The start of the Red Hot Chili Peppers world tour could not have started better, with a sold out than 56,000 fans in Seville and 49,000 in Barcelona, bordering on the maximum capacity of the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, estimated at 50,000. A feat within the reach of very few, but we must bear in mind that RHCP have been together for almost four decades making music. Their bassist Flea and their singer Anthony Kiedis turn 60 this year and drummer Chad Smith is already turning 61. But for them, like the Rolling Stones, time doesn’t pass. They keep jumping around and showing off muscle, tattoos and a bare chest. They don’t look their age.
They have found a magic formula, which they continue to explore on their twelfth studio album Unlimited Love –published on April 1st and number one in 16 countries– that motivates this world tour. Shortly before, in March, they achieved a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was discovered by her teacher George Clinton, a great influence on the group that makes funk one of its reasons for being.
Another is rock, a facet assumed by the band’s guitarist John Frusciante, who has returned to occupy the position after years absent. His work is decisive, not only in his role as a soloist, combining technique and mastery of effects pedals, but as a support vocalist, giving a very pop nuance to the songs, in perfect counterpoint to the smoother Kiedis; this, alternating rap and melodic singing, becomes the third driving vector of a band that brings together a very diverse audience.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
An hour and forty minutes of hymns like ‘Give it away’, ‘Snow (Hey ho)’ or ‘Californication’
That it is so transversal has to do with the fact that they are capable of attracting pop fans, with songs suitable for radio formula, and also those who like the rhythmic and virtuoso thrashing of the three instrumentalists. Not in vain, the beginning of the concert is a jam presided over by Flea, playing the bass in key slap as if it were percussion. They heated up the atmosphere for the first explosion with can’t stopwhich was followed by another rhythmic cannon shot in the form of Dani Californiain whose crescendo Frusciante shines as a disciple of Hendrix.
Funk is another of his great strengths and Flea is for that. His bass lines are the backbone of the RHCP sound. He alone already fills the stage.
It is understood that they dispense with props since the show is them and their music; as commercial as the catchy Snow (Hey Ho) or hymns other side, Californication Y under the bridgebut without losing the essence of a thug and punk origin.
Led by Chad Smith, a drummer who is a true rhythm machine, they swing from The Zephyr songwhich is pure pop sixtieswith vocal harmonies a la Beach Boys, at the frenetic speed of Right-on-time. Some new songs, case of whatchu thinkin, will easily become part of his canon, with a mixture of funk, pop, psychedelia and hard rock. Instead, others like The heavy wingwho played live for the first time, seem more bland.
left for the end Give it away, his most emblematic song, a discharge of high-voltage rap and rock, the epitome of a sound at its best. The encore remained, topped by a bay the way which is yet another symbol of his achievements in marrying epic melody and rhythmic ferocity. They played a total of one hour and forty minutes and with them they brought two luxury opening act. First Thundercat, a bass prodigy who you can imagine playing with Miles Davis, and also a refined falsetto singer akin to classic soul. Plucking a custom six-string bass is reminiscent of a cross between Jaco Pastorius and Marvin Gaye.
Just as impressive were the three quarters of an hour of the historic rapper Nas, accompanied by a DJ, in charge of the rhythms and scratch, and a drummer. It was a forceful and suggestive hip hop session old-schoolwhich sounded steely and street and at the same time very groove. A kind of funk-hop with which nothing is deprived, be it adding loops of female soul choirs or build the theme hate me now about him Carmina Burana. With imaginative pre-recorded bases, some with the forcefulness of the big beat warmed up the atmosphere managing to inflame a crowd already fully prepared for the download of RHCP, in what meant the return of the great capacity concerts in a big way.