The past year has been shrouded in controversy for Kings Of Leon. So much so, that many feared for the future of the band. First they postponed (and many assumed cancelled) their tour of Australia and South Africa in March of this year due to drummer and oldest brother, Nathan’s “bum wing” (read injured shoulder), and then they cancelled their USA tour in July following lead vocalist, Caleb’s premature departure from stage in Dallas after his drunken shenanigans. Things were said By Nathan and Jared on Twitter which led fans to believe that it was all over for the band. And then Kings Of Leon showed up in Melbourne on Sunday night and completely decimated those rumours.

For many, concerts are akin to a religious experience. Experienced concert goers have their rituals and traditions. By 6pm on Sunday November 13, 15 minutes before the gates were due to open, a sizeable crowd had already gathered outside Rod Laver Area. Many fans were adorning Kings Of Leon tshirts and excited chatter about which songs they wished to hear was in the air.

Before the Followills were due to hit the stage at 9pm, they were preceded by a band which Caleb would later admit to “fucking love”. Band Of Horses, a band born in Seattle, gallantly played an energetic set to a crowd who admittedly had little to no interest in them. They got blood pumping and heads bopping and no doubt picked up a few thousand new fans with their charming brand of Americana rock. By the time they played their closing song, “Funeral”, they were receiving mass amounts of love from the crowd. But they were under no illusion. This crowd had waited long enough and they would wait no longer. It was time for Kings Of Leon to come out and play.

As the roadies appeared on stage, many cheered for Nacho, Kings Of Leon’s much loved roadie and cousin. He greeted the crowd with smiles and waves as he continued to tune the guitars and set the stage for his famous family. Eventually, at 9pm, the lights dimmed and the Brothers (and cousin) Followill emerged from stage left to an intro track played over the PA. After settling at their instruments, they took a few second breather and launched into ‘Radioactive’, the lead single from their latest album. Following this, they played fan favourite, ‘Taper Jean Girl’, a track from their second album, Aha Shake Heartbreak. This immediately set the tone. It was obvious that they would be playing favourites from across their catalogue as well as new songs.

For a band that has been criticised in the past for being “boring” and “having no stage presence”, Kings Of Leon surely silenced the critics. They were animated, personable and exciting. For a group of men who have publicly admitted to sometimes not being able to stand each other, they sure looked like they were having a lot of fun together. “This is a two way street,” said Caleb, “we’re only going to give you what you give us. So how about you dance and have a party with us!” Cue ‘My Party’. The stage setup was simple, yet effective. Behind the band was about a dozen searchlights which illuminated at pivotal points in the set. Above the stage were colourful spotlights setting the tone.

Kings Of Leon are consummate professionals and nothing like the “divas” that the press has made them out to be. They rocked the crowd for over an hour and a half, returning to the stage for an encore after performing their signature tune, ‘Sex On Fire’. The fans had been waiting for almost a year to see these guys in the flesh and the boys from Nashville definitely made it worth the wait. The band has announced that following their Australian tour, they would be taking a hiatus which should not last longer than 6 months. Their set in Melbourne was filled with so much energy and passion that Kings Of Leon deserve that 6 month break.

-Brett Schewitz

Setlist

Radioactive
Taper Jean Girl
Four Kicks
My Party
The Immortals
Closer
Fans
Back Down South
Revelry
Notion
Crawl
No Money
Molly’s Chambers
Be Somebody
Pyro
On Call
Knocked Up
Sex On Fire
__________
The Bucket
Use Somebody
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