Kasabian Tour Diary
Occasionally, the Breakfast Show will cajole a band into writing a tour diary and sending back pictures. That's exactly what happened with Kasabian - Serge kept track of things for us.
All the tour updates from Serge
SATURDAY 27TH JUNE
We arrived at Glastonbury buzzing, really relaxed. Backstage we met Spinal Tap, who were great. We'd met them at Live Earth and it was weird having Nigel Tufnell come up to me and say 'Hello Serge'. It blew my mind. They were really cool, just how you'd hope them to be. When we walked on stage I was just like 'what the...!'; that's the most insane crowd I've ever seen. Usually with a crowd of that size you're playing in the dark, so it was an overwhelming sight. It felt like that footage you see of Woodstock or the Isle of Wight - just this huge sprawling crowd as far as the eye can see. Tom was wearing Steve Marriott's jacket, which his daughter gave him, so in a funny way it felt like we were connected to the greats. The front fifty rows were so tightly packed; they were trying to jump but they couldn't even get their feet off the ground. Because there's a second delay in the speakers you could see the front rows jump and then everybody else jump a moment later - it looked like a mass of body parts flying everywhere. We changed the set around so that 'Fire' was at the end. We wanted to leave people with their heads mashed like a milkshake. Afterwards I went out front.
It was nice to walk around the Zombie Field and soak up that Night of the Living Dead atmosphere. Naively I went out there and got mobbed straight away. I forget that I've just been on stage, so I was suddenly immersed in it. A lot of people were asking me about where the special guest was. Noel Fielding was going to come on and play 'Vlad' with us, but for various reasons it didn't happen. I think we'll end up doing it at Brixton. That will be a real party gig. By the end I was getting so bored of answering the questions I was telling people our special guest died of a heart attack on Thursday night. Keep them guessing, right? Anyway, next stop, Sheffield!
FRIDAY 26TH JUNE
Because we had Glastonbury on the horizon, we headed straight down to Bristol after the show. We got to the hotel and watched a bit of Glasto on the TV and took it all in. It was the night before any big event; we were all conscious of what had to be done the next day, so it was early nights all round.
THURSDAY 25TH JUNE
This was a weird one. An amazing show. It was very punk rock. A real high energy affair - we hardly stopped. Just bang, bang, bang! The whole room was jumping. I wasn't born in 1977 but the year popped into my head during the gig. It felt like how I imagine those punk shows were - hundreds of kids jumping up and down in gymnasiums and everyone up for it. Then shortly afterwards we heard Jacko had died. Tom came through into the dressing room and said "Remember where you all are today because Michael Jackson is dead". It was hard to take it in. I guess everyone was experiencing the same thing - complete shock. There's been a lot of revisionism going on in the wake of it, but nobody can deny he was a great entertainer.
WEDNESDAY 24TH JUNE
Nottingham Rock City. It's a great venue. Even the name sounds like something out of the 70s. It's grimy and dirty; even the walls are sweaty. It was an old fashioned sort of show. Really loud, really intense, the sound bouncing off the walls and kids going mental. It brought back a few memories of the first major tour. It's the venue you play when you've just graduated from the club circuit and are clawing your way up the greasy pole. It was great to be back there. It was what being in a rock'n'roll band is all about, really.
TUESDAY 23RD JUNE
After the gig we had a few beers in the bar, playing cards. Gary the trumpet player usually wins. He's a little poker ace. He sneaks off at night in all these cities and plays poker and cleans up. I think he's a bit of a shark. Tuesday was a day off, travelling to Nottingham. We went into the oxygen tanks and feel asleep, getting recharged. It always reminds me of the opening scene of Planet of the Apes, when they crash land and wake up in an entirely alien environment.
MONDAY 22ND JUNE
We flew back to Ireland the next day to play in Belfast. It was a bit like going back in time - we played in this Fish Market called St. Georges Hall. It was really old school - just four or five lights and the crowd packed in like sardines. It was another indication that we're getting a new kind of crowd. I hate to assume things but it feels like we're the first rock'n'roll band they're getting into, which is great. It feels like we're appealing to three generations. The people who are into Hawkwind, the people who are into acid house and the Britpop thing and the younger kids. Tom was great - he was dedicating songs to Robocop. There are so many people who over think rock'n'roll, and for me, they're missing the point. It's about being in the moment, and that's Tom. He genuinely feels it.
SUNDAY 21ST JUNE
We spent the day at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It felt a bit like hanging out at NASA on the day they're launching a flight to Mars - everybody in these space suit-style outfits. It was loudest noise I've ever heard - I had to put it earplugs in halfway through. I've got so much respect for the drivers. They're treated like rock stars, and rightly so. Whichever way you look at it, they could die each time they go on the track. The cars are going at 200 miles an hour - they're flying by. It was wild. Meeting Cantona was great, too - he had a real Gallic presence - he's very tall and as wide as a house. He's everything you'd expect.
SATURDAY 20TH JUNE
Slane Castle. A huge event - it was frightening how many people were there. And what a phenomenal line up: Oasis, the Prodigy and us. As a live specatcle, that's hard to beat, a real major event. It was good to see Keith (Flint) again. He told us he was buzzing on the album. As a live force The Prodigy are insane. It was a shame we couldn't have a party with them afterwards, but we'd organised a trip to the British Grand Prix, so we had to get back on the ferry. Silverstone was something else. The hospitality was lavish, and we lorded it up accordingly. We were treated like the number one band in the country, which I guess we are, this week at least. We met Jenson Button, Eric Cantona and the Duchess Of York,amongst others, but that's for next week!
FRIDAY 19TH JUNE
A day off, thankfully. We jumped on the bus, got on the ferry and tried to sleep our way through it. I woke up while we were on the middle of the ocean; it's very disorientating, like being caught in an airlock. Still, it's strangely comforting; if we go down, we go down together. We went out for few beers with Oasis in Dublin in the evening. The town was electric - everyone was getting revved up for the gig, so I don't think they could believe it when they saw Oasis walking through town looking for a drink. We literally got mobbed in the street. But we kept a lid on it - we all knew there was a massive gig looming just over the horizon.
THURSDAY 18TH JUNE
Glasgow is always great, but it was jaw-dropping tonight. I'm a bit wary of saying these sort of things, because it's such a cliche for musicians to say it, but it genuinely is an incredible place to play. At moments during the gig at the O2 Academy it felt like I was being lifted three inches off the floor. The energy, the noise- It's that intense. It was also great doing our own show; you get a real sense of what songs people like and how the album is being received. They were singing every word, which for me as a writer, is the ultimate compliment - it means the new songs are being accepted, which is great. Next stop Ireland.
WEDNESDAY 17TH JUNE
Another huge gig with Oasis at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. For me it was the best of the Oasis shows- a cracking atmosphere. A lot of hanging around. I hate the two hours before the show starts. The last twenty minute tend to take forever.
It's quite funny when you're sitting in the dressing room and the i-pods come out. You can tell how everyone is feeling on that particular day. Tom usually rides in with some Rage Against The Machine or Ian might throw down some jazz. I tend to throw in things which will bend their minds a bit. It's an important part of the day. I know boxers play music before they start, and it really sets the mood. It was another great gig. Noel was saying we're getting better with every show. I think he's buzzing off us being number one as much as we are.
TUESDAY 16TH JUNE
We played Dundee back in '05 and I had this memory of a town that was bang up for a good time. They really love their music and they didn't let us down. The noise at Caird Hall has got to be the loudest crowd I've ever heard, and it was only Tuesday. Christ knows what it would sound like if we played on a Saturday. My eardrums were ringing like bass bins afterwards. After the gig we went back to the hotel, had a drink in the bar and tried to come to terms with the whirlwind of the last few weeks. It's insane. Tom was really buzzing - being on tour is where he's happiest - it's the way he loves to live.
MONDAY 15TH JUNE
We drove overnight to Scotland and pulled up at the hotel which was right on St Andrews golf course. By the time we all regrouped it was quite late, so me and a couple of the lads went for a walk across the golf course at eleven o'clock at night just to clear our heads. It was still daylight. It felt really trippy - I half expected Jim Morrison to come walking the other way to meet us, like that bit in Wayne's World 2. Tour buses and bunkers - that's us at the moment. It was truly beautiful; just a really good day.
SUNDAY 14TH JUNE
Last Sunday we played a gig at Bridlington Spa. It reminded me of the old days in a funny sort of way, when we used to tour around in a splitter van. It was a boiling hot day, so I marked out a pitch in the sand with my heel and we played a little match of three touch football against The Hours boys. They're pretty good, but we beat them two-nil in games. The gig? I didn't know what to expect, but it was rowdy . It was our first time there; in a beautiful old building, right by the sea. The crowd were a real mixed-bag, but they knew all the words- they were with us from the first chords of 'Underdog'. We found out we were number one that day so we had a good old fashioned drink up in the changing room afterwards. A real Viking jolly; it seemed appropriate.
SATURDAY 13TH JUNE
Straight off the bus and into a sports hall in Swindon. Another amazing gig. I get a real buzz off seeing people's faces when they hear the new tunes. There was a real Spinal Tap moment before the encores. We were standing at the side of the stage waiting to go back on and Chris started doing this mental, manic dance. Because it was a sports hall the floor was really waxed and he fell on his arse. If the crowd had seen it they would have found it well funny. But that's the beauty of rock'n'roll - it's all smoke and mirrors. Afterwards we heard that Bernie Ecclestone has invited us to the British Grand Prix.
FRIDAY 12TH JUNE
Supporting Oasis at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. This was probably the best of all the Oasis gigs for us. The capacity for the gig was 60,000 but there must have been 35,000 there for us. We started with Shoot The Runner and they were with us all the way. I looked over at Tom a few times, he's full of surprises. You can't take your eyes off him. I'm not comparing us to The Stones or The Beatles but he's got that magnetic quality all the great rock'n'roll frontmen have. He's the best of his generation. Afterwards it was straight on the bus for Swindon. I'm listening to Malakai's Ugly Side Of Love a lot while we're travelling - it's the record of the year for me so far.
THURSDAY 11TH JUNE
Meant to present an award at the Mojo Awards but too exhausted - we haven't had a day off for weeks. Collapsed on sofa at home. Saw a pic in paper of Daniel Radcliffe carrying a copy of the album. Good to know Harry Potter's on board!
WEDNESDAY 10TH JUNE
It was great playing our own show but there's something about turning up at a stadium. The Stadium Of Light is an incredible place, a sporting cathedral. They don't often do gigs there so we had a few problems. We had to go off during Underdog because people were getting crushed down the front. In a funny way it made the gig, because when we came back on everyone sang Empire - an amazing moment, a mushroom cloud of energy. It was a real sense of togetherness. After a gig like that, nothing can compete. I went back to the hotel, had a pint and a bacon sandwich and floated away.
TUESDAY 9TH JUNE
Played Newcastle O2 Arena. Amazing crowd. They treat it like a football match up there - they know they've got a part to play. They're the twelfth man.
MONDAY 8TH JUNE
Woke up in Manchester. We arrived at HMV to play a six song set to coincide with album launch. Was blown away to see how many young kids were there. It feels great to think West Ryder might be someone's first album, it's psychedelic in the true sense - challenging what pop can be. We played a six song set in the basement. As Tom said, it's the place only seen by staff and shoplifters. In the evening I went out for a curry with Noel and Mani and his missus. It was one of those "is this happening?" moments. We got papped on the way out. I didn't realise until I saw the picture in The Sun the next day. We were all in a row - it looked like a rock'n'roll version of Reservoir Dogs!
SATURDAY 6TH JUNE
On Saturday we heard that Fire was going to go into the top five on Sunday. That news blew us away - I think it's the first guitar band in the top 10 this year. It helped make the gig even more intense.
Afterwards we went back to the dressing room, put the iPod on and we all danced around to classic tunes. A great end to an amazing week.
FRIDAY 5TH JUNE
A day off. Liam [Gallagher] asked me and Tom if we wanted to have lunch with him. We didn't know what it would entail but we met him at his hotel in Manchester and then he took us to this golf course where we got in a helicopter. I'd never been in a helicopter. He wanted to take us for lunch at this restaurant he knows in the Lake District.
It was amazing looking down on the green rolling fields and railway tracks. Tom and Liam would laugh at me, but I thought the country looked amazing - it made me proud to be British. We landed on the lawns of this mansion and it was all very rock'n'roll. There were people pissing behind trees while these well to do families were having their afternoon tea! On the way back it turned into high comedy. The weather was so bad we were forced to land at an airfield in the middle of nowhere. We sat in a waiting room drinking tea and eating ginger creams around an old coffee table served by this beautiful old lady. It was a classic rock moment. Liam is such a beautiful soul - he's kind and generous to everyone - he's a genuine cool cat.
THURSDAY 4TH JUNE
The first night with Oasis was unbelievable - we had a brilliant gig. The scale of it is hard to describe - there were 70,000 people there. You couldn't see where the crowd ended. I looked over at one point and I saw Noel sitting at the side of the stage in a deckchair. Does he carry it around with him? Who knows.
We played a lot of new songs but when we played Fire it went through the roof - total disco Vietnam. The trouble only started when Oasis came on - it was obvious one of the generators had blown up. When we saw them come off stage for the second time we thought we had better leave and get out of the way. Of course they managed to turn it around - that's why they are legends. To make the night even more surreal, when we got back to the hotel we found out Girls Aloud were there.
WEDNESDAY 3RD JUNE
The next day, instead of doing a conventional press conference we decided to hold a mini football tournament. We had 12 teams made up of magazines and radio stations and each of them played each other at six-a-side. The idea was that we would give a trophy to the winner and then play them ourselves.
The trouble was, while we were warming up Ian the drummer kicked a ball and sprained his ankle - the clumsy devil! For a minute it was panic stations because we all know we had the huge gig with Oasis coming up the next day, so there was lots of running around trying to find a doctor.
After that we played an acoustic gig for some competition winners in a little shop in the middle of Paris. After it was straight on the Eurostar and we woke up in Manchester.
TUESDAY 2ND JUNE
A whole day of press and TV, organised by the lovely Delphine at our French record label. I enjoy doing press but sometimes you don't know what you're going to get thrown at you. On one TV show we played Underdog which is the single in France but then afterwards we did an interview that was really bitchy.
To counteract it me and Tom started talking psychedelic gobbledegook. She gave up after that. We then played a live show for a French fashion magazine. It was a really strange atmosphere to be a bunch of guys surrounded by these really beautiful women - very intense. We played Underdog, Fire, Empire, Processed Beats, LSF and Where Did All The Love Go?
Afterwards we went back to the hotel bar, had a few beers and watched a few DVDs. We must have watched seven episodes of The Wire.
>MONDAY 1ST JUNE
On Monday we jumped in a car and shot down to Paris. We got on the Eurostar and me and Chris sat in the bar talking about how amazing the gigs had been. Paris is an amazing city for us - we've always gone down really well there. We never have to talk about Primal Scream and The Stone Roses - they understand we are into bands like Can and Tangerine Dream. It's not that we don't like The Scream and The Roses, it's just that there's so many other bands that we love too.
SUNDAY 31ST MAY
We played three gigs at Leicester De Montford Hall and they were all special shows.
It felt different this time. The last time there was an element of people checking us out, but this time it felt like people had claimed us as their own - we're a proper Leicester band now. It also felt right to start there because that's where I wrote the album and recorded most of it.
There were so many friends and family, I was the king of administration sorting parking spaces for everyone. The best thing was my grandad and grandma turned up. They are both 88 and they walked in and told security their grandson was playing and they let them in. It was special for me because my grandad had taken me to De Montford Hall when I was a kid to hear Tony Benn speak.