With news being announced that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are going to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame within the next few weeks, I am taken back to a time when I, myself, met the Chilis.
It was the nineteenth of November 2011 and the anticipation of seeing the Chilis was phenomenal. After travelling all the way to Birmingham to see them, it felt so rewarding to see a band of this calibre play such a well-crafted set-list. I was welcomed by a group of fans who had watched the Chilis play previously, before pointing out that the seats we had were the best they’d experienced.
I was encapsulated by the seemingly magical atmosphere. Every seat was filled and as favourites both new and old were played, an army of fans sung along faithfully. I am by no means new to going to gigs but the sheer passion of these fans rivalled KISS’s renowned fan army – and that’s something.
After the show, the wait began. The real shock was the small number of fans waiting in hope of seeing or greeting the band. Presumably the size of the LG Arena and the fact that it was winter-like weather put off the majority, or maybe they were simply content with just being part of that special concert. The security team at the service door kept telling the fans that the Chilis had left, despite there obviously being 4 large black and chrome vans for the band.
It was touch and go for many of the fans as numerous coaches (presumably for the roadies/technicians etc) left. Mauro Refosco, the percussionist accompanying the Chilis on the I’m With You tour, was the first band associate to come and talk to the excited fans. Refosco explained that Anthony, the frontman of the band, had hurt his foot (which has now been operated on) and so him and Flea had left along with Flea’s daughter to get some rest. Although this put a dampener on the fans spirits, there was still the guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and the drummer, Chad Smith.
The final two vans started to make the approach out of the designated area, as the previous coaches and other vans had done prior to leaving. The fans already trying to gain the attention of the remaining Chili Peppers gave up only shouting and tried to edge closer to the vehicles. As the vehicles were leaving, the sound of brakes being suddenly hit echoed and before anyone had a chance to realise what had happened, the doors of the remaining two vans flew open.
Two of the biggest smiles greeted adoring fans from the moment those doors opened. Klinghoffer and Smith happily posed for photographs with everyone present. It didn’t matter that these two men were part of one of the biggest bands of the past hundred years, they were humble and affectionate in abundance.
The majority of my time was spent with Chad Smith as I spoke to him about various things including: Music, the success of bands and the possibility of another album. Smith was on top form and one of the first things he said to me was:
“What a nice jumper you have, I like it.”
I then replied:
“What a nice band you have, I like it.”
I know that the band have done this thousands of times all over the world, but they somehow managed to – much like their performance, make the entire situation intimate. Smith said that it was a cold night and we’d been standing out in it for a while, so the least they could do was stop. I think it’s very noble of the band to take time to go the extra miles for their audience, they are genuinely nice guys. Apologies were made for the absence of Anthony and Flea, and the pair literally spent twenty – thirty minutes with us all.
In true character, Smith and Klinghoffer told us about Fleas eccentric challenge. The idea was that Flea was giving away clues to a signed amount of money in a hidden location within the city of the concert (Birmingham in this case). Well I was going home in the morning and I felt more than satisfied with meeting the Chilis and getting photographs and autographs.
I cannot possibly convey all of the energy, humour and great conversation that I and other fans shared on a personal level with these distinguished individuals. I had finally met the Chilis, one of my biggest dreams had come true, and it was better than I had could ever imagine. If you can, go, it was unbelievable – and that was before I met the band.
To see the set list that was played visit:
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Find out more about Mauro Refosco here: