Concert Review with PHOTOS: Red Hot Chili Peppers


By Ben Doy

Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Date / Venue: Friday March 8th, 2019 - Spark Arena, Auckland

It had been little a while between drinks for the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing in New Zealand; last gracing our shores for a couple of shows in 2013. I didn’t manage to make either of those shows, nor the tour previous to that. I missed the Big Day Out which they headlined in 2000, and their 1990s tours at the old Mt Smart Supertop. So finally I was about to attend my first Red Hot Chili Peppers concert after being a fan of the band for about 28 years. It was a long time coming.

Spark Arena was jam packed, a total sell out. There were Chili Peppers fans of all demographics in attendance, feverishly awaiting the band of the hour. There were kids there from 7 years old right up to people in their 70s. Then shortly after the clock struck 9PM, the Chili’s hit the stage.

Flea got things going with the Intro Jam, warming us up with his trademark slap bass style and was quickly joined by drummer Chad Smith and the newest member of the Chili Peppers, guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Then we got straight into it, as the band launched into ‘Can’t Stop’ from their 2002 album By The Way as frontman Anthony Kiedis thrust himself on to the stage. The crowd are going nuts with the whole arena bouncing around with the Chili’s. Their energy is contagious, and Kiedis is singing in fine form. With his top off and sporting one mighty fine moustache, the bond he shares with his bandmates is unmistakable as they all feed off each other and are obviously having one hell of a time.

Fortune Faded is up next (one that I was a pleasantly surprised to hear in the setlist), and then into the massive hit ballad Scar Tissue - which the band definitely added a bit more of a live rock sound to.

Now for a bit of new stuff with the intro sounds of Dark Necessities slowly building up to a crescendo. It’s around this time I really noticed just how tight the band still are, with Chad Smith and Flea fully locked in and holding everything together. We then get ‘Strip My Mind’ and a classic version of The Stooges hit ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’.

Then we’re back to the 80s with, from the ‘87 album ‘The Uplift Mofo Party Plan’. The Chili’s were one of the earliest funk/rock/rap outfits, and were definitely a band ahead of their time when hair metal bands such as Poison and Motley Crue were all the rage.

The set continues with a combination of newer and older hits. ‘Throw Away Your Television,’ ‘Californication’, ‘Go Robot’, ‘I Like Dirt ‘and ‘The Getaway’. And then it’s time to get really funky with the legendary Stevie Wonder cover ‘Higher Ground’. The unmistakable Flea slap bass line from this gets everyone up and into the party.

Soul To Squeeze (a bonus track from Blood Sugar Sex Magik and appeared on The Coneheads soundtrack) is sounding amazing with Kieidis’ smooth vocals. It’s another one I’m pleasantly surprised to hear. The Chili’s then finish off the set with ‘By The Way’, rocking the arena and still going a hundred miles an hour.

The band then leave the stage and the crowd gets energised - clapping, yelling and stamping their feet for more. Out comes Chad Smith first of all, who delights us with a short (but extremely well played) drum solo. He’s then joined by the band, led out by Flea walking impressively back on his hands, and start the song ‘Dreams Of A Samurai’ and finish up with the legendary ‘Give It Away’.

The band slowly leave the stage, and are all very gracious for being here. Chad Smith throws his drum sticks out to various parts of the arena, thanks the crowd again before bowing, and leaving the stage. All the band are true class.

For a group with as many hits as the Chili Peppers has, there was always going to be someone’s favourite that was missed out. Notably tonight there was no ‘Under The Bridge’, ‘Suck My Kiss’ or ‘Breaking The Girl’. My partner overheard someone in the toilets after the show complain that they played too much older stuff and not enough newer stuff, while another lady retorted back she thought it was the other way round.

But the Chili Peppers put on one fantastic show, that is for sure. And they definitely have fun doing it as well. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets for tonight’s final show at the Spark Arena, you are sure to enjoy.

Set List

Intro Jam

Can't Stop

Fortune Faded

Scar Tissue

Dark Necessities

Strip My Mind

I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges cover)

Me & My Friends

Throw Away Your Television


Go Robot

I Like Dirt

The Getaway

Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder cover)

Soul to Squeeze

By the Way


Dreams of a Samurai

Give It Away