Walking into Rogers Arena Wednesday night, you could feel the excitement in the air. The fanatical mass was storming up and down the corridor of the venue. Screams of adulation resonated while the hordes queued up to quench their thirst and satiate their hunger.
The howls from inside the stadium filtered up through the stairwells, it was time to get down to the floor. While I worked my way down the steel steps, the lights faded. The mob on onlookers erupted with applause and began to howl with exhilaration. The Followills filtered on to the stage. The intensity level of the fans climbed. The show hadn’t even started and the energy level was off the scale.
As I gazed across the screaming faces in attendance it was easy to see this group was far different then that of a few years ago at the same venue (Kings of Leons at Gm Place night 1 and Night 2). This gathering had a far greater female contingent and a large percentage of the remaining demographic were in their late teens or early twenties. Compare this to the two back to back shows in 2009, and you would see that show had a much older crowd. This is mostly due to where the music being produced by the band has grown too.
Back in 2009 the band was just getting a taste for the big leagues, they were just starting to cut their teeth in the American arena world. The music at the time, with the exception of Only By The Night, came from a more modest place. The music was considered more indie and more poetic. The swarm at Wednesday nights performance was a reflection of their newer material. They have gone pop-rock and as a result their fan base has changed.
The show itself was great, Caleb was vocally sound and coated the evening with examples of his unique, tortured voice. Matthew has really expanded his guitarmanship. His sound is bigger and lends itself better to these large arena shows. Jared was alive on the stage, stalking around like a tiger as he batted at his bass. Nathan was an animal, he ripped on his drums like a man possessed. The band was on fire (pardon the pun) throughout the entire night.
The bands stage setup had gone through a reduction. Last time we saw them, the stage was adorned with every high-tech theatrical device you could find. This time it was very minimalist, a couple of screens, and some great lighting. This really helped to keep the focus on the band and their music. The guys in Kings of Leon seemed to have learned quite quickly that bigger is not really better in this industry.
I found that the set list was missing some great older songs like Milk and Charmer. But all in all it was a gathering of diddies aimed at being the most widely palatable. Take a peak at what they played.
Taper Jean Girl
Back Down South
Sex on Fire
By the end of the night, I found myself wrapped up in the energy on the floor. The guys from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee put on a passionate presentation. The audience was energetic and reciprocated the bands efforts. It was a wonderful experience. Thank you to the band for a great night.
I have to quickly say that Kings of Leon are a guilty pleasure of mine. 5 years ago, they were this hidden gem to some. Since they have become more mainstream, many have abandoned them, and chalked it up to them going to pop. Myself I still love them, they have a lot of talent, and I believe have many great years of music in their future.