Red Hot Chili Peppers, Auckland NZ, 2023

Red Hot Chili Peppers & Post Malone

21st January 2023
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand

Review by Charlotte Lightbody, photography by Doug Peters.

Last night, the world-renowned American rock icons Red Hot Chili Peppers performed to a pumped-up audience in Auckland along with the support of Post Malone.

Postie opened the show with ‘Wow.’, the man didn’t quit from that moment, delivering tracks we all know and love while wearing a T-shirt saying ‘I love Auckland’. He schmoozed about the stage with a genuine humility accompanying his goofily self aware ‘dad style’ dance moves and signature metallic smile. Between banter, cigarettes and brewskies, he ensured the audience was hyped, happy and ready for the main act. He managed to fit quite a bit into his set, with an acoustic guitar solo, followed by a smashing of said acoustic hardware (gifting pieces to the excited crowd), a moment where he seemed to share a genuine “whoops” after seeming almost staring down at his pyrotechnics, and visibly reliving emotional heartbreak during ‘I Fall Apart’. Finishing up with crowd-favourite ‘Sunflower’ – Post Malone left us elated, revitalised and officially warmed up for the main act.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers attempted to bust straight into the crowd’s hearts with their classics ‘Around the World’, and ‘Dani California’ immediately after – newer tracks like ‘Tippa My Tongue’ from one of their most recent studio albums ‘Return of the Dream Canteen’ followed. Though this intro belied a certain turmoil or some other force at play, causing singer Anthony Kiedis to seemingly suggest setlist changes and depart from the stage at sudden intervals, including mid-song. This led to extended jam sequences, and even guitarist Frusciante having to take over vocals until his return. Luckily he has the voice of an angel.

Having not seen the Chilli’s before, I have been assured that these kinds of antics from Kiedis are common, but this and a lack of recognition of, or engagement with the crowd by said frontman had us all feeling somewhat off kilter. For their part, the rest of the band seemed to be entirely comfortable with such discord, smiling, jamming and driving the show in and around his absences.

The band brought their unique funky blend of alternative, psychedelic and punk rock ‘flavours’ shifting through their discography each song giving the feel of its respective era. This and the aforementioned “other” aspect of the show kept the audience on the tip of their toes, never quite sure what we were going to get to hear next. The lights and screen projections were trippy, adding a lava lamp-like watercolour washing over the screens to complement each track. At one point, a huge golden sun rises behind the band during ‘Black Summer’.

A purple-haired Flea filled the gaps with humble, gratitude-laced banter, complimenting Kiwis and the “clean air and green trees” we have down here – at one point singing us an ‘Auckland song’ as well as the occasional instrumental bass guitar solo showing off his epic skills. Many of the Chili’s most well known tracks were given extended guitar and bass intro duets by Flea and Frusciante, most notably, fan favourite ‘Californication’.

This was the first show for Kiwis experiencing beloved guitarist, John Frusciante since he left the band (and since returned obviously!), and catching his smiling face on the large screens was a delight. The four members were ultimately still together in 2023 after forming the ‘core’ membership of the band’s most known iteration back in 1988.

My personal favourite moment from the show? Being able to sing the “ding dang dong dong ding dang dong dong ding dang” gibberish live during Around the World. The day was made.

Concluding the show with an encore of ‘Give it Away’, you could feel the collective sadness as the band said thank you and left off stage. It felt like we were just getting started, it wasn’t till the encore that the band felt like all members had grown comfortable and hit stride. Ultimately they left us wanting. Which perhaps was the intent?

Dunedin gets the Red Hot Chili Peppers show next, and then they’re off to Australia and Japan – I’m looking forward to comparing the set lists already!

Were you there at Mt Smart Stadium for this massive funk rock show? Or have you seen Red Hot Chili Peppers or Post Malone perform live somewhere else before? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Setlist:
  1. Intro Jam
  2. Around the World
  3. Dani California
  4. Universally Speaking
  5. Aquatic Mouth Dance
  6. Throw Away Your Television
  7. Eddie
  8. Right on Time
  9. Soul to Squeeze
  10. Tippa My Tongue
  11. The Drummer
  12. Californication
  13. The Heavy Wing
  14. Black Summer
  15. By the Way
  16. I Could Have Lied [encore]
  17. Give It Away [encore]

Note: On the written setlist, ‘Tell Me Baby’ and ‘Under the Bridge’ were respectively listed instead of ‘The Heavy Wing’ and ‘I Could Have Lied’, but not played. ‘Otherside’ was also listed in between ‘Eddie’ and ‘Right on Time’, but not played.

Note: Ambient Light was provided passes to review and photograph this concert. As always, this has not influenced the review in any way and the opinions expressed are those of Ambient Light’s only. This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a product using an affiliate link, Ambient Light will automatically receive a small commission at no cost to you.

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