Red Hot Chili Peppers arrived in Birmingham, the last stop on their UK tour, to perform at the LG Arena. The band are promoting their latest album, I'm With You, and tonight, the first of two shows, is sold out. Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Chad Smith are joined by new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, replacing the departed John Frusciante. First up though is their support, and fellow Los Angeles band, Fool's Gold.
Fool's Gold kick things off with a decent sized crowd, helped no doubt by fans in the standing area eager to take up their positions for the Chili Peppers. They have a new album to promote called Leave No Trace. Performing a blend of guitar pop mixed with world music influences, although unfamiliar to many, they seemed to make some new fans tonight.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been mixing up the setlist on this tour, with songs from the new album and Stadium Arcadium, alongside early fan favourites from Blood Sugar Sex Magic.
'I'm With You' is represented by Monarchy Of Roses, which opens the set in fine fashion with Klinghoffer's screaming guitar. Klinghoffer goes on to prove a worthy addition to the band. Also from the new album tonight we get The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie, Look Around and Goodbye Hooray.
Dani California, a standout from the Stadium Arcadium album makes an early appearance, but the first big cheer of the night is for Scar Tissue. Can't Stop follows, and although from a relatively recent album, By The Way, released in 2002, it is closer in feel to their earlier, funkier material.
Under The Bridge is a true 'lighters (or mobiles) in the air' moment. After this laid back song, their cover of Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground has the place rocking. Californication receives perhaps the biggest roar of approval tonight before By The Way ends the set.
The encore begins with Chad Smith and percussionist Mauro Refosco on stage, before being joined by the others for Around The World, Kiedis then says the band are going to drift into the 70's and they cover Neil Young's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The final song is a welcome return to Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Give It Away ending a fine evening. Kiedis says his goodbyes and departs from the stage a good five minutes before the rest of the band who continue to jam.
Red Hot Chili Peppers return to these shores for a couple of huge outdoor shows next year, appearing at Knebworth Park and Sunderland's Stadium Of Light in June, and on this performance, these shows look like being a highlight of Summer 2012.
And you can see all of Sean's pix from the show here: