Friday night saw one of the biggest rock bands of the last twenty years finally make their debut appearance in Luxembourg as the Red Hot Chili Peppers took to a sold out Rockhal.
More than thirty years on from their self tilted debut album RHCP are still filling arenas and it appears drawing crowds which include kids who weren’t even born during the inception of the band. Eleven albums and countless awards later and the band are still breaking records, this time for the fastest selling show in Rockhal’s history.
Opening the evening was American experimental outfit Deerhoof whose erratic and eccentric pop and rock couldn’t help but bring smiles to the faces of early arrivals. Whilst their set is fun, and frontwoman Satomi Matsuzaki is thoroughly captivating with her fluorescent clothes and energetic high kicks, their sound didn’t quite fill the vast cavern of the Rockhal. You could imagine them being great fun in a smaller venue where the audience would be swept up by their infectious good vibes which were demonstrated by Matsuzaki as she managed to get a mass show of jazz hands from the crowd but like most support acts it’s hard to engage an audience who isn’t there for you.
As the lights dimmed and the cheers began to rumble ever louder, Flea, Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer took to the stage and began to jam before being joined by Anthony Kiedis to more jubilant cries from the crowd. The jam then transformed into their traditional opener of “Can’t Stop” as all of a sudden the intriguing lighting rig that was hovering above most of the crowd came into its own, with baton shaped lights undulating up and down, changing colour and at one moment resting just a couple of feet above the crowd giving the audience the impression that they were in a small club.
Recent events didn’t go without mention as Flea stated “there’s a lot of sad things happening in the world just now but at least we can be happy that Leonard Cohen lived” before rolling into “Otherside”.
With the new album “The Gateway” the band have begun to reign in their eccentricities somewhat with a more muted and focused sound, yet still keeping the essence of the band which was perfectly displayed on lead single “Dark Necessities” as the undeniable slap bass of Flea took us down a road of some Chili Peppers’ funk bliss.
Their swaggering groove meandered a bit through the mid section, as the show was dominated by new material such as “Sick Love” and “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” before the high energy funk covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” and Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” perked the tempo up once more as Kiedis, now with his top off, covered every inch of the stage as the electrifying frontman came into his own.
No RHCP show would be complete without a few jams here and there and as Flea and Klinghoffer faced one another at the centre of the stage before launching into another myriad of riffs, the lights above them turned red and one by one began to lower like drops of blood hovering above, before they kicked into the unmistakable “Californication” which got the crowd scrambling for their phones once more.
They finished the set with the sing-along of “By The Way” only to return for “Goodbye Angels” and one of the great set closers, “Give It Away” as Flea Jumped on the stack of amps to unleash what is one of the greatest funk rock grooves of all time whilst Kiedis whipped the crowd up into a frenzy one last time.
Rockhal – 12.11.16