December 15, 2019. A small story appeared on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s Instagram account. A few words in white with a black background. The form can’t be more basic. But the message itself is huge… Josh is not the guitarist of the band anymore and John Frusciante is fuckin’ back! Nobody saw it coming but it’s true. John is back, a new album is coming and they’ll tour again together. Some shows in Summer 2020 ? Maybe. But then the Covid hit us and you know what happened next. Until June 2022. Finally!
After a few small shows in the US and one festival performance – to replace Foo Fighters cancelled due to Taylor Hawkins passed away -, they start their proper world tour in Europe with 2 shows in Spain. Seville on the 4th and Barcelona on the 7th. We’ve been to the show in Barcelona. And first small surprise: the show is not soldout. The major part of the tickets has been sold of course but you were still able to buy tickets on the day itself.
OLYMPIC STADIUM OF BARCELONA
The show happened in a stadium – obviously – but not the Camp Nou (FC Barcelone) or the Cornellà El Prat (Espanyol Barcelone) but at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium. And let be honest real quick: this is the most beautiful stadium we’ve been too! Located in the heights of the city, the stadium itself has a beautiful architecture and has an amazing view on the city.
That was the second great surprise surprise of the evening. The first one was the very good organization of the show with a shuttle coming from the Place Of Catalogne to the stadium so we didn’t have to climb 2km with more than 25 degrees outside. Other great proof of the organization was the tons of bars available on the ground floor. Only 2 minutes to get our first drink! And the prices are not the same as in Belgium: only 6€ for a mojito or 10€ for 1 liter of beer!
That being said, we were there for the music. And as usual, the RHCP choose some bands there weren’t really rock. Thundercat and NAS (replaced Asap Rocky previously announced as support) were the 2 support of the evening. And they both provided a kick-ass show! Stephen Lee Bruner, known as Thundercat on stage, is a bass player, singer and songwritter coming from L.A., such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Only 37 years old but a CV already so long: playing with Suicidal Tendencies, Kendrick Lamar, 4 studio albums, 2 Grammy awards and many more sick collaborations. Tonight, he delivered a groovy set that Spanish people seems to enjoy even if the stadium is still really empty.
NAS AND THUNDERCAT AS SUPPORT ACTS
The last time the Red Hot Chili Peppers brought rock bands as tour support was in 2007 for their stadium tour in support of Stadium Arcadium. A while ago. Another proof of the sound and vibes changing a bit. But with still the same roots that have never changed.
As main support, we got the rap legend NAS and the public reacted already way more than for the Thundercat show. There was also many more people (in the crowd but also at the bar…). He provided us a set-list of his biggest hits coming from almost all his album. From Speechless to The World Is Yours and I Can Play, N.Y. State Of Mind or One Love in between. A kick-ass show helped with a great DJ and a very groovy drummer. Way better than expected!
Around 10pm, it was finally the time we’ve all been waiting for. A time very late compared to what we’re used to in Belgium where shows usually finished at 10.30pm. Even in stadium. But Spain is leaving on a different time and everything is later. Not too bad tonight so we can enjoy the show with a perfect weather and even a small sunset behind the stadium!
UNLIMITED LOVE AND CALIFORNICATION TAKE HALF OF THE SETLIST
Tonight was the second show of the Unlimited Love World Tour, started in Sevilla 3 days before, but we didn’t look at the setlist before to avoid spoiler and enjoy the suspense for every songs. We were sure of one thing: they won’t be playing any songs from both “I’m With Your” (2011) and “The Getaway” (2016), released with Josh as guitarist. During the stadium tours for the tours of these albums, they started the shows with a new song and not with the usual Can’t Stop… not this time. After the classic jam, John launched the legendary riff of Can’t Stop and the audience became crazy! A crazyness that won’t leave the crowd until the last second of the show. Second song: Dani California, the most iconic single of “Stadium Arcadium”. Followed by Around The World, first extract tonight of “Californication”. They couldn’t make a better start with these 3 huge singles!
Without a surprise, it was time for a first new song and without a surprise, they played Black Summer that the audience knows already very well! But less than the older songs. Zephyr Song (with a false start), Snow, Otherside, Californication (obviously) or I Could Have Lied could all be named highlights of the evening… until they launched Give It Away: a song they have the habit to play at 99% of their shows but seems the Spanish fans were really waiting this song and even a pit was started in the golden circle!
For the encore, we got 2 songs: Under The Bridge and, finally, By The Way where the friendly moshpit made its return. It was hot. It was intense. It was really good.
ANTHONY KIEDIES AND HIS DIFFICULTIES TO REMEMBER SONGS
Many times during the set, Anthony had to look to Chad to make sure it was the right time to sing. During the last tours, we already saw Anthony having lyrics printed in front of him, especially for the newest songs. But here, he needed help even for old songs like Right On Time. Tonight, he got a real teleprompter in front of him… that gave the lyrics but not the time when he has to sing.
Set-list: Intro Jam, Can’t Stop, Dani California, Around The World, Black Summer, The Zephyr Song, Aquatic Mouth Dance, Snow, Right On Time, Watchu Thinkin’, Otherside, The Heavy Song (live debut), Californication, These Are The Ways, I Could Have Lied, Give It Away. Encore: Under The Bridge, By The Way.
Musically speaking, it was not the best Red Hot Chili Peppers’s show we’ve seen because of a few minor mistakes. But speaking of the emotions, the comeback of John, for the energy in the crowd and the general atmosphere, it was the best for sure! The Spanish fans were on fire. Way more than what we usually saw in France (Paris) and in Belgium (Werchter, Antwerp)!