We caught up with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in December 2016 on their last visit to the SSE Arena and fourteen months later they are as bright, colourful and playful as ever.

As usual, their high energy Bagrock performance consists of classic rock tunes intertwined with intricate highland jigs and reels. Raucous versions of Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ACDC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ are crowd pleasers and sporadically during the highly entertaining set list the band is joined onstage by members the incredible dance troupe Flings and Things who at times seem to almost fly through the air.

Massive drum beats, jigs, and whirls abound and are strong enough to stir the bones of many a long-dead highlander, but fortunately for us, tonight all they do is cause some hugely entertaining seat dancing and the odd outbreak of sporadic dancing throughout the arena which keeps the luminous jacketed stewards on their toes.

Historically there have always been strong connections with the Scots and the Irish, but tonight the band go further and cement the Celtic connection by delivering a resounding crowd-pleasing version of Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’. Mobile phones light up the packed arena and the Belfast audience sing along with every word transfixed by the fusion of pipe and melody.

The aforementioned connections are further strengthened and expanded upon when the band is joined onstage by the Ulster-Scots Agency Juvenile Pipe Band. Together they create a wall of sound that even Phil Spector would be jealous of as they play their way through the traditional ‘Highland Cathedral’ before throwing in a more mischievous version of C & C Music Factory’s ‘Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)’.

An uplifting version of ‘Starlight’ by Muse contrasts a brooding version of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ and once again shows just how clever the band is at adapting, arranging, and mixing contemporary and classic rock tunes with traditional pipe music.

Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ signals the end of the show and the as audience take to their feet a closing medley of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ and Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ has the crowd at ecstatic levels and bouts of dad dancing spontaneously break out around the arena.

A Chilli Pipers Show is a full on high energy experience delivered by world-class musicians and choreographers.

Before they leave, they promise a new record and return visit to our shores in 2019. We’ll be there and we whole heartedly recommend the experience to one and all.