Music review: Red Hot Chili Peppers/The Roots, Hampden Park, Glasgow

Red Hot Chili Peppers PIC: Ethan Miller / Getty
Red Hot Chili Peppers PIC: Ethan Miller / Getty

Red Hot Chili Peppers/The Roots, Hampden Park, Glasgow ***

There is no doubt that Red Hot Chili Peppers are a primo live band, with their tight musicianship and almost telepathic talent for reading their internal musical memos. Their popularity dictates that they can fill the stadiums of the world but their shows, including this one, often intimate a reluctance to really engage with a performance on this scale. Sure, there will be hits – such as, on this occasion, a soulful Zephyr Song with plangent guitar – but also misses, both sins of omission (no Under the Bridge) and commission (bassist Flea’s bewildering cover of Captain Beefheart’s folk oddity Orange Claw Hammer).

This was a largely no-frills and somewhat insular set from an old school rock band, partial to showing off their solo skills at the drop of a drumstick, with only some blinding psychedelic visuals for decoration.

Still there were a couple of revelations: a kilted Flea confirmed that he was not a true Scotsman by walking on his hands across the stage and returning guitarist John Frusciante demonstrated that he has not lost his stellar six-string abilities, despite a decade out of the band in which he concentrated largely on electronic music.

But a heroic Frusciante wigout solo does not a show make and an hour in the crowd were crying out for some Californication. This was duly delivered, followed by a taut By the Way and a punchy Give It Away to close a take-it-or-leave-it display of lean rock efficiency.

At least there was top notch support from soulful Philadelphia hip-hop ensemble The Roots, who combined the spirit of a New Orleans marching band with the sound of seasoned funk brothers, spiced up their set with playful syndrum and tuba solos, and seamlessly flowed from bouncy Jamaican dancehall-infused shimmy into a joyous blast of Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up and the Sugarhill Gang’s Apache before delivering a blistering rock out finish.