Concert: Red Hot Chili Peppers

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It has been a long time coming – this Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the 3Arena. So long  – thirteen months – that I have in fact written blog posts about the gig on two previous occasions.

The first post (which you can read HERE ) describes my excitement last August getting the tickets, my memories of the Chili Peppers covers band who introduced me to Amsterdam in the year 2000, and the impure thoughts I used to have about the lead singer Anthony Kiedis.

The second post (which you can read HERE) details how a mere days before the Christmas gig – the opening night of the world tour –  my Anthony got the flu, and postponed the concert until last night – the closing night of the tour.

I was ready. I had been ready for over a year. I was late leaving work so I didn’t have a chance to go home to dress for a rock gig. I would not be wearing a bandana this evening. I would be eating a big, greasy burrito from ‘Burrito Blues’ in the IFSC, on the way down to the concert though.

We arrived at about 7.30pm. The doors were open at 6.30pm so we thought that the support act – one ‘Lady Leshurr’ would be starting soon. I always attempt to see the support band – if for no reason other than sympathy for how  frustrating it must be to play to such a massive audience, none of whom are there to see you. They usually put in a good effort as well, in their attempt to win over some new fans.

The arena was almost empty. The lights were up. We bought a frosted beverage as we watched the crowds enter.

The 3Arena is the largest indoor concert venue in the country with an audience capacity of 13,000. We were in the downstairs standing area – my favourite location in the venue, as it allows you freedom of movement around the place.

I had been expecting an audience of slightly more mature years, so was surprised to see how young everyone was. The band started in 1984, and rose to fame in the late 1980s – long before these people were born. I’d never have guessed they’d be so popular with the youth.

The support act played her set. For a change I didn’t pay much attention – we were close to the back of the arena. In a venue so vast, you can lose sight of the stage fairly easily.

We waited for the headliners.

And waited.

I tend be a bit picky when it comes to concert times. I am not unreasonable – if a ticket says ‘Doors at 6pm; show at 8pm’ then I’m happy to wait until 9pm for kick-off – particularly when a support band is playing.

Every minute longer than that I resent slightly though. These guys are veterans. The Red Hot Chili Peppers in the year 2017 are a heritage and living lives of yoga, quinoa and veganism. So are their audience. Maybe they needs an emergency deep tissue massage to deal with arthtritis before the gig though? At our age…

Finally at about 9.20pm the darkness fell, the roar of the crowd soared; the drums beat and the concert began. The lights rose with the driving guitar sound and the audience exploded when Kiedis started singing.

But what was this? Was something wrong? Why was his voice so muffled?

I am not an acoustics expert.  I have no idea whether the poor sound quality for the rest of the gig was down to the venue or to the band or a combination of both.

That said, the energy of the band was good.

I am quite fond of Kiedis’s  current look – 1970s porn star moustache –  and his continuing inability to remain fully clothed. He discarded his t-shirt shortly after starting. He has a strong singing voice – that could still be heard through the muffled sound.

They played the hits ‘By the way’; ‘Scar Tissue’; ‘Californication’; ‘Give it away’ and ‘BloodSugarSexMagick’ which were slightly nostalgic to hear live after all this time. I was a child when some of those were released.

They seemed to have fun and enjoy themselves.

The audience certainly did. I was well impressed with the exuberance of it all. Not being a regular attendee at large scale, rock music events, the energy was fairly wild. I was not, however impressed by the chants of ‘Ole, ole, ole, ole ‘ from the crowd, as the band were summoned back for their encore.

‘Don’t be so bloody basic’ I thought to myself.

The sound quality was a drawback.

All told it was a fairly good experience.

Don’t tell anyone this though, but the cover band I saw in Amsterdam in the year 2000 – ‘The Red Hot Chili Bastards’ were better.

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