Being a resident of Leicester all my life (save for the obligatory few years away at Uni), I can safely say that the city has never before seen a day like Saturday 21 June 2014.
Not only are Kasabian the biggest band to ever come from Leicester, they are also currently one of the biggest and best live acts in the world – so their Summer Solstice gig at Victoria Park was always going to be a big deal. The scale of the event was truly remarkable though, with the city centre heaving with revellers all afternoon and a full-on festival spirit engulfing the sun-soaked streets. Not exactly you’re normal Saturday afternoon in town!
It’s a shame that Kasabian have had to elevate themselves all the way up to the level of Glastonbury headliners before Leicester’s slack council deemed them worthy of the effort to put on a huge homecoming show, but that dilly-dallying has actually worked in the bands favour as they now have a full five albums worth of material to use in their setlist.
The band took full advantage of their impressive back catalogue last night, using tunes from all of their albums to structure an epic set that never dropped in terms of intensity and momentum. From the opening blast of ‘Bumblebee’ from latest album 48:13, to their customary set-closer ‘L.S.F’ taken from their self-titled debut album, Kasabian delivered a career-spanning set that can only accurately be described as ‘triumphant’.
The way they built the set up to a rousing second-half crescendo also puts paid to any doubts people may have about their Glastonbury headlining credentials. Starting the sequence off with ‘Club Foot’ and then building the atmosphere and tension throughout rousing renditions of ‘Re-wired’, ‘treat’ and ‘Empire’ before releasing it all with the electric ‘Fire’, Kasabian showed they have the experience as well as the tunes to pull off epic live performances.
The encore would have held no surprises for Kasabian fans, featuring the usual line-up of electro-bangers ‘Switchblade Smiles‘ and ‘Vlad The Impaler’, and the now familiar cover of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ morphing into the massive ‘L.S.F’.
There wasn’t much in the way of crowd interaction throughout the gig. Tom made a few cursory acknowledgements – “Put your hands up”, “How’s your day been” etc… – but it was mostly about the music. Until the end, that is, when emotions took over and they each had their turn addressing their hometown crowd. Bassist Chris Edwards summed it all up nicely, shouting from the stage: “I never get a chance on the mic. So thanks Leicester. You’ve made my fucking year.”
Kasabian, Summer Solstice, Victoria Park, Leicester 21 June setlist:
‘Shoot The Runner’
‘Days Are Forgotten’
‘Vlad The Impaler’