Evanescence / Within temptation – london – live review
In many ways the world is broken, but in others the world is now healing after the previous two to three years. All regular gig attendees had their carefully curated schedules wiped out by the pandemic. Cancellations, postponements, uncertainty, changed plans, travel and hotel arrangements in tatters; it’s not been easy for music lovers.
Most of those tours have now finally taken place, but tonight is another where digging out the tickets reminds you just how long ago you actually brought them! So, understandable then that anticipation is high and the venue is full early.
Of course the opportunity to catch both Evanescence and Within Temptation together in the same night may well be a big reason for the atmosphere in London’s O2 Arena. Before that though we get our support act Veridia, who instantly look at home on the big stage.
The group are a fitting opening act and get the crowd suitably warmed up for what’s to come. A tender performance of ‘I’ll Never Be Ready’ with Amy Lee gets those mobile phones up in the air, but there is enough in the set as a whole to warrant further investigation from new fans.
Our co-headliners are rotating the closing slot on this tour and tonight that will be Evanescence, so up next it’s Within Temptation who take to the stage complete with stunning production.
If the stage show wasn’t headline worthy alone, the moment the band arrive their presence and energy is truly off the charts. ‘Faster’, ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ and ‘Stand My Ground’ all help to build on that early atmosphere and create a real moment.
The fact that singer Sharon den Adel is clearly under the weather makes the beauty of their performance even more incredible. The final run of ‘Ice Queen’, ‘What Have You Done’ and ‘Mother Earth’ provides a superb climax to the set and leaves you wondering just how Evanescence can top it!
Soon enough it’s time for them to try, albeit with a much simpler stage show. Evanescence are a rarer proposition on these shores and them going on last feels right in many ways, but as the show gets going it’s clear that the energy levels have dropped.
Their latest album, ‘The Bitter Truth’, is very good and deserves the spotlight live, but tonight following Within Temptation’s huge show it’s clear the audience are after the classics. The atmosphere therefore feels a little flatter, only rising again for the likes of ‘Going Under’, ‘Call Me When You’re Sober’ and ‘Imaginary’.
New tracks like ‘Wasted On You’ do sound epic tonight however and showcase where the band are very well. Amy Lee reminds everyone what an incredible talent she is and their finale of ‘My Immortal’ and ‘Bring Me to Life’ is probably the highlight of the night.
Having waited for years for this tour neither band disappoint and with two headline worthy performances the show represents great value for money. Both bands have just been announced as returning at Download in the summer, so do the right thing and get them noted on your clashfinder now!
Biffy Clyro had just announced a UK Arena Tour when the world shut up shop in March 2020. Since then they’ve released two albums, headlined Reading & Leeds and Download Festivals and played an intimate run of UK dates. Now, two and a half years later the band finally gets to grace again the largest indoor venues the country has to offer.
Tonight that places them at the monstrous O2 Arena in London in front of a packed Saturday night crowd. Anticipation is high, and not just for the Scottish heroes, but for special guests Architects fresh from an arena tour of their own back in May.
Both bands will be hoping the crosspollination of their audiences will earn new admirers and for Architects up first there is clearly is mixture of diehard fans and trepidatious unfamiliar audience members.
Focusing on their more accessible recent material is a clever move from the band and tracks such as ‘deep fake’ and ‘tear gas’ ease inhibitions and start to win over those starting out on the fence.
WATCH ‘ANIMALS’ ON FROM ARCHITECTS ON YOUTUBE
A smooth and effortless run through of the likes of ‘Dead Butterflies’, ‘Doomsday’, ‘when we were young’ and closer ‘Animals’ ensures many new fans will have been found tonight. A random introduction from Joel Dommett stated that Architects are one of the best bands in the UK, and whilst our headliners have a major stake in that argument, tonight our guests have ensured that they are in the conversation.
Anybody that has seen Biffy Clyro live however will know that they are one of the most consistently impressive live forces on the circuit. Tonight, to the surprise of nobody, they are once again a level above the competition.
WATCH ‘WHO’S GOT A MATCH?’ FROM BIFFY CLYRO ON YOUTUBE
Opening trio ‘DumDum’, ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’ and ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’ perhaps provide a slow start to the set but from ‘Who’s Got A Match?’ onwards the venue comes alive as the band produce the proverbial banger after banger.
The composition of the setlist is well balanced with a good mix of new, old and the return of a couple of even older pre-mainstream Biffy Clyro numbers ‘57’ and ‘Glitter and Trauma’.
The stage is simple but effective with the music the focal point tonight, and with the likes of ‘Instant History’, ‘Mountains’, ‘Wolves of Winter’ and ‘Biblical’ on offer that’s all that is really needed.
Just watching the crowd reactions to the likes of ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’, ‘The Captain’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Many of Horror’ makes is so obvious that Biffy Clyro are now fully established as an elite tier act. Mon the Biff!
The last time Creeper played a show like this in London, they “broke up” and vanished for a year. In advance of tonight there have been teases of some vampiric happenings in Camden, so it’s no surprise that the band’s dedicated fanbase sold out their biggest ever headline show at the iconic Roundhouse.
The theatre starts early with opening act Zetra. The gothic synth-gaze group are a fitting start to the evening and get the early attendees into the spirit for what is to come.
Main support act Bad Nerves are more of a straightforward proposition, blasting out their rough and ready punk rock anthems to the enjoyment of the audience.
Realistically however tonight was always going to be about one band and one band alone, our headliners Creeper. Before then however the vampire theme is played out again with clips from legendary vampire movies projected onto the curtain protecting the stage.
When that curtain finally drops the band burst onto an appropriately decorated stage with early fan favourite ‘VCR’, much to the delight of the packed venue. The opening guitar riff of ‘Born Cold’ then cuts the atmosphere in two and the crowd truly erupt.
Big hitters ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Annabelle’ follow and you already know that tonight is going to be special. From here on out, it’s a true career-spanning setlist from the band with a surprising amount of early material finding its way back into the set, which again helps to feed that special feeling this evening.
Over the past year or so, Creeper have taken major leaps forward sonically and visually, on record and live. All that early promise is being fully realised and tonight feels like a celebration of everything they’ve done to this point. Both albums and all major EP’s are represented.
The stage presence of the band has come so far and seeing frontman Will Gould at the peak of his powers, and Hannah Greenwood own the stage like never before is incredible for fans that have been with the band since their humble beginnings.
Every word of every song is sung back by the passionate audience at the top of their lungs. There is a connection in place here between band and fans that is hard to describe, but we’ll attempt to with the word magical!
Stunning moments such as the live debut of ‘All My Friends’ ensure this evening is the spectacle it promised to be, but it’s what transpires after ‘Misery’ brings tonight to a beautiful close that will be talked about forever in Creeper folklore.
After a vampire beheads Gould, a video announces that the band has signed with Spinefarm Records and new single ‘Ghost Brigade’ has just been released. As one chapter closes, another begins and Creeper remain on course for greatness.
Outside the venue its wet, miserable and 2022 is kicking our ass. Once inside Alexandra Palace in London however, well, its summer 2001, we’re with our friends and we don’t have a care in the world!
Yes, tonight the venue plays host to not just headliners Sum 41 but also special guests Simple Plan as we all get to relive our youth. But up first, some fresh blood and local artist Cassyette, who has been busy making a name for herself over the past couple of years.
With tonight’s show sold out well in advance, there is a decent crowd in early for her to impress and impress she does. Owning the stage like a seasoned veteran, she is able to stir up that early crowd and get them engaged fully in proceedings.
Tracks such as ‘Dear Goth’ and ‘Mayhem’ sound huge in this large venue and intimate that hers is a name that will become more familiar for the masses in the future.
WATCH ‘DEAR GOTH’ ON YOUTUBE
After a short gap, Simple Plan are ready to launch into a barrage of pop punk goodness. With a full production behind them, and the audience lapping up every moment, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Simple Plan were the headliners tonight.
All the fan favourites are present as the band commence our journey back in time. This is an immensely fun show that reinforces just how iconic Simple Plan are in their field.
Finally it’s time for headliners Sum 41 to arrive on stage to huge levels of expectation. With the band celebrating the anniversaries of their first two albums, ‘All Killer No Filler’ and ‘Does This Look Infected?’, fans are ready for a party.
And it’s a party that they get with barely any lull in pace or atmosphere. Fan favourites such as ‘Motivation’, ‘The Hell Song’, ‘We’re All to Blame’, ‘War’ and ‘Underclass Hero’ dominate the setlist.
Whilst those two early albums are focused on, it’s a career spanning set from the band. Add to this pyro galore and you have a sensational show. ‘In Too Deep’, ‘Pieces’ and ‘Still Waiting’ all feature later in a relentlessly good set.
By the time the evening ends with ‘Fat Lip’, the band have succeeded in removing all our cares and have done their legacy justice.
Disillusioned and close to bankruptcy, it is fair to say that 2001’s ‘Free All Angels’, was a make or break record for Ash. Whilst debut album, ‘1977’, had hit the number one spot and made the band a household name, sophomore release, ‘Nu-Clear Sounds’ had seen the bands momentum stall.
Having seemingly hit rock bottom, a refreshed approach saw the band write and record what would be their saving grace, ‘Free All Angels’. Returning the band to the top of the charts, and serving as a springboard to greater success, it is again fair comment to say that the album rescued the group’s career.
This week has seen the band celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the album with three very special shows. Rejoined by guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, who departed the band in 2006, Ash have played the album in full first in Manchester, then Birmingham and finally tonight at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London.
On the eve of the funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, there is a perfectly observed minutes silence at 8pm.
Shortly thereafter opening act The Gulps take to the stage and do a suitable job of raising spirits and getting those in attendance ready for our headliners.
WATCH ‘SHINING LIGHT’ ON YOUTUBE
A mighty roar greets Ash and particularly Hatherley to the stage and the band proceed to play the entirety of ‘Free All Angels’. The quality of the record is borne out with opening trio, ‘Walking Barefoot’, ‘Shining Light’ and ‘Burn Baby Burn’, with even frontman Tim Wheeler commenting on the run.
The singles, naturally, played a large role in the success of the album but it is the overall quality that ensures that remains as revered today as when released in 2001. ‘Candy’, ‘Someday’, ‘Sometimes’ and ‘There’s A Star’ are all glorious before ‘World Domination’ brings the run though to a close.
This doesn’t end the evening however as Wheeler quips about making the most of their time with Hatherley, before introducing the first song that they worked on together, ‘A Life Less Ordinary’.
Ash are a fine live act, but tonight the addition of Hatherley really ratchets things up a notch or two. The added layers and intricacies level up the band and the likes of ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Clones’ sound absolutely huge tonight.
Towards the end of the night the band break out tracks such as ‘Numbskull’, ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘Girl From Mars’ much to the delight of the audience.
Tonight has been a reflection of a period of time not just for Ash but in British music. It’s an evening drenched in nostalgia but for those in the venue it’s all about the immediacy of the performance. It’s only fitting that a final airing of ‘Burn Baby Burn’ closes out what has been a successful celebration of a truly great album.
All Points East is once again taking over Victoria Park in London for a series of huge shows and community activities. The event which debuted in 2018 has brought some of the most critically acclaimed acts in the world to London over the years, and this year will include performances from The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk, Tame Impala, The National, Disclosure and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Night one plays host to iconic ensemble Gorillaz, but first fans have to battle transport issues created by strikes affecting buses, overground, underground trains. Coldplay’s show tonight at Wembley Stadium is postponed to support fan attendance, but All Points East decide to press ahead with little acknowledgement of the issues.
Almost certainly some fans will have thought twice about the journey, however as we arrive at the festival site around dinner time it is clear that many thousands have managed to navigate the issues. Attendance today is far from full, however is far greater than we perhaps expected given the challenges.
This is a highly corporate festival and this comes across in the atmosphere. There are plenty of music fans in attendance but also more than enough people clearly just looking for a very expensive place to drink in the sun with their friends! With only cans of beer available from most bars, I’d suggest a 24 pack from the supermarket, a decent stereo and a garden would’ve been a better option for some.
Watch ‘Kerosene!’ from Yves Tumor on Youtube
Upon arrival we force ourselves through the picnic benches and corporate sponsors to the ‘West’ Stage where Yves Tumor is strutting their stuff much to either the delight or bemusement of those in attendance. Tumor’s eccentric electronic rock is a great way to get into the festival spirit and helps to remind us that we are actually here for some live music!
There are many stages of varying sizes at All Points East, but for tonight we need to dart between the two main stages. These are at opposite ends of the site, but we are able to get between them in under five minutes with the utilisation of a power walk.
Watch ‘TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION’ from Turnstile on Youtube
It’s therefore to the ‘East’ stage next for us and American hardcore punks Turnstile. This is a group making noise both literally and figuratively with latest album, ‘Glow On’, bringing new eyes and bigger audiences for the band.
The critical acclaim achieved by ‘Glow On’ has certainly helped the band grow, but their live shows have ensured that once you take a look at them, you don’t want to look away. Today the band feel at home on the big stage and their performance is once again captivating and engaging.
The setlist is dominated by ‘Glow On’ tonight which is no surprise, and once their time is finished fans are left in awe of what they have just witnessed. So would we be if we didn’t now need to race back to the ‘West’ stage for another incredible live act, IDLES!
Watch ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’ from IDLES on Youtube
IDLES are one of the most visceral and enthralling acts to emerge in the last decade. Four stunning albums into what promises to be a legendary career, the band attract a big crowd to the far end of the festival site.
It’s also an impassioned crowd as they let go with their heroes to the likes of ‘Mother’, ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, ‘A Hymn’ and ‘The Wheel’. IDLES are a force of nature once they hit the stage and they somehow manage to make an enormous corporate field feel like a tiny little club show.
Their performance tonight is headline quality with closing duo ‘Danny Nedelko’ and ‘Rottweiler’ eliciting a rapturous response from the crowd. The connection between IDLES and their fans is a beautiful thing to witness and surely soon enough they will be the final act of these sized events.
It’s a hard thing for any act to follow IDLES, but that is exactly what Gorillaz must do next. Thankfully for them they are the brainchild of Damon Albarn who has a natural ability to control a festival crowd.
Albarn is joined in Gorillaz by a collection of extremely talented musicians who together bring the vision to life. For over twenty years now the music of Gorillaz has pushed boundaries, experimented and brought together collaborators from all walks of musical life. Tonight the group showcase this to an expectant All Points East audience starting with ‘M1 A1’ and ‘Last Living Souls’.
The overall setlist tonight is heavy on the ‘Demon Days’ and ‘Plastic Beach’ albums, but it is a career-spanning set with early favourite ’19-2000’ arriving early in the show.
As you’d probably expect the bigger hits elicit the biggest reactions today, perhaps more noticeably so with this cosmopolitan crowd. Another influence on the crowd reaction measuring scale is the plethora of special guests that Gorillaz are able to bring out. The biggest surprise comes with Tame Impala joining Gorillaz and Bootie Brown on new song ‘New Gold’.
We are also treated to Shaun Ryder and Rowetta on ‘DARE’, Paul Simonon on ‘Plastic Beach’ and De La Soul on ‘Feel Good Inc’, not to mention appearances from Popcaan, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Moonchild Sanelly, Mos Def and Sweetie Irie. Yes there is a real party feel to the show tonight as Gorillaz parade their friends.
All this makes for a very memorable evening that draws to a close with ‘Clint Eastwood’. In just a few hours we’ve witness four fantastic acts all presenting their art in their own unique ways. All Points East may feel overly commercial at times but nobody can doubt their ability to curate some of the most eclectic and quality line-ups on offer by UK festivals.
It’s hot, hot, hot! It’s British Summer Time and the hot ticket this year is a two night stay from Seattle icons Pearl Jam. Oh yes, Hyde Park in London is packed in like a giant sweaty sauna with a delicious soundtrack on offer so let’s dive straight in.
This is another event to have suffered multiple COVID postponements but finally the gates upon on a sweltering hot Friday and diehard fans man the barriers and merch stands as they await the arrival of their heroes.
Whilst the Pearl Jam name sits atop of the banner this weekend, there is actually a packed undercard to enjoy as well. First up for us is Simon Townshend on the main stage who plays a decent opening set despite appearing more concerned with the fact Eddie Vedder was going to join him for a song, but couldn’t. When not awkwardly obsessing on the matter, Townshend showed why his own musical pedigree was actually sufficient. Very odd!
Townshend is followed on the main stage by The Murder Capital, who turn the intensity up a little. This is a band that has been winning man plaudits since their 2018 inception, and with performances like this you can see why.
It is then over to the ‘Hard Rock Rising’ stage where the fantastic Daytime TV make an early bid for performance of the weekend. Our recent ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast guests stop early attendees in their tracks, as they pause to savour the likes of ‘We Can’t Be Friends’, ‘Ugly’ and ‘Zombie’. Expect big things from this group.
WATCH ‘UGLY’ FROM DAYTIME TV ON YOUTUBE
Perhaps it’s the sunshine, or the atmosphere and sense of occasion but there are some great sets this afternoon. Both White Reaper and Cat Power entertain the masses on the main stage, whilst sandwiched in between over on the ‘Birdcage’ stage are LIFE. LIFE attract a big crowd to the small stage and certainly make the most of their time on stage as they showcase their upcoming release, ‘North East Coastal Town’.
The quality of the line-up shines through next with a run of Fatherson, Pixies and October Drift before our headliners Pearl Jam. Fatherson first deliver a superb set on the ‘Birdcage’ stage which spotlights latest album, ‘Normal Fears’ with airings of ‘Better Friend’, ‘Dive’ and ‘Love For Air’.
Pixies are a major draw over on the main stage and they don’t disappoint playing a crowd pleasing set featuring ‘Gouge Away’, ‘Where Is My Mind?’, ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ and closer ‘Debaser’. Stood in the early evening sunshine, this is surely the definition of the perfect festival set.
Tucked away on the ‘Birdcage’ stage however is perhaps the perfect opportunistic festival set. That is in sense of a band grabbing their opportunity and their audience with both hands and dragging them kicking and screaming into a moment.
One of those moments that you walk away from and say, “wow”, that you tell your friends about. The band in question is October Drift who deliver a typically visceral experience for the audience, not least when singer Kiran Roy climbs a literal tree mid song.
WATCH THE FULL PELT MUSIC PODCAST WITH GUESTS OCTOBER DRIFT
It’s then finally time for Pearl Jam to take to the main stage much to the delight of those diehard fans still stood stoically. BST is typically a very corporate event with an often stagnant atmosphere, but the Pearl Jam fans help to bring some life this year.
There are upsides to these highly polished BST events such as the good facilities, but a downside can be the various VIP sections sucking the life out of the crowd. Thankfully they have minimal impact this weekend with fans clearly desperate to catch their heroes after a two plus year wait.
Pearl Jam for their part do exactly what they need to do, which for the most part is just play. Vedder does regularly take time to engage the audience but it’s the music that really does the talking tonight.
Friday’s set list is well received and features the likes of ‘Even Flow’, ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Alive’, before a finale of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ with guest John McEnroe!
WATCH ‘ALIVE’ FROM PEARL JAM ON YOUTUBE
There can be no complaints from fans with the band on form, the weather absolutely cracking and the undercard on fire. It’s good then that we get to do it all over again on Saturday!
The weather is again relentless hot as we arrive on day two. There is a sense of déjà-vu with fans again getting in early to stake out their spots and pillage the merch stalls.
Today is different however as we have a wholly different undercard, which starts for us today on the ‘Hard Rock Rising’ stage with Tigercub. The Brighton band help to blow off any cobwebs and get the day started right, with a good rocking!
We are then back down to the main stage for The Last Internationale who have proven themselves to be an incredible live act. Today is no different with vocalist Delila Paz orchestrating the performance from the front. The band’s tight bluesy rock goes down perfectly as the mid-afternoon sun beats down, and day two is already picking up where day one left off.
It’s another day of darting between stages today due to the excellent booking across the stages. Both The Wild Things on the ‘Hard Rock Rising’ stage and Imelda May back on the main stage continue the streak of solid performances next.
WATCH ‘SEVEN’ FROM JAMES AND THE COLD GUN ON YOUTUBE
Next we head back to the ‘Birdcage’ stage for another recent ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast guest, Welsh rockers James and the Cold Gun. The band has been honing their craft supporting various acts over the past year and recently undertook their debut headline tour. Each show that we’ve caught from the band has been better than the last, and again today they hit new heights with a hard hitting show.
Johnny Marr belatedly takes the main stage next and rattles through a set mixed with solo material and Smiths classics that go down very well with the baying audience.
Back over on the ‘Birdcage’ stage Petrol Girls blitz their short time on stage leaving a trail of both awe and bewilderment. Those that get it, get it and those that don’t, don’t; either way the band make an impression, which is all they need to do both musically and politically speaking. Perhaps a little out of place amongst the BST elite, but an important set at a fragile time for this country.
Soon enough it’s time for Stereophonics to grace the main stage and showcase why they could probably headline this venue themselves with the right undercard. Stereophonics are national treasures that can still pump out quality new material. They are also of the best live acts around, so of course this performance was bound to be a huge success.
New material such as ‘Hanging On Your Hinges’ and ‘Do Ya Feel My Love’ more than hold their own amongst mega hits like ‘Have a Nice Day’ and ‘Dakota’. Sing-a-longs aplenty as the band set the stage for the grand finale.
WATCH ‘HANGING ON YOUR HINGES’ FROM STEREOPHONICS ON YOUTUBE
Before Pearl Jam do their thing for a second time, we pop back to the ‘Birdcage’ stage one final time for Whispering Sons who are perhaps the only underwhelming performance of the weekend. Not bad for a festival whose undercards are usually a little tedious. Bravo to the booking team for these two days of fantastic acts.
To top it all off? Pearl Jam of course! Yes headline set number two from a band that always mixes things up. This weekend in London that means two nearly entirely different setlists, a real treat for fans.
Night two highlights include ‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’, ‘Black’, ‘Yellow Ledbetter’ and an impassioned speech from Eddie Vedder on American gun culture prior to an airing for ‘Throw Your Hatred Down’ with Johnny Marr.
Closing out the double header with a cover of ‘Baba O’Riley’, Pearl Jam have reaffirmed their status as one of the most vital bands of the past 30 years. Their legacy is built and they have legendary status, but there still feels like there is more to come.
These two days have been a delight with quality performances from top to bottom, plus British Summer Time came through with not a rain cloud in sight – could we have asked for any more?
After two years of waiting, Arizonian emo icons Jimmy Eat World finally arrive at what Jim Adkins refers to as his favourite venue to play. That love is reciprocated as Brixton Academy is packed tonight as fans await their heroes.
Those in the venue early are greeted by opening act together PANGEA from Los Angeles. A promising start soon begins to plod as the heat takes hold. It’s been a hot one today and as this set continues, fans begin to wilt.
Anticipation rises again for our main support act, The Get Up Kids. The influential group are given a good forty five minutes to play with, but this may end of working against them. Again the set starts well, but soon becomes samey and tiresome, with the general lethargy of the audience not exactly helping to create an exciting atmosphere.
With a crowd devoid of vigour, and energy sapping, tonight needs a kick up the rear end. Thankfully for everyone Jimmy Eat World are ready to do just that and start off their performance with ‘Futures’, ‘Pain’ and ‘Bleed American’.
Suddenly the venue finds its voice and our headliners are able to revive the flagging audience. There is a connection between Jimmy Eat World and their fans and that means even new tracks such as ‘Criminal Energy’ from latest effort ‘Surviving’ are savoured.
The first two bands time on stage dragged, but our headline set flies past, which is always a good sign. This is a band that knows what the fans want, and they simply plough through their fantastic back catalogue.
Obvious highlights come from the sing-a-long moments such as ‘Big Casino’, ‘A Praise Chorus’, ‘Work’ and ‘Hear You Me’. The whole set tonight flows well though and by the time main set closers ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’ are aired the crowd are refreshed and able to let loose.
An encore of ‘Get It Faster’ and ‘23’ brings an end to what has ultimately been an enjoyable night which was well worth the wait!
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – LONDON STADIUM – LIVE REVIEW
The career of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is well chronicled and isn’t something that we need to go in to great depth on. The fact that John Frusciante is back in the fold however is highly noteworthy.
Frusciante takes the band to a different level, one that they have struggled to retain over the past decade or so during his absence. Both on record and live it has felt like the legendary act were simply going through the motions.
That all changes now though with the iconic four members in place, the band instantly finds themselves elevated. A huge world tour taking in some of the biggest venues on offer tonight arrives at the London Stadium for the first of two nights in the venue.
Opening acts Thundercat and Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals both do a good job in warming up the crowd, who bask in the summer sun. Yes, the great British weather does well to accommodate three Californian acts which helps to add to the atmosphere.
It’s then over to the Red Hot Chili Peppers as Frusciante, Flea and Chad Smith hit the stage and break into an intro jam that ramps up in intensity until the unmistakeable opening to ‘Can’t Stop’ cuts through.
From here frontman Anthony Kiedis leads his cohort through a mixture of old and new tracks to the delight of the receptive audience. The likes of ‘Dani California’, ‘Scar Tissue’ and ‘Snow ((Hey Oh))’ elicit stadium filling sing-a-longs as the band showcase their immense back catalogue.
The past decade is ignored as the band celebrate the return of Frusciante, who is a breath of fresh air for the band tonight. Of course, the guitarist joined the band for their recent album ‘Unlimited Love’, and tracks from that album help to testify to his impact. ‘These Are the Ways’ and ‘Black Summer’ are two highlights tonight even amongst the older offerings.
Naturally the biggest reactions come for the likes of ‘Otherside’, ‘Californication’ and ‘Give It Away’ but the whole setlist tonight is well structured to the occasion. Tonight is a celebration and that is reflected in the bands performance.
An encore of ‘Under the Bridge’ and ‘By the Way’ sends the crowd off into the night having witnessed a legendary act prove that they do still have something left to give.
THE HELLA MEGA TOUR – LONDON STADIUM – LIVE REVIEW
The mass hysteria of excitement over the initial announcement of The Hella Mega Tour was something to behold. Of course, multiple unpredictable delays have occurred since then and these shows take place now almost three years later.
That initial excitement naturally dimmed by the events of the past few years soon returns however as you approach the impressive London Stadium in Stratford. Spirits are high as fans funnel into the venue ready for three iconic acts.
Before then though, they are greeted by opening act Amyl and The Sniffers who christen the stage with their unique brand of punk rock. Punk was built on rebellion and spite so it’s refreshing to see a band going back to those roots after the genre has become somewhat safe over the last decade.
WATCH ‘SECURITY’ FROM AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
Some fans get it, others look on in bemusement, but one thing is sure and that is that playing a potentially poisoned chalice of a support slot, the group deliver something memorable.
Any opening band was always going to be overshadowed by what follows on The Hella Mega Tour. It’s soon time to start the feast of music on offer today, and the crowd has piled in early for the first of our three headlining acts Weezer.
What makes The Hella Mega Tour special is that each of the three main acts get not just a headline set length but also full production. Weezer take full advantage of that with a stunning stage setup, but for me the appeal of Weezer live has always been the music, and today the fans are treated to a stunning setlist.
Opening with ‘Hash Pipe’, ‘Beverly Hills’, ‘My Name Is Jonas’ and ‘Pork and Beans’, the band instantly have the packed audience in the palm of their hands. The band proceed to mix old, new and covers. By the time they take their leave with ‘Buddy Holly’, the band have set the bar very high for their contemporaries to follow!
Thankfully for both those following bands and the fans in attendance, both are more than capable to keeping pace with the very best. Next to grace the stage are Fall Out Boy who again waste no time in plying the crowd with huge hits.
‘The Phoenix’ sees the band flex their muscles with pyro galore and the extravagance of the band never really fades with their set designed to tell a story. There is no real lull in pace by the band today as they blast out hit after hit; the only short respite coming due to an issue in the crowd.
Fall Out Boy are slightly younger than their tour buddies but with their performance today they show that they have reached that iconic status already. You really could go home happy at this point following three great performances, but that’s the beauty of The Hella Mega Tour, it’s mega and there is a final performance remaining from global superstars Green Day.
WATCH ‘BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS’ FROM GREEN DAY
By this point anticipation from the crowd has reached a fever pitch and after years of delay and hours of acts behind us, fans are ready to explode. Imagine the response then when the band open with ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Holiday’!
Yes, it’s clear that the band are prepared to make up for lost time and it’s an old fashioned rocker of a show from Green Day. Perhaps they are trying to keep up with Fall Out Boy or justify their position on top of the bill, but their performance is slick and removes some of the bloatedness of latter year Green Day.
Of course, the band has the hits for a situation like this and hearing a packed stadium sing every word of the likes of ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, ‘Minority’ and ‘Basket Case’ just shows what we have missed over the past couple of years.
We may have had to wait an awful long time for The Hella Mega Tour but wow was it worth the wait. Every band brought their A game, and the show as a whole will become a thing of legend from here on out!