When the phrase “a gig to remember” is thrown about, the first gig that springs to mind for me is the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Croke Park on 26th June 2012. Their I’m with you tour. To say it was a feast for the ears and the eyes would be a vast understatement. As a long time fan of the band I had high hopes for the gig and my, I was not disappointed. Croke Park was the perfect setting for a band with such a stadium presence, a greatness that demands a vast open space for them to be truly marvelled at and applauded.
The evening was kicked off to a winning start when we were “upgraded” to the golden circle, the mosh pit this was not, instead everyone was chilled, the smell of anticipation, great expectation and beer thick in the air. The first act of the night was The Vaccines, an up and coming younger sibling to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their anthem like tunes filling the evening air, pushing the crowd levels of excitement up and up, higher and higher with songs such as Wetsuit and If you wanna raising the highest applause. For a relatively (at the time) new band they had no problems in filling a venue that can, at its peak, accommodate up to 80,000 spectators. Their rhythmic rock was the perfect opener to an evening of guitar lead tunes. All around us people danced, sang, basked in the imminent dusk, the clouds turning pink above us.
Once the Vaccines set had come to a close the crowd was beginning to liven up, the magic of the impending act was beginning to seep through Croke Park and the smell of excitement lingered in the humid air. Next up was a solo Noel Gallagher and his High flying birds. His presence on stage was greeted with much applause and cheers, bouncing around Croke Park, excitement growing faster then the darkness overhead. He opened with some of his solo material, received gladly by his most avid fans. As he moved through his music seamlessly people around us began to rise, sway, move a few inches closer to the stage, safe in the knowledge that soon, the main act would appear. After closing with the songs that made him a household name, Wonderwall and Don’t look back in anger, Noel left the stage, leaving behind him an eager and pulsating audience.
By now the spark of excitement was alive in the air. The main act of the evening was about to commence. People began to move even further forward, their anticipation driving them in their need to be as close to the stage as possible. So we too moved forward in the pit, somewhat basking in the fact that we were in the section closest to the stage, an advantage anyone outside the coveted golden circle, did not possess.
On they came and similar to the jolt one receives upon a stereo suddenly bursting to life, the entire of Croke Park sprung into life, a sort of frenzy was unleashed. This was it. Their energy was infectious, Anthony Kiedis bouncing off the stage like a ball being thrown against a wall, its reaction becoming stronger and fiercer with each pelt, his presence on stage demanded everyone’s attention and we were more than happy to lavish it upon him.
The hits kept on coming, wave upon wave, we rode the surf and we enjoyed every moment. Newer material such as Dani California and Hard to Concentrate was entwined with classics such as Can’t stop, By the way, Otherside, Give it away and the list goes on, reading like a what’s what of classic hits. All too soon, their set came to a rip roaring finale, the band, the audience on a high, exhausted by how much energy we had all poured into the show, us as mere spectators had been pulled through their musical triumphs in the most electrifying manner possible, a truly rock and roll band with rock and roll levels of energy.
The greatest gig I have ever witnessed.
A gig to remember.