CALIFORNIA surf band Red Hot Chili Peppers rode the crest of a wave at the Stadium of Light last night.
The US four-piece rocked the home of the Black Cats, bringing to a close this year’s trio of blockbuster stadium gigs in the city.
There was more of a festival vibe for the final piece in the talented trilogy with support acts Reverend & the Makers, local talent The Futureheads and The Wombats kicking off entertainment from late afternoon ahead of the Chilis’ arrival on stage.
This was, en masse, the youngest crowd of the summer at the Stadium of Light and they broke into bouncing to greet the American rockers on stage.
Mosh pit scenes ensued as bottles of liquids were thrown among the standing section of the crowds.
They swayed as one to the tune of tracks from the Chilis’ new album I’m With You such as Monarchy of Roses as well as Chili classics.
Frontman Anthony Kiedis led the band in an outfit that belied his 49 years – baseball cap on head, one trouser leg rolled up – but this was youthful funk rock at its best.
Yet it was semi-naked bassist Flea who proved the most charismatic. In rare interludes where the band spoke to the crowd, he yelled: “I love Mackems, I love Geordies. I love them both the same.”
Later on, he broke into an impromptu handstand; a jester playing to a court of tens of thousands.
Despite the band’s, on the whole, lacklustre crowd interaction, the audience lapped them up and revelled in the frenetic stage show which saw the headliners jump about the stage like a young band practising in a garage after school.
As the sun set on the stadium, and England went to penalties against Italy, the band broke into the anthemic Californication which rang out around the stadium rafters.
In a career that’s spanned the decades, the band have spawned many hits and chart toppers such as Under the Bridge and Scar Tissue were stand out moments of their first-ever major show in the North East – their only previous appearance was at the former 400-capacity Newcastle Riverside in 1990.
Their only other gig in Britain this year being in Knebworth on Saturday, the crowd relished the chance to see their favourite rockers, ripping through their classics.
Their exit from stage seemed rather subdued compared to the fireworks of Coldplay but this summer was all about three very different acts, three very different styles and three different crowds.
It will be interesting to see what musical mixture is delivered to our doorstep next year.