Saturday June 21st 2014 and I’m waking up with a massive hangover, I spent the night at the Mosh nightclub in the town centre and didn’t walk through the door until 5 am with a box of half eaten Maryland chicken strips and a can of Pepsi.
Todays the day I go and see Leicester’s very own rock and roll band Kasabian play to a sell out crowd at Victoria Park. Many bands from the city have gone on to make It big, Showaddywaddy and many others that have slipped my mine but none of them have every played on such a grand scale that Kasabian are about to.
50,000 thousand people expecting to fill the park this evening and you sense a buzz in the air and social media has lit up with facebook posts, tweets and even youtube vlogs.
The suns blearing through the window, it’s a perfect summers day and the can of Pepsi will just go down well.
I crack it open, grab some pain killers and wash them down, sometimes a warm drink and two pain killers is the only hangover cure that can really work. A really cold drink will just upset the stomach and on a day like this it’s not worth the risk, all energy has be stored and the sugar needs to stay in the stomach at all costs. You don’t want to be walking around a crowd of thousands and faint out of nowhere because your sugar that drank earlier on in the day were all brought up because of a cold drink. You have to live by certain rules and this is a rule I will stand by for a very long time. Drink it warm and slow and eat something dry, dry toast or crackers but no cheese, that’s not going to soak well if you have a stomach full of beer and spirits.
I eat some toast and jump into the shower, a quick shower just wash off last nights booze that’s sticking to my skin.
The club was full last night with students from all over, teenagers with fake id’s and people in their 40’s and they are all going to the gig tonight, it was the talk of the club with none of the conversation leading towards how great the club might be, it was just about the gig they were preparing to see and it was all they care about because it might be the gig that changes their lives and makes everything complete, dreams of being interviewed in 30 years time about how “they were there” and how it was their spike island and their Woodstock.
I get out of the shower, get dressed and to pass the listen to the Bee Gees while I wait for a text from the boys about the days events.
Sometimes days like this need a bit of order and regulation, it’s too long of a day to get lost in the shuffle of things, you could find yourself being lead off into a pack of wild beasts on a stella binge and miss the entire gig all together, so you have to have a sense of order just to get things going and everything will turn out perfectly fine, it can’t be forced it has to follow a special routine and a certain set of rules can help with that.
I finally get the text from Sam “meet at KFC in an hour”
“Ok mate, we grabbing food and what’s happening with the booze” I reply.
“We getting picked up from KFC, we ain’t getting food and don’t worry about the booze we can pick that up nearer to the park, we all going for a pint or two first”
“Ok ill see you soon” It’s happening, it’s all coming together now and the day is starting to shape up nicely.
I get to KFC five minutes before I meet the lads and I look around the car park and see groups of men and women and kids walking around in t-shits with “LESTA” and “KASABIAN” on, is this gig turning into something bigger than the band? Why is this gig getting everyone in a buzz?
I hear a conversation behind me between two men and they sound very angry “I hate Kasabian, shower shite the lot of them, I have no idea why anyone would care and why they got so big, who gives a shit, why is this fucking gig turning into something so big? They’re not even that big of a fucking band anyway”
“I know mate” the other man says “I don’t get it anything, why the fuck would you go to a Kasabian gig, load of shit if you ask me, they couldn’t give a shit about Leicester anyway”.
I don’t know what think while listening to the conversation, I don’t know why they would care that much about people seeing a band they don’t like? Why do they care that people care about something they don’t care about? What do they care about? Are they fans of the Arctic Monkeys? Why don’t they get a couple of tickets and see a band they actually? They might actually forgot about the gig that’s happening tonight
I stop listening to the conversation because I’ve entered a state of deep confusion partly due to the blaring sun that’s hitting the back of my neck so to regain a little bit of focus on the day I give Sam a call just to find out where he is but he doesn’t pick and that’s when I hear a loud screeching voice and a car horn near the entrance of the car park and it’s Sam shouting me over “Over hear you little drunken fuck” he shouts and he’s leaning out of his girlfriends car window waving his middle finger at me.
I walk over to the car and Sam gets out to let me in the back, he’s got his Kasabian t-shirt on and the first thing he does is look at mine and says “where the fuck’s your t-shirt” and points up and down at it like he’s never seen one before, I’m wearing a white t-shirt with a picture of Times Square on it, it has a slight hole in shoulder but I thought it would be a perfect fit for a rock and roll gig in the sun. “I left it at home” i say to him, not letting him know that i don’t even have a Kasabian t-shirt.
We start making our move for the pub and looking out the window I can see people on every corner and coming out every drinking establishment wearing the same t-shirts as I seen in the car park. Am I the only one without a t-shirt?
We arrive at the pub and it’s so packed that a crowd of people with pints of beer have gathered outside the bar, the laws of no drinking on the street have been wisely ignored today because how can the law control 50,000 drunken music fans on a day like today.
We get out the car and say goodbye to Sams girlfriend and we make our way through the crowd to the front bar and that’s where we spot Jamie standing at the corner with three pints, one for me and one for Sam and we are both wondering where everyone is.
“We’re just going to have one here and make our way over to the park, everyones backed out today but it’s alright” says Jay “it’s too packed in here to have a drink and we might as well grab a crate of booze and drink at the park and sit on the grass”.
We stand in silence as we down the pints of booze, we tried to talk but with the crowd of loud voices you can’t hear a thing, everyone’s shouting over everybody and it’s drowning out anything audible.
So we leave the bar and stop off at a local co-op for a crate of cider but immediately after walking into the store we notice that the shelves have been emptied apart from one crate of fosters and thankfully it’s a crate of 20 so we put our money together and grab the last crate available and then we start taking a slow walk to the park taking it in turns to carry the crate.
Getting through the gates after going through the typical gig ritual of being searched and I even had to explain that I have a pack of mints in my pocket and not a pack of hash, so we around the park looking for a place to sit and it’s already half filled.
Sitting on the grass near the ice cream van, cracking open a can I scan the area looking at everyone from mums and dads and kids and even old people walking around, there seems to be a different feeling now we have entered the park, something I didn’t sense while I was waiting for Sam to come pick me up, it’s exciting, it’s a feeling like somethings happening that people have never felt before and they are going to make the most of it today and it’s in the sun and the ice cream sales and beer profits are going to go through the roof around the city centre today.
I’ve never seen people walking around looking this excited before, have they ever been to a big gig before and if so was it like this? Why is has this gig made them so excited? Will they ever feel like this again? These question just keep running through my head as I watch them move around.
Jay gets up and says he’s getting some food and he’ll be back in a minute, we’ve been here for an hour and I’ve had two drinks, the time is passing by so fast I’ve not even noticed I’ve just been watching everyone walk by and trying to work out what they are thinking and feeling and time is flying by.
Jay comes back with a giant pulled pork baguette but he’s got a face of anger “£7.00 this was, what the fuck is that all about” he says “too fucking much”.
Me and Sam just laugh and take in what he’s just said, both me and Sam are lucky, we both ate before we left home.
The day goes on, we finish the crate of 20 and go for 30 piss breaks between us and then we make our way to the stage trying to get as close as we can but the crowd has picked up fast and we can’t get so close so we lean up at against a metal railing which is blocking off a stage where the bands family and friends are sitting and our view is restricted because of a hire loo, but we are fine with it, we are in the middle of it and it’s exciting.
The crowd surrounded this area have noticed a small group of famous people standing around and start to shout their names but nothing is happening, the celebrities are in a world of their own and just want to watch the gig, the have special passes that the rest of us don’t have and they ignore their surroundings and the voices screaming their names.
A countdown appears on the stage and on the screens, a 60 minute countdown and the crowd goes crazy and now they are ready for it and they start to fill the stage space, all 50,000 of them.
The 60 minute countdown comes to an end and the crowd gets ready for them to hit the stage and you can feel the buzz.
And it happens, the crowd erupts they are now on stage and they go straight in to their new song bumble bee.
Everyone us are jumping up and down as they make their way through the first song.
Half way through the gig a fight breaks out next to us, the excitement and adrenaline got to much for a small group of people and it all kicked off, two men with no t-shirts on and holding cans of Carlsberg come to blows and wrestle each other to the ground before their friends break them apart.
If this was a club they would have been removed from the venue but they just move apart and find a new spot to stand in the crowd as the band continue to play with the crowd singing along.
At one moment during the gig a small drunk man stands at the railing and starts to piss and everyone around him takes one step back to get away from him and then a shower of cups of beer come pouring over us directed towards the pissing man but he takes no notice and he finish his piss and walks away without looking at anyone around him. and he makes his way through the crowd and back to find his spot.
The band finish up their set and I have no idea where the gig has gone, the excitement around me and everything has made the gig a blur, it’s over already and I don’t know what to think other than how did that happen?
We make our way towards the exit along with a huge group of people and we all find the first sign of a chance to get the park and we rush towards a hole surrounded by security and mass panic begins and security push and push trying to hold us back but none of us really care we just wanted to get out and carry on our night.
The security have lost all control right now, the crowd of people are still singing and chanting and pushing to get out.
A crowd of drunken loons loaded with adrenaline and chemicals can never be stopped by untrained security officials like this, it’s like trying to hold of a pack stamping bulls all they can do is hope that the crowd will break off and calm down and walk away and they can then go on and carry on with their jobs directing the herd of people towards the true exit.
A group of smart sober people surrounding us near the front manage to settle everyone down and point the crowd towards the opposite side of the park towards the right exit and the crowd turns and make’s it’s way to the other side, still singing and chanting.
Finally we leave the park and start to make our way home, heads pounding, hungry and buzzing with energy.
Walking down London Road with everyone around singing Kasabian songs and me, Sam and Jay all join in and I can’t help but think this is the type of atmosphere you would only get a football match but it’s a rock gig and i’m never going to see this type of thing again.
We go for a quick pint in an empty Irish pub just to find a place to calm down and re group.
I settle down and just think about the day and everything that’s happened, I don’t think any of these people experience what they have today, is it the band? is the event? or is it something else? It doesn’t matter what it is, it just happened.