Live Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers scorched the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney with George Clinton

The Red Hot Chili Peppers scorched the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney last night. Regardless of the band’s longevity, these classic rockers proved that their performance is far from stale.

Warming up the crowd was George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic – George, a long-time friend of the Peppers who produced their second studio album, Freaky Styley, back in 1985. The Parliament Funkadelic front-man did not let down his ‘Grandfather of Funk’ reputation with his squatted crump dance moves in a white trench, silver pants and a tilted hat. The set was a sound smorgasbord, accentuated by “Put ‘em up!”s, roaring guitar solos and feedback screeches, largely carried by the Parliament Funkadelic team of 13. Highlights included ‘Flashlight’, which had all the bells, brass and whistles, and the classic, ‘Give Up the Funk’. If you’re looking to get authentically funked up, make sure to check out Clinton with the Parliament Funkadelics on their final Australian tour in April.

Bringing the real heat was of course the one and only Red Hot Chili Peppers. They kicked off the night on a solid high with ‘Can’t Stop’ straight into ‘Scar Tissue’ and had the whole crowd in awe.

It’s difficult to pinpoint highlights of the night as the evening maintained its next-level momentum over the 18-song set. However, the musicianship was the defining element that brought this excellency. Michael ‘Flea’ Balzary is arguably the most talented bassist on the live circuit at the moment. His ability to sustain an intense slap-bass whilst hopping around the stage, quite literally like a flea, had me gasping.

Another moment that caught my breath was when lead singer Anthony Kiedis decided that his heat was too intense, resulting in him taking off his shirt. For 56, his athleticism is highly commendable. He was able to rock around and keep almost studio-perfect control of his vocals, proving his legendary rock status.

The night ended with a three-song encore of a jam session between drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, ‘Goodbye Angels’ and finally, ‘Give It Away’. Although a long night, it felt like it was over in an instant. RHCP could easily play their full three-decade discography and hold an audience in the palm of their hands.

Despite the hundreds and possibly thousands of live shows this band has performed, their sets remain fresh and rejuvenated. It’s safe to say that their spice is not fading any time soon.

1. Intro Jam
2. Can’t Stop
3. Scar Tissue
4. Dark Necessities
5. Hey
6. Nobody Weird Like Me
7. Snow ((Hey Oh))
8. Go Robot
9. Fortune Faded (First time live since 2007)
10. Breaking the Girl
11. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
12. Californication
13. I Like Dirt
14. Higher Ground
15. By the Way
16. Chad & Josh Jam (including “Whola Lotta Rosie” tease by AC/DC)
17. Goodbye Angels
18. Give It Away


For remaining tour dates and tickets, visit Live Nation.

Sydney | Qudos Bank Arena | Feb 20
Hunter Valley | Hope Estate Winery | Feb 23
Brisbane | Brisbane Entertainment Centre | Feb 25 & 26
Melbourne | Rod Laver Arena | Feb 28
Geelong | Mt Duneed | March 2
Adelaide | Superloop Adelaide 500 | March 3
Perth | NIB Stadium | March 5

Photo: Lachlan Mitchell

The reviewer attended the show on 19th February.

Tait McGregor