Red Hot Chili Peppers and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic bring the funk (and the rock, and the reggae, and the hiphop) to Brisbane Entertainment Centre in the first of two explosive shows in the capital.
Last night’s show at Brisbane Entertainment Centre was a masterclass in funk – from its origins to its present day incarnations. George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic is currently in the midst of his last ever tour, finishing up at Bluesfest in Byron this May. So for the majority of the crowd present at last night’s concert, it was their final chance to see the living legend perform live, and boy was it a show to remember. Parliament Funkadelic are a colourful, high-energy, thigh-slapping tribute to early funk, heavily mixed with hard-hitting hiphop and wailing strat solos. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever seen, and what an honour it must have been for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were so heavily influenced by the funky sounds of Parliament, to have them as their show openers.
There’s nothing quite like the roar of a 13,000-strong crowd as band members strut onto a stage, and if the roof was nearly lifted when Chad Smith (drums), Josh Klinghoffer (guitar) and Flea (bass) opened with their intro jam, it was sent into space when hyperactive frontman Anthony Kiedis sprinted into the spotlight, launching into ‘Around the World’ from 1999’s ‘Californication’, an album which featured prominently across the eclectic 100-minute set.
On the verge of 60, Kiedis and Co nonetheless bounced around the stage – largely shirtless – like it was 1999. Flea’s compelling stage presence and characteristically pronounced slaps drew both the ear and the eye for much of the set, as the band powered through hits ‘Otherwise’, ‘Right On Time’, and ‘Californication’ as well as ‘Dani California’, ‘Strip My Mind’, and ‘Tell Me Baby’ from 2006’s ‘Stadium Arcadium’. The band’s most recent offering ‘The Getaway’ (2016) made a few appearances, as did ‘By The Way’ (2002), ‘One Hot Minute’ (1995) and a handful of covers. With a wink to the audience who were no doubt mostly aware of the band’s famously hard-partying past (now redeemed), Flea said they’d love to go drop acid down at the “fake beach on the river”, but they would unfortunately be too busy “drinking camomile tea and watching the latest season of ‘True Detective'”. Ever tongue-in-cheek, they then opened their encore with a cover of Elvis Costello’s ‘Watching The Detectives’.
For mad ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ fans, such as yours truly, the set did seem to be short of a few important tracks. But if the Red Hot Chili Peppers are going to continue to surprise and mix things up after 36 years and 11 albums, we can’t deny them the right to pick and choose a set that will do both of those things. And they finished up the night with a killer version of ‘Give It Away”. (Woot!)
For those who are kicking themselves over missing out, there has been a surprise drop of final release GA spots for tonight’s Brisbane show. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketek.
Full setlist: Around The World; Otherwise; Dani California; Dark Necessities; Strip My Mind; I Wanna Be Your Dog (The Stooges cover); Right On Time; Throw Away Your Television; Californication; What Is Soul? (Funkadelic cover); Go Robot; Pea; Don’t Forget Me; Sick Love; Tell Me Baby; Soul To Squeeze; By The Way; Watching The Detectives (Elvis Costello cover); Dreams Of A Samurai; Give It Away.
Images (c) Simone Gorman-Clark