Kings Of Leon is one of those bands that’s been written about almost to death. There’s really nothing I can say about them that hasn’t already been said. The only truly unique thing I can do is write about my experience with them. So that’s what you’ll find here.
I’m happy to say that after eight long years, I finally went to my first Kings Of Leon concert…well, kind of. I actually used to work at the venue where I saw them this August during summers in high school. And one of the first shows I worked there just happened to be Kings Of Leon.
It was 2009 and they were on top of the charts with their song, “Sex On Fire.” That show specifically was one of the more memorable ones because it honest to God monsooned. I mean it poured rain like I’ve never seen.
It was hilarious to watch fans not even attempt to stay dry and instead dance in the mud of the lawn and splash each other in the large puddles that formed in the plaza.
Between the earthy, pitch black rain, atmosphere crackling thunder and Caleb Followill’s signature southern-fried croon, it felt like the air was swirling around me that night.
But KOL soon began to blow up bigger and bigger and became so overplayed on the radio (pop and rock stations alike) that I kind of fell away from them. I still appreciated their music but their name just became so saturated that they didn’t really feel special anymore.
I hadn’t paid much attention to what they’d been up to since “Radioactive” became their latest hit to take over the airwaves, but then in 2013 they released Mechanical Bull.
Their song “Wait For Me” found its way into my ears during a time when I really needed to hear it. Its hopeful, pleadingly delivered lyrics and tempo that perfectly matched really struck a chord. And it immediately put them back on my radar.
But they were still riding high, playing Lollapalooza in 2014 and stadium shows in every other city they went to. So again I tuned them out until their newest album WALLS was released. And this time I couldn’t ignore them anymore.
From the eerie “Find Me” to the bright “Around The World” to the earnest “WALLS,” I finally found a KOL record that made me get over the fact that they were too mainstream and bought a ticket for their next Chicago show.
And then the universe laughed. Their drummer Nathan Followill got pneumonia a few days before the show so they were forced to reschedule for two months later. I was disappointed but happy they were at least still going to honor a Chicago date.
And then fast forward to the rescheduled show where I was the one sick. As I laid dying in my bed, I knew I would again be missing a KOL show. (I do have to give a quick shouts to one friend in particular who so lovingly sent me snippets of the show, you know who you are you sweet angel you).
So when the Kings announced a third show near Chicago I knew it was now or never.
And let me tell you, between sneaking down to even better seats than I already had and the asinine wait to see them, it was absolutely worth every penny. And I did it all “alone at the show” too.
I was astonished that Followill’s voice live sounded exactly like it does on their recorded material. It was refreshing but a bit jarring in all honestly to hear an artist using their real voice in every facet of music they do.
Playing to a crowd of only 8,000 that night, the show truly had small venue vibes which was once in a lifetime with such a popular band.
Maybe it’s Followill’s son-of-a-preacher roots that comes through in his vocals that makes you feel like you’re being taken to church but seeing them live is truly a religious experience. There’s just something about them that makes you a believer, if just for the night.
So while I definitely regret waiting eight years to see the worlds most popular rock band, to quote their newest single “Waste A Moment,” never ask to be forgiven.