The reality didn't strike English rocker Tom Meighan until he arrived at his band Kasabian's triumphant hometown gig in Leicester on June 21. He almost forgot he would be playing to a sold-out crowd of 60,000 fans.
“Pulling up to the show and seeing thousands of people scattered on the streets, sitting on the grass, with all the shops and pubs just full of people? It was just the most wonderful moment in our lives, that one,” he says. “The love for us from everyone in the city that day was just amazing, and we will never, ever forget it, as long as we live.”
Surely, Kasabian could not soar any higher, career-wise, he and his longtime bandmate, guitarist Serge Pizzorno, thought at the time. But eight days later, they topped themselves by closing out Britain's Glastonbury Festival before an adoring audience of 100,000 who sang along to almost every song in the quartet's five-album catalog, except the new material they premiered from their latest fifth effort, “48:13.”
This week, Kasabian — which has yet to break in the U.S. — plays Oakland's Fox Theater. “And that's what, 2,000 capacity or something?” Meighan says, laughing. “I do like the little shows, though! And we've got unfinished business in America.”
Trying to describe how Glastonbury felt, he likens it to Liam Neeson's claim of having a particular set of skills in the movie “Taken.”
“You can't go out there if you don't have what it takes, because you can't really hide, can you?” the 33-year-old says. “But it was the highest euphoria, ever, and you're just in shock — your body's got pure adrenaline going, and it's quite emotional, as well.”
Kasabian's last two records, 2009's “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum” and 2011's “Velociraptor,” were recorded in San Francisco with local producer Dan the Automator. For several refreshing weeks at a time, Meighan and Pizzorno wandered The City unrecognized.
But with “48:13” — also the album's running time — they self-produced everything at home in Leicester and London, and stripped their bombastic assault down to skeletons like “Bumblebee,” “Eez-eh” and the Beatles-jangly “Glass,” with Meighan double-tracking his vocals for extra warmth.
The overseas superstar swears he has remained down to earth.
“Although the recognition is everywhere now,” he says. “I'll just be walking down the street anywhere, and people are like, 'Hey, Tom — great gig!' Or, 'I love you guys! Can I have a photo?' But we're never in the paparazzi's eye, so I can still live a very private life.”