Having grown up to the comforting sounds of Anthony Kiedis’ vocals, it is safe to say that anyone who knows me would say that I would have given up my life for these guys. Every time someone tells me that the Chilis have had their moment in the sun, or that they’re awful live, I’ve refuted as strongly as humanly possible. But after seeing them 10th December in Birmingham’s Genting Arena, I finally learned to admit the cold, hard, truth – my favourite band are dead.
Perhaps it’s just down to the fact their most recent album is incredibly disappointing, or that I feel guitar rock has become somewhat redundant, but I didn’t feel like I got my £60 worth in any which way.
First, let’s start with the warm up act, BABYMETAL. Aside from the fact that they’re Japanese and therefore can’t enjoy their lyrics if you don’t understand the language, their music is certainly not something you can get hyped to, let alone dance to. Certainly a far cry from their uplifting 2011 warm up act, Fool’s Gold, we made a conscious decision to give this act a miss and unregrettably so.
After doors opening at 7:30, the band came on almost an hour later (what a surprise) and opened with the well loved classic, ‘Around the World’. Now I was pleasantly surprised at the set-list, considering there were obscure unreleased tracks from their 2006 ‘Stadium Arcadium’ release. Songs like ‘Hey’ and ‘She’s Only 18’ somewhat confused the older fans in the audience, but nevertheless, the set-list was a suitable balance of old and new.
However, if it wasn’t for the visuals in the stadium, I would have not been half as interested as I was. The selling point of the show had to be the arena’s candle-like coloured tubes that were raised and lowered into the audience. If it wasn’t for that and the filtered effects on the electronic screen in the background, this concert really wouldn’t be something to scream about.
There were some feeble attempts to interact with the audience by Flea, with him singing a little ditty about how ‘Coventry is the place to be’, all while professing his love to the audience. When the concert was finally over, Chad Smith threw his drumsticks into the crowd and chanted ‘peace out!’ as he left the stage. Quite frankly, a boring ending to a boring performance. There’s no doubting the fact that the Chilis are tired, having started in 1983 and now reaching their mid-50s. Having looked at previous performances, the band appear as if they’re forced to be on stage, rather than by choice. Flea desperately attempts to be his younger, drug infused self as he performs a handstand on stage, and Anthony does his usual kicks and jumps but it’s all been done before, and a lot better at that.
All in all, while their music will always be timeless, it can never evolve any more than it has. John Frusciante left at the perfect time – his solo music has evolved into something magical. He explores electronica and the marriage of technology and music, ever relevant for our fast developing world. The Chilis on the other hand, are stuck with ever dulcet tones as they blend into the background alongside their rock and roll counterparts.