The return of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has been one of the most satisfying and joyous stories in the music world since 2022, and tonight, the band are bringing their Unlimited Love tour to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The stadium itself is still fairly new as a concert venue, and despite some sonic problems in past gigs, the sound is pretty spot-on tonight.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London – 21 July 2023
Words: Kahmel Farahani
Photography: Aggie Anthimidou
As one looks around the packed stadium and the roughly three different generations of fans in attendance, it’s a reminder that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of those rare bands that have branched out successfully into every genre from hard rock to funk, soul and pop.
As Chad Smith takes his seat behind the drum kit and Flea walks on stage doing a handstand, a massive roar goes up and then reaches deafening pitch as John Frusciante walks on guitar in hand and strikes up a jam that leads into Can’t Stop.
“Can we dedicate a song to somebody after the song?” asks Anthony Kiedis after a gorgeous rendition of Scar Tissue. “That was for Tony Bennett.”
At age 60, the Chilis frontman has gone well past terms like ageless and has now moved firmly into miraculous territory. Looking in better shape than many personal trainers and sounding note-perfect, Kiedis is simply amazing as he tears around the stage in his black mesh top and cut-off rhinestone Playboy jeans.
The return of guitarist John Frusciante has not only given The Chilis a creative rebirth in the studio and produced two of their finest albums in the last 20 years, but it has also brought the fire back to their live shows.
While it may sound cliché, the musical chemistry that the four members of the classic Chilis line-up have together is in such perfect balance it’s impossible to conceive of it any other way. Watching Flea face off and jam for extended bridges between songs is an absolute joy.
The strength of the new material like The Heavy Wing and the stunning Black Summer is that they slip seamlessly into the setlist next to anthems like Californication. From brand new songs like Aquatic Mouth Dance to the classics Suck My Kiss and Soul To Squeeze, the Chili Peppers have never sounded better.
Watching the band bouncing off of each other and extending the songs and solos as they feel is the ultimate tribute to their musicianship. Far from being a tightly choreographed greatest hits show with token new songs, it feels like watching a band reborn.
A brilliantly frantic sing-along of By The Way closes the main set, and, after a standing ovation that lasts well over two minutes, John Frusciante returns to the stage and picks out the first notes of Under The Bridge.
As the rest of the band picks up the song, the entire stadium sings along. It’s nothing short of sublime as Kiedis and Frusciante harmonize their vocals. It’s almost as if one could trace the shared love of music in the air tonight and the respect that four brothers have for each other as well as their fans.
Ending with the funky stoner grooves of Give It Away, the entire crowd begins bouncing on their feet and hurling whatever isn’t nailed down through the air.
It’s a fantastic, high-energy end to an amazing show. The Chili’s take their respective bows, and Chad Smith takes the microphone to thank the entire crowd for their support before hurling his last remaining drumsticks into the pit.
Tonight, all those lucky enough to have been in attendance at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium witnessed real musical excellence and chemistry that can’t be faked, bottled or replicated.