It’s midnight, I’m sitting in a budget hotel, and I have to be up in four hours to catch my flight back home to Melbourne to work. I’ve also just been at the Sydney Opera House to see Kasabian’s second show of their two-nights-only Australian visit. There is so much adrenaline ripping through my system that I’m not going to sleep tonight.
Kasabian talk a big game. Their ego and swagger can be polarising. If you are going to throw out that kind of attitude you really need to be able to back it up. Though I’ve seen them steadily up their performance and showmanship in the seven years I’ve been following them, this time around it was exponential. I don’t know if finally headlining Glastonbury has validated them somehow, but tonight was watertight.
My seat was behind the stage. These shows were in-the-round, if you will, though not in the true sense, as the band still faced the main hall and we had a rear view the whole time. I’m quite interested in sitting in a seat with a ‘restricted’ view like this because it gives you the rare opportunity to experience a show from a different perspective – you can see the techs, you can see the keyboards crap out, you can see the communication between band members as they turn their backs to the main audience, and you can see the crowd response throughout the show.
I have to make mention of how inclusive an experience it was, with all members of the band making sure those of us not in the traditional eye-line were acknowledged, appreciated, and included. There’s no chance for the band to have a breather when there are people watching their every move from every angle. Kasabian worked it, to use their own lyrics, like a treat.
“Comeback Kid” and “Put Your Life On It” were the two new tracks played from the upcoming album. Based on both, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. “Comeback Kid”, in particular, is going to be an anthem. The rest of the set was a feast of favourites, including “Vlad The Impaler”, “Club Foot”, “Switchblade Smiles”, and “Reason Is Treason”. The vocals of both Tom Meighan and Sergio Pizzorno were top notch – especially when they harmonise, and they are so well supported by the incredible Ian Matthews, Tim Carter, and Ben Kealey, plus one of the most under-rated bassists in the business, Chris Edwards. It was a privilege to watch them all so closely.
Special mention needs to go to the crowd tonight. Right from the outset there was a huge, positive energy, and from the moment the band took the stage until long after they were gone it felt like the greatest party on Earth. Being able to observe from behind the band, when I wasn’t completely absorbed myself, it was fantastic to see a truly appreciative, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic crowd. During the break between the main set and encore the entire room was on their feet, clapping, chanting, and singing together. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and I hope the band really did feel as blown away as they appeared.
I’m lucky to have seen many fantastic gigs, by many exceptional artists, and the following statement should definitely not detract in any way from the immense joy they’ve given, but tonight’s gig is the best gig I’ve ever attended. Band, crowd, crew, and location. I related to Sergio as he lingered on stage, after his bandmates had departed, serenading us with the chorus of “Put Your Life On It” … “and I, I wanna say I love you”.
This was special.