It did. Kind of. As I disembarked the Metro at Assago Forum, I bumped into a bloke who looked like Bernard Cribbins.

But if we’re using ‘funny’ as in a ‘bit odd’ as opposed to Eric & Ernie funny then, yes, there were one or two things to relay. Mind, I doubt you’ve ever seen a blog post, or indeed anything else, dedicated to the Lads from Les-tah with a Frankie Howerd inspired title before? Witter ye not!

Assago, situated to the south west of Milan is industrial with a capital ind. Charmless swathes of neon-noon lighting illuminate the Lombardy dusk. No bewildering gothic architecture and pleasantly cobbled streets.
Just lines of faceless international conglomerates and identikit factories, hulking, sulking hotels and enough roundabouts to keep the by-now-doddery planners of Britain’s 70s new towns happy in their retirement homes.

I reel as I take in my new surroundings, and not just because of my brush with the Cribbins clone. Right said Fredo, hang on uno momento!
I’ve come all the way over here, me plus no-one, hundreds of miles away just to see my favourite band play in Mil….

…ton Keynes.

Really?

Only the Italian signage gives the game away. Then the unmistakable sound of a mighty-agh Tom Meighan cry-agh at an early soundcheck splits the Assagoan air to remind me why I’m here. It’s not Eaglestone. It’s not Conniburrow. It’s not even Downs Barn. Thank goodness.

What it is, is Kasabian. The greatest British band of their- ok, my- generation. In Milan. The Mediolanum Forum, Assago.

A quick shufti of the local surroundings reveal no pre-match boozer to catch the Empoli-Juve game in. Because ersatz English pubs full of football and foreboding pop up everywhere. Yes they do. I even glimpsed one in the heart of Milan’s fashion district earlier. Clearly, nothing is sacred. Clinging to this flight of fancy, I reasoned there might be one close to tonight’s venue too.

There isn’t.

There are, however, two enterprising local blokes with a coolbox roped to a sackbarrow standing by the Metro exit selling knocked off bottles of warm lager and water. Grinning in deference both at their daftness and of great memories of tucking into similar bootlegged bevies on the Galle fort while watching England play cricket, I pass up this unique opportunity to ‘keep it real’, and repair to the only place selling liquid refreshment of an interesting nature near the venue.

A Pret-A-Manger/Costa/Starbucks type homogenised eaterie throbbing with good-looking plastic types (there’s not really any other ‘types’ over here, in all honesty) deliberating over rows and rows of plastic-looking paninis and piling into plastic pint pots of Pilsner Urquell. And, bless the hosts, for all their brain-drain deco faults, they’ve not watered any of this Czech champ down. It is a very decent pint.

Ah, the plastic pint pot. The preserve of any gig worth it’s salt. I stroll into the venue head held high. Thoughts that I could be the only other English representative here, at the home of Italian basketball, are proved incorrect by the sight of a phalanx of middle aged Brits stood around at the back of the auditorium in rugby shirts and silly hats. The Great British Stag Do: ragazzi will be ragazzi. The stands swell as the crowds begin to pour in. Even the Slipknot cast-off God-awful crap-ness of the warm up act (“This song’s all about high-fives!” Really? Jog on, wuck-fits.) takes nothing away from the build up. The atmosphere of heightened expectation goes up notch by notch.

Can you feel it coming? It’s time to do this. Forza Milano! Forza Kasabian!

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