During the break between jobs, I found out that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were to play in Sydney in Feb of 2023. I wasted no time in booking the tickets. Well, the concert was this week, on Thursday. Jo and I loved it.
How was it like?
We booked Gold VIP reserved seats since we had no idea how the seating in the Accor stadium would be. I was impressed by the public transportation arrangements. The organizers, along with Transport New South Wales had a dedicated train line with express trains running every 10 minutes starting from Sydney Central Train Station. about 30 minutes prior to gates open. The fare for the train was also covered by the tickets. The train driver joined in the fun, with giving a train arrival announcement incorporating many of RHCP’s song names! That was nice. The email reminders mentioned multiple times not to get cars due to lack of parking (there were other reminders a week prior informing people to either prebook the parking or not to get their vehicles. Not sure if this arrangement was common or specific to this concert, though. This arrangement made reaching the stadium a breeze.
The stadium was just a quick 5 minute walk from the train station, and as we entered, we spotted the merch store and the food trucks.We bought couple of tshirts and we went over to pick up our hotseat goodies (poster of the band, and a journal nothing that great, tbh). We got slightly annoyed when we tried to enter - our tickets mention a gate that was different from what was listed on the VIP Hot Seat page. We figured the Hot Seat page would be more accurate and queued up for the gate listed on the Hot Seat letter. After about 20 minutes of waiting, just as we were about to pass through security and enter, the event organizers started announcing and asking people go to the gate mentioned on the ticket. This meant this whole queueing up went for a toss and we had to go back in line to the other gate. Thankfully the line wasn’t too big at the other gate.
We found our seats quickly and sat down. The sun was beating down pretty heavily, but thankfully it didn’t last too long as it set behind the stadium dome. Our seats were decent and the volume was just right - loud enough to get you pumping but not loud to cause ear pain. The facilities in the stadium were decent, with enough options for food and drinks, including beer (I skipped alcohol, though). The opening act was Post Malone. I had never heard of him before booking the tickets, but after listening to some of his songs just before the concert, I knew we’d enjoy the whole show. There were some interesting moments in his set - including getting a lucky fan to come up to stage and strum the guitar for one of his songs, and at a later song he smashed the guitar to 4 pieces and gave away the pieces to more folks in the pit. There was also a shooey! Overall, I enjoyed the set very much, despite not being a big fan of rap & hip-hop. The crowd was high energy and responding quite well to Post Malone, and when the Red Hot Chili Peppers hit the stage, it reached new heights!
The setlist for the Chili Peppers is here. They played 7 of their 19 song setlist from their newer albums - Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen - which didn’t seem to gel well with some of the older crowd. The response to these songs was quite low. I was a bit bummed that they didn’t play Scar Tissue and only Snow from Stadium Arcadium were featured, but hey, gotta live with that. Some people were pretty unhappy with Under the Bridge being omitted (heard some friendly Oz swearin' to get them to play it). Some pics from the concert below! (or click here, if it doesn’t embed correctly)
I’ve also created a video of the concert - mainly 30s clips from most of the songs (with near full recording of Black Summer and Californication). Check it out below or click here.
The ugly bits
Most of the crowd was pretty well behaved, but there was this guy who got pretty drunk (or doped? not sure..) and got physical with event security. He was subdued and escorted by the police. The one that pissed me and a bunch of other folks on the row we were seated on - a couple on the next row whose sole aim was to take incessant selfies and photoshoots while standing up and blocking for all of us. Was just so infuriating, especially when the only goal was to take photos and post on instagram to show they were there. Doing that is fine, just go down or side and don’t block visuals for others!
Anyway, loved the concert. Hope they’d return - I think I will go again without thinking.