Red Hot Chilli Peppers at Cape Town Stadium

by Andre van der Merwe

Supported by Die Antwoord

Once upon a time, in suburbs far away in a country quite unknown to the band it started for most of us  on an old battered tape player with an album called Mother’s Milk. Fast forward a couple of years and  finally South African Red Hot Chili Peppers fans of all types and ages find themselves on the 5th February making their way to see their idols. “…taken them bloody ages…”one fan remarks while  doing the fan walk as their poison of choice. Too true boet, too true.

A person can’t help but smile in wonderment at the vibrancy of different cultures/genders/colours and  ages that leap out at you, almost as diverse as the music that, for tonight at least, unites them. Streets  filled with vendors, irate drivers, the chancers and beggars, the rubbish and beauty and overall  busyness you get the sense and feel of Cape Town as a living breathing being. For one night only the  city becomes California and Kiedis and company become South African.

One fan on the long walk to the stadium compared the atmosphere to that of a thunderstorm, feeling  the electricity in the air. And it’s true. You feel that electricity coursing through your body from the  moment your feet are planted firmly on the train platform and it climaxes the moment you view the  monolithic form of the Greenpoint Stadium seemingly obscuring the Cape Town night sky.

 

Enter the Ninja

After making an inevitable stop at the bar a large number of fans make their way towards the gates  readying for an assault on their mothers, fathers and any other holy cow by none other than SA’s own  zef crew, Die Antwoord. Call them what you want, smart marketers of a dying art form they definitely  are. Mostly relying on their onstage presence, hit singles and as Will Ferrell (Chad’s missing twin?) shouted in Anchor man, “LOUD NOISES” Die Antwoord did what they came here to do, entertain. Inviting Flea and Money Mark from the Beastie Boys (what was he doing here?) was a stroke of  genius, as the notorious chilled Cape Town vibe was in danger of boiling over. Overall it was a surreal  experience captured by a thirtyish gentleman noting to his friend, “Remember when we used to wear  those long white socks, gelled hair and wife-beaters going to a rave Now that’s Die Antwoord”.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Fans legs by now are burning from the run between the ablutions, merchandise and beer tents. (Where did all the people come from all of a sudden?) Pepper devotees stagger, run and volt over slower less formidable fans trying to get prime real-estate close to the stage. “Hurry, its 9” somebody  shouts while blikseming over a few attendees. A few last perfunctory scuffles break out while the lights are dimmed and the last notes of unusual tribal music used as filler before the Magik starts.

Looking around you see faces with smeared mascara, tears flowing, goofy grins, manic laughter  empty glares and salivating screams as Anthony makes his way on stage tapping into every emotion available while his partners in crime, Flea, Chad and Josh follow in short succession wielding their  weapons of choice. Flea kicks the musical explosion off with his thick bass riffs, followed by screeching lead guitar by newest recruit Josh, filled by rolling drums from Chad and ending with that unmistakable distorted battle cry by Anthony… and so it begins with Monarchy of Roses. Not allowing the crowd any room for breathing, Flea, the notorious grootbek, heads into a completely unnecessary introduction of the band after which they launch straight into Danni California, the crowd already close to orgasm chanting “California RESCUEEE MEEE!!! Yeah Yeah”.

Otherside

Being as old as many as the fans fathers, these guys don’t look phased by the frenetic pace of the show. Our Joburg comrades were treated to Otherside, Capetonions lucky enough to be on the receiving end of Scar Tissue, followed by fairly new songs in their store Snow (Hey Oh) and Factory of Faith. Varying old and new, the band makes certain not a single person can complain, as the

familiar chords of Can’t Stop echoes through the filled-to-capacity stadium. Here however, any diehard fan would start asking questions. Josh’s backing vocals lack ex-member John Frusciante’s pitch and depth. But hey, who cares, it’s Peppers for pete’s sake.

A short break ensues with Flea once again mouthing off, mentioning how much they love the country.

The most aggressive guitaring follows with the song She’s only 18 thrown somewhere in between. This quickly leads to an almost disco segway (and there were many, confusing the shit out of the fans as to what song they’re going to play next) hurling into one of the newest singles, Raindance Maggie with Kiedis famously spinning madly during the chorus, causing the crowd to go absolutely bonkers.

The song ends, and once again it’s Flea at the mic, shouting at the top of his lungs, “You want to hear  a song we wrote about thirty fucking years ago?” Fuck yes Mr Flea, please and thank you. Me and my Friends starts playing.

 

One Hot minute 

Under the bridge is roped in to mellow the mood and you see a few lighters sputtering in the Cape Town wind. Look around and Suck my Kiss follows, ending in probably one of their most recognizable songs, Californication. The last notes still resonating in everybody’s by now ringing ears no time is spared to blast straight into By the way, forty thousand voices in unison (well almost) screaming at the top of their lungs “Standing in line to see the show tonight…”.Shell-shocked and adrenaline pumping an echo of “Encore Encore” spreads through the stadium like wildfire after the band has said their goodbyes. Chad duly obliged. Strapped with a GoPro, he blasts off into a drum solo hyping the crowd to near frenzy. Ole, Ole, Ole erupts but is quickly smothered by a smiling Chad with drumming as tight as 80’s spandex. Josh and Flea make their way onto the stage next, Flea doing so on his hands to great applause from the crowd. As parting gift, Peppers chose always awesome live Around the

world, I could’ve Lied, and AA inspired Give it Away.

 

Feeling like only a few short minutes, the two hour shows leave the crowd drained, sweaty, and  absolutely crucial, happy. To see one of the best bands in the world, mission accomplished.

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