Reviewed on Wednesday March 8
Looking around the half-empty Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with only 15 minutes to go until showtime, you can’t help but be struck by how odd a venue this is for a band like Kasabian.
With seating all the way down to the stage, no support band, and only two drinks allowed per visit to the bar, the experience is already unlike most rock gigs. There’s a Puccini opera in the theatre next door.
But how quickly the surrounds are shaken off. Lights dim, a powerful bass hum washes over the soon-filled auditorium and on stride Leicester’s finest, launching immediately into their latest release ‘Comeback Kid’.
“Hello Sydney Opera House, it’s lovely to be here,” says lead singer Tom Meighan, before the pounding riff of ‘Bumblebeee’ starts up. “I’m in ecstasy,” the lyrics loop, and a feeling begins to wash over the audience, now on its feet with arms aloft.
The band’s core four is celebrating 20 years together this year. Meighan (tonight wearing a jacket that looks like it still bears the blood stains of the black bull it was made out of), guitarist Serge Pizzorno (in a less gory baggy white tee), bassist Chris Edwards and Ian Matthews (boasting a permanent beaming grin) are joined tonight by an extra guitarist, keyboard player and trumpeter.
The new ones done, here follows five back-to-back classics from the canon: ‘Underdog’, ‘Eez-eh’ which wanders into a jam on Daft Punk’s ‘Around The World’, ‘Shoot The Runner’, ‘Reason Is Treason’ and ‘Days Are Forgotten’. Meighan and Pizzorno do a round of the stage: “How you doing over there? Over there? Back there?”
It’s been five years since Kasabian were last in Sydney, Pizzorno explains. “We looked over at this building and said, ‘One day you will be ours, motherfucker!’” Cue psychedelic ballad ‘La Fee Verte’. Puccini this ain’t.
The sleazy rave section now: ‘Club Foot’, ‘Re-Wired’, an extended ‘Treat’, ‘Empire’ and ‘Switchblade Smiles’, doing miracles for one punter waving his crutches above his head.
New song ‘Put Your Life On It’ couldn’t be less like what it follows: acoustic, gospel-driven and “very emotional”, as Meighan reiterates. Not bad, but not sure.
‘L.S.F.’ is next but it’s what comes after that counts, as the song’s lyric-less refrain is chanted over and over by the audience, beckoning the band back on for an encore. ‘Stevie’, ‘Vlad The Impaler’ and then it’s sing-along time again with ‘Fire’. Kasabian not only rip out the pomp of the distinguished venue, but turn it into a rowdy soccer stadium. And our side wins.