Red Hot Chili Peppers Shoot Up London!

by Andrew Future | 09 March 2003

London Docklands Arena - Saturday 8 March

A world beater. Someone who successfully proves their success, overlording all and recognised as the best. Tonight, a world beater is anyone who manages a last minute blag into the first of the Chilis' two packed out dates in London. Standing in line to see the show tonight, VF can't help but wet its pants with anticipation for the mighty V Festival (note the new name), which features the Foo Fighters and QOTSA as well as tonight's hosts, LA's Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Your humble narrator was little over a year old when then quartet made their UK debut at Camden's Dingwalls club some twenty years ago, and though it's been a long time coming, their success pretty much outshines every other band on the planet.

Making the change from sock-cocked party funksters to stadium filling rock gods was made a tad easier by giving up the smack which claimed their original guitarist. Fuelled with a newly glossed out, melodically sixties edge, the Chilis have never sounded so consistently good as they do on their latest squillion selling LP, By The Way, the lead song off which, opens tonight's mammoth celebration.

Blame them if you will for influencing nu-metal, but the world has few better rhythm sections that Chad Smith and Flea. As the virtuoso bass player, skin glistening from the outset, pounces around, throwing poses and basslines with the complexities most lead guitarists can only dream of, Anthony Kiedis, sweatshirted (for now) is also typically bouncy, reminiscent of a new puppy, leaping excitedly around like you'd think it's the first time he's used a wireless mic.

The vast majority of tonight's eighteen song set swoons around the wondrous anthems that make up their two most recent LPs. Melding 'Scar Tissue', 'Around The World' and the title track from 'Californication' with a myriad of new songs and inter-song jazz instrumentals, there's never any let up. Aside from John Frusciante warning against crowd surfing, they say little and don't need to. Kiedis tells us his band mates jam so he can rest, and aprt from the odd bit of off-key flatness, his voice is in fine form. From the blissfully elegant 'Zephyr Song' to mighty 'Give It Away' it's a physical impossibility not to be moved to your feet, to tears and then back again by the Chilis. Any band that has room in their set to omit the likes of 'Cabron', 'Minor Thing' and 'Dosed' (all standouts on the latest album) has a lot to answer for, and they do, encoring with 'Under The Bridge' and 'Me And My Friends'. (The sight of Flea walking across the stage on his hands as the band reconvene is worth the ticket price alone!)

Kiedis.declares Joe Strummer as his favourite ever Englishman, and as the band belt through the opening thirty second of 'London Calling' the Clash man's memory and extensive influence is still as undeniable.

Red Hot Chili Peppers may well bare the battle scars of band that has toured for twenty years, gone to the brink and refreshed it all with sobriety and yoga, but their thrilling new sound and consistently untouchable musical skills crucify pretty much every band on the planet. That's the true test of world beater.

To see the rest of our exclusively fantastic RHCP live photos click here.

Set list:

By The Way
Scar Tissue
Around The World
Universally Speaking
Parallel Universe
Zephyr Song
Throw Away Your Television
Don't Forget Me
Purple Stain
I Could Die For You
Right On Time
Warm Tape
Can't Stop
Give It Away
Under The Bridge
Me And My Friends

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