Having been to many gigs of bands from various genres, I’ve found myself noticing the fans as much as I pay attention to the musicians. Different artists tend to attract different age demographics and usually the fans of the band will also mirror the fashion sense and general style of their idols. Today, however, was an exception. There was no one-word generic description that applied to the congregation gathered at Marvel Stadium. Everybody was here, and the reason for that, is that everybody loves the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Post Malone was a special guest on this tour with the Peppers and many of the fans had turned up early to ensure that they wouldn’t be late for his set. It was a performance jam packed with some of the biggest hits of his career, including songs like Better Now, I Fall Apart, Rockstar and Sunflower. Post Malone performs with so much passion and intensity and you can feel the love from his audience. After every song he takes the time to reiterate how much he appreciates the support from his fans and from the response you can clearly see that the feeling is mutual.
During an acoustic performance of Stay he invited a lucky fan to join him on stage to play the guitar while he sang. In true blue Aussie fashion, Post Malone even took the time to do a “shoey” which won him even more of the crowd’s approval. His fans love his music but I think they love him even more because of how much he cares for them and makes them feel special.
Fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been waiting for well over a decade for the reunion of the band and guitarist John Frusciante. The funky monks were back together again, and I was lucky enough to be among the fans that witnessed their return. John Frusciante, Flea and Chad Smith strode out on stage and immediately went into one of their signature improvised jams that they are well-renown for. The chemistry and artistry were incredible to see live. Constantly feeding off each other, they conversed musically while building the tension for what was to come next. As the jam came to its apex, Chad Smith signaled the transition with a roll on his snare and Anthony Kiedis and the band entered seamlessly into Can’t Stop and following that up with Universally Speaking.
Many years ago I watched a live DVD of the Peppers performing at Slane Castle. That show is one of the single greatest live performances I have ever seen and all these years later watching them, it was as if the years that passed have had no effect on them. They sang, they played, they danced with the same joy as someone who had discovered music for the first time.
I could write endlessly about how impressive each member of the Peppers are but it is truly so captivating when they play together that I was undoubtedly awestruck. Four separate musicians who almost appear to connect with each other on a telepathic level. Playing with a level of virtuosity usually only seen by jazz veterans, and yet they find a way to deliver it so that their music is instantly accessible by anyone.
Crowd favourites, Californication and By The Way drew some of the most raucous responses of the night and I felt the floor of the stadium quake as tens of thousands of fans danced the night away. Just as our fluttering hearts felt like they could take no more, the Red Hot Chili Peppers returned to the stage for an encore and rewarded us with Under The Bridge and Give It Away. This was much more than a gig, it was a tick-it-off-the-bucket-list event. I never imagined the day would come when I would get to see the Peppers with this line up and now that I have, I’m still pinching myself as I reminisce.
There is an old joke about jazz music; it says that a jazz band is a group of musicians who are enjoying themselves more than the audience. In the case of the Peppers, we the fans clearly enjoy bearing witness to their artistry - yet I have a strange feeling that somehow they still might be having a better time than all of us. After all these years they still exude so much joy in playing their music with each other. This is the reason they started a band. This is the reason I fell in love with playing music. And that my friends, is nothing short of pure magic.
You can still catch Red Hot Chili Peppers one more time in Melbourne before they head off to Perth for the final show of this tour.
Thursday 9th Feb 2023 @ Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
Sunday 12th Feb 2023 @ Optus Stadium, Perth
Tickets available here