Red Hot Chili Peppers burn bright with epic career-spanning set in Barcelona
8 June 2022, 20:14 | Updated: 10 June 2022, 13:06
The California funk rockers gave the performance of their lives at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys. Find out what went down and what they played on the setlist.
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The Red Hot Chili Peppers took to Barcelona's Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on Tuesday (7th June) to bring Unlimited Love to their throng of ardent Spanish fans.
After a stomping set in Seville last week saw them embark on their first set of European tour dates since the pandemic and (most importantly) the first since the return of their beloved guitarist John Frusciante, it's fair to say expectations were at an all-time high.
This wasn’t lost on Anthony Kieidis and co as they walked, leapt and jumped their way onto the stage, treating fans to their customary Intro Jam and delivering the funk-laden licks and tricks we know and love them for.
Not content to keep lovers of their classic line-up waiting too long, the band got stuck straight into their infectiously brilliant Can’t Stop single, followed by Dani California and Californication album-opener Around The World.
After taking us back in time for a spell, the band brought us right bang up to the present, delivering a rousing rendition of Black Summer, the lead single from their Unlimited Love album.
Kiedis wasn't just in fine voice. He was the best he's sounded for years, belting through the band’s classic tracks and blending them with hits from across their back catalogue.
As the Chilis treated the crowds to the likes of Zephyr Song, Snow ((Hey Oh)) and Right on Time, one thing was clear; these guys have SERIOUSLY rehearsed for these dates.
The Chilis really did look and sound tighter than ever. It’s not easy to present a setlist from across five decades with jams and instrumentals galore, but this lot made it look easy - an impressive feat when you consider how their style has changed throughout the years. However, with Frusciante back in the band it was clear the band wanted to showcase and celebrate the tracks he had a hand in creating. Songs from The Getaway and I’m With You were notably absent.
It wouldn't be fair to go much further without making more mention of John Frusciante, whose face prompted cheers the first time it appeared on the stadium's screens. If it wasn’t already glaringly obvious how significant his return to the band is, watching the Chili Peppers live will certainly hammer it home. There’s nothing quite like seeing the fingersmith on stage as he delivers that signature sound... One that's arguably as critical to the Chili Peppers as Johnny Marr is to The Smiths.
Second to the enjoyment of seeing a Frusciante solo in the flesh on is watching the way he interacts with Flea on stage. Flea, quite simply, is one of the best bassists in the world and his chemistry with John was truly beautiful to witness on stage. Their performances of the likes of Otherside and Californication - both taken from the album of the same name - were an absolute masterclass and provided some of the most special moments of the night. Watching the pair intertwine their guitar and bass was just like watching two best friends have an intricate and meandering conversation; both talking over each other and yet somehow completely understanding what the other has said.
If Flea and Frusciante are best friends then Frusciante and Kiedis are more like on again/off again lovers. Whispers, smiles and stolen glances make up their bewitching dynamic on stage and it was clear to see how much the frontman loved and appreciated him being back in the fold. Plus... those harmonies. No one harmonises with Anthony better than John and hearing them together on classic Chilis tracks provided those spine-tingling, goose-pimply moments you crave at stadium gigs.
Speaking to Radio X earlier this year, Flea told Johnny Vaughan: "Unlimited Love is the best of us" and perhaps the same could be said for what they put into this live performance.
If you didn’t manage to see the Chilis in their '90s and' 00s ‘prime’, you might just be in luck because they somehow seem to be reliving it now. In fact, they're all in incredible shape.
Kiedis' energy was unmatched and the band were all at their fighting best, putting artists who are decades their juniors to shame. Kiedis jumped, flipped and kung-fu kicked his way across the stage and Chad Smith kept them all in check with his assured and energetic drum solos. Flea is one of most hyperactive musicians you'll ever see, moving more than most frontmen, let alone bass players! And it's all underpinned by the genius of Frusciante, who's doing enough gymnastics with his little finger to justify his understated approach.
The energy in the stadium overflowed when the band played Blood Sugar Sex Magik staple, Give It Away, whipping the crowd into a Bacchic frenzy before returning for an encore. This saw their 59-year-old bassist return in true Flea style... walking on his hands, no less!
Unsurprisingly, the band ended their set on two classic tracks, allowing the crowd to be swept away by their iconic, career-defining '90s hit, Under The Bridge, before delivering a stirring performance of their 2002 anthem By The Way.
Red Hot Chili Peppers set out to perform their new album for the masses and that's just what they did, delivering Unlimited Love, unlimited joy and unlimited hits to a hungry crowd.
If you're curious to what the Chilis' classic line-up looks like in in 2022, then just know it's anything but tired. Not satisfied with delivering nostalgia in spades, they also manage to do it while looking and sounding as good as they did 20 years ago.
Whether it's witchcraft or just a sprinkling of Magik, one thing's for certain... If their UK shows come anywhere close to what the Chilis delivered in Barcelona last night, then we’re in for a treat.
Red Hot Chili Peppers' world tour touches down in the UK this month, with dates which include two nights at London Stadium on 25th-26th June.
Visit ticketmaster.co.uk for more information and to buy the last remaining tickets.
See the setlist for Red Hot Chili Peppers' gig at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys on 7th June:
- Intro Jam
- Can't Stop
- Dani California
- Around the World
- Black Summer
- The Zephyr Song (False start)
- Aquatic Mouth Dance
- Snow ((Hey Oh))
- Right on Time
- Whatchu Thinkin'
- The Heavy Wing(Live debut)
- These Are the WaysPlay Video
- I Could Have Lied
- Give It Away
17. Under the Bridge
18. By The Way
See Red Hot Chili Peppers' 2022 UK & Irish dates:
- Wednesday 22 June - Manchester - Emirates Old Trafford
- Saturday 25 June - London Stadium
- Sunday 26 June - London Stadium
- Wednesday 29th June - Dublin, Ireland - Marley Park
- Friday 1 July - Glasgow - Bellahouston Park