What a difference five years and playing in your bass player’s city of birth on Australia’s national day makes.
Unlike their much-panned last visit in 2007 where they looked like they didn’t want to be here (and delivered one of the most disappointing shows I’ve ever seen), the Red Hot Chili Peppers were brimming with energy and tore up the stage as they closed the Melbourne Big Day Out last night.
Those who managed to survive the gigantic crush to get into the D-Barrier (I saw at least five people around me get plucked out due to all the pushing) and those from afar were treated to a vastly-improved and super-hearty dose of the showmanship and on-stage chemistry which the band have become so well loved for.
And leading the way was the man of the moment – Flea – who you could tell was amped for the occasion. If mentioning that “my placenta is spread all over this town” wasn’t enough, doing a handstand across the stage to pick up his bass at the beginning of the encore was an Australia Day treat if I’ve ever seen one.
The setlist wasn’t as good as the Sydney or Adelaide BDO’s (I’m still craving to hear Scar Tissue and Around The World one day) – but old-school fans would have still walked away pretty happy with what they got to see. Seriously, can you really complain with a final four of Under The Bridge, Suck My Kiss, Californication and By The Way, before Higher Ground and Give It Away in the encore?
And while many Chili devotees are still ruing former guitarist John Fruciante’s departure, his replacement, Josh Kliffhonger, has gone some way to filling his gigantic shoes. You just had to look at his frantic jamming with Flea and Chad Smith on several stages during the night, and his wailing at the end of The Adventures Of Raindance Maggie for emphatic proof of that.
Yours truly was very lucky to receive a copy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers setlist from the Melbourne Big Day Out last night. Check it out below.
** Factory Of Faith was replaced with Suck My Kiss.
A full review of the Melbourne Big Day Out – and a feature on the food served up at their culinary offshoot – Chow Town – will be up on Music Feeds later today.