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Live Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic

20 February 2019 | 11:10 am | Luke Saunders

"It is clear these legendary musicians won't stop playing to packed-out stadiums anytime soon."

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Claims are often thrown around that the Red Hot Chili Peppers 'are the last true surviving rockstars', besides the immortal Keith Richards, of course. Yet considering they survived grunge, rap-metal and the music industry in the early 2000s, this may appear true, as they at least remain rock's most flamboyant and deranged grandchildren, making a glorious racket of their undying catalogue. 

Funk pioneer George Clinton graced the stage to tribute his once-students the Red Hot Chili PeppersAfter producing their second album, Freaky Styley, the prophet of funk went on to mentor the Chilis, birthing some unmistakably manic disciples. Although the rainbow hair has gone, and Clinton is in his twilight, his energy and soul is colourful as ever and his voice still booms. It's all the more entertaining for the onstage antics between backup singers with flashing boots and guitarists with fluro braids. It’s just as infectious to watch as it is to hear.

The students have certainly become the masters, however. Red Hot Chili Peppers open with Can’t Stop and it is as close to gunpowder as an intro can get. Flea is an absolute treat to watch, headbanging like a metal head in his teens. Scar Tissue and By The Way still possess their soul, and Anthony Kiedis gallops from left to right as Flea continues his maniacal march. Dark Necessities, the single off their new(ish) album The Getaway, struck plenty of spark.

RHCP always add a little sugar and spice to proceedings though, twisting the start and ends to songs. Kiedis takes this as a personal challenge to bust out his strangest moves. Swinging things back in the right direction, their version of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground came as a surprise attack after a psychedelic, whale-calling wall of feedback.

Whether you miss the twice departed John Frusciante or not, Josh Klinghoffer does a fine job with the other legendary funkateers. Plunging into (g)old material, fans were pleased to hear renditions of I Like Dirt and Breaking The Girl.

The crowd roared, stamped and stomped for an encore, and Flea delivered a handstand walking across the entire stage before grabbing his bass and shaking his hips. 

“A huge, humble thank you to George Clinton and the Parliament Funk for playing tonight. If you can imagine a Christian kid loving the Bible, that is what they were like to me, a guide book,” Flea said endearingly. 

Give It Away rounded out the set to a booming response. It is clear these legendary musicians won't stop playing to packed-out stadiums anytime soon. Their energy and presence is reminiscent of the great heroes of the "classic era", yet Kiedis brought it down to earth to close with a, “Flea! I love you brother.”

Flea smiled, walked back on stage, and returned the love.