I’m starting to run out of superlatives to describe Kasabian as a live band. To many they are the best British live band around after conquering the Sunday headlining slot at this year’s Glastonbury festival. The group are sometimes criticised for their qualities on record but as a live act they really do come into their own.

Tonight they are taking over the Arena in Manchester. It’s a spectacular bowl-like arena but Kasabian make the arena seem a lot smaller, even with its two-tiered seating. They make a crowd feel like a family, an enormous sense of togetherness. It’s a weird sensation that you don’t get with many other bands. It’s intimate and personal yet it’s being played to thousands of people.

This 48:13 Tour has sold out every date and it’s so easy to see why off the back of the No.1. They open with a quirky acoustic intro to ‘Bumblebee’ as Sergio and Tom appear from each wing of the stage. They then dive into the original song and from the outset the whole standing and the majority of the seated area is bouncing. There are sections that are pure mosh-pits and there are sections where people are just bouncing and dancing. No one is stood still. I honestly don’t think Serg would let anybody stand still at one of his gigs.

This tour, Kasabian have integrated other well-known songs into theirs. For example, ‘Black Skinhead’ is the intro into ‘Shoot The Runner’ and ‘Re Wired’ now has an interlude of ‘Word Up’ by Cameo. It’s such a clever touch from the Leicester band.

They play all the classics such as ‘Underdog’, ‘Club Foot’, ‘Empire’ and ‘Eez Eh’. They have also added ‘Thick as Thieves’ into this tours set and it is going down a treat.

It’s the same with most bands. They have a song that gets the crowd raring for more. For Kasabian there is a plethora.

The opening riff to ‘Fire’ starts and you can feel the anticipation around the arena. Tom Meighan shouts down his mic, “This one’s going to fucking hurt you.” The crowd are up in arms as the chorus drops in. Pyrotechnical devices billow out from the hands of young ‘casual’ lads in their Adidas trainers and K-Way cagoules.

The band disappears from the stage with the crowd expecting an inevitable encore that could add finality to any gig. They start with ‘Stevie’. The live sound they create with a four-piece string section and a Jean Michel Jarre esque synth selection is spine shivering. They move onto ‘Vlad The Impala’; Kasabian’s signature live song. Serg counts the crowd down from four in time with the pink and black 48:13 themed countdown that is flashing behind the band. The crowd is in a state of euphoria. Every last bounce is drawn from the crowds’ body. There is still time for ‘LSF’. The intro of ‘Praise You’ gets the fans engaged once again and then ‘LSF’ kicks into life. People on shoulders rise from the sticky, beer soaked concrete floor of the arena for one last sing.

It really is a special gig and a special band. After seeing this tour in Birmingham last month you can’t really help but think that Manchester just do it better.

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Matthew Cooper

University of Chester Music Journalism Student / Drummer Guitarist and Synthesist / Gig Goer