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Review: Greg Phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne

It’s been a minute since the kings of California have graced our shores and the ten of thousands of fans who’ve snapped up tickets to this tour were super keen to indulge in their fave brand of funk, rock ’n rap. With two new album releases in 2022, the band would seem to be chomping at the bit to perform them here too. As always the Red Hot Chili Peppers bring along an interesting party partner and supporting this time, Post Malone most graciously accepted their invitation.

Appearing out of a cloud of smoke, Post Malone aka Austin Richard Post launched into Wow from his 2019 album Hollywood’s Bleeding. Performing on this massive stage to such an expansive audience, the wow factor was tangible. I Like You (A Happier Song) followed, his current hit with Doja Cat.  No stranger to the top end of the ARIA charts, Post Malone gave the audience exactly what they wanted and gauging by the passionate singalongs, I imagine quite a few tickets would have been sold based on this man’s inclusion on the bill. For the best part of an hour he delivered his hits, Circles, Rockstar, Psycho and White Iverson.

If the crowd wasn’t already bessoted with the American singer, songwriter, rapper and producer, then his ‘shoey’ sealed the deal. Dressed in the shorts and shirt he likely threw on earlier in the day and lighting up a smoke like he’s about to take a cue to a pool table rather than perform a song to 50,000 or so people, his stage presence is as casual as anyone I’ve seen. Malone is a man of the people and speaking of people, audience member Toby is invited to the stage to accompany Malone on guitar during Stay, another of the guy’s heartfelt hits. The level of joy and appreciation coming off the stage tonight was reciprocated by the vocal Marvel Stadium crowd.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers burst onto stage in a haze of lights and proceeded to jam out the cobwebs, following up with Can’t Stop, a song everyone was familiar with, off their hugely successful By The Way album. Leading up to the Melbourne shows, there’d been criticism of the band’s Brisbane and Sydney set lists, with too much weight placed on the newer material. In all fairness to the band, the pre-tour publicity was all about the celebration of 2022’s Return of the Dream Canteen and Unlimited Love. Recent tours by other legendary artists like Billy Joel and Elton John have programmed our minds to expect a parade of greatest hits but The Chilis aren’t done yet and are eager to prove they’re as vital a band as ever. I found the mix of newer tunes, interspersed with deep cuts and the odd hit to be refreshing.

Guitarist John Frusciante was welcomed back to the band with a solo spot on Danny’s Song, an old Loggins & Messina cover, in which he shone brightly. Flea made note of the fact that he grew up in Glen Waverley and dedicated a tune to St.Kilda, his dad’s football team. Anthony Kiedis, keen to join in on the Australian referencing, in his own peculiar style chose to name-check an obscure Canberra football team, the Canberra Wildcats!

Tippa My Tongue from the Return of the Dream Canteen highlighted the amazing chemistry of this rhythm section. Rather than always sticking in a pocket, Flea explores the spaces within Chad Smith’s commanding drum playing, dancing around the beat with his innovative bass lines. With Frusciante adding his skilful, thoughtful licks to the mix, you realise that this is an exceptionally musical band. They work very hard to make it all sound so loose and easy.

The incredibly colourful stage lighting and pyschedelic projections, utilising the advertising lightboxes around the entire stadium adds to the grandeur of the show. Suck My Kiss and Californication are greeted with glee for those craving the band’s earlier standards. By The Way sees The Chilis leave the stage for a breather before returning with a killer two song finale, Under The Bridge, the singalong we all wanted and then a rockin’ Give It Away, the only way to end a powerful Red Hot Chili Peppers show.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers play Marvel Stadium again tomorrow night (Thurs 9th) before heading to Perth for a show on the 12th. Tickets:

Setlist March 7. Marvel Stadium:
Intro Jam
Can’t Stop (By The Way)
Universally Speaking (By The Way)
Here Ever After (Unlimited Love)
Snow ((Hey Oh)) (Stadium Arcadium)
(‘I Feel Love’ outro jam)
These Are the Ways (Unlimited Love)
The Drummer (Return of the Dream Canteen)
Tell Me Baby (Stadium Arcadium)
Danny’s Song (Loggins & Messina cover) (John solo)
Tippa My Tongue (Return of the Dream Canteen)
Soul to Squeeze (1993 single)
Fake as Fu@k (Return of the Dream Canteen)
Hard to Concentrate (Stadium Arcadium)
Suck My Kiss (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
Californication (Californication)
Black Summer (Unlimited Love)
By the Way (By The Way)

Under the Bridge (dedicated to D. H. Peligro) (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
Give It Away (Blood Sugar Sex Magik)


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