singles that have helped define each decade they were released in is what you expect from any RHCP gig – which says it all for how much they have written themselves into the rock folklore over the years. But it is the mad, infatuating energy the Chilis have been associated with throughout their tenure which has come to define them, and they weren’t letting it down for the crowd packed into Old Trafford. Some may have asked about their preferred songs that went missing on the night.

But how do you play 40 years of classics – plus new singles – into a 90 minute set? It is a near impossible task, but one which the Chilis all but achieve. Fans may have left counting on one or two hands how many songs they love that they didn’t hear played live tonight.

But I can guarantee that on the band’s next visit to Manchester, they will be the first ones back through the gates.

Read more of today’s top stories here

READ NEXT: