My love affair with Kings of Leon started when I was in my second year at uni too many years ago- blaring XFM on the kitchen radio as I made my zillionth pasta bake at 1am- back when these guys were sporting better bangs than I could ever hope for and 26 inch waists (again…less than I could ever hope for). I associate this band with the carefree days of being a student, when those purple concoctions of Snakebite were de rigueur and Coco Pops were an acceptable meal for dinner.
Fast forward to 2013 and I am still reduced to a teenybopper when and if these guys roll into town.
So despite seeing them at the O2 last month, when this unexpected little gig sprung out of the blue at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, my itchy trigger finger clicked Order at exactly 10am the day the tickets went on sale. Some hyperventilating was involved. You see, Kings of Leon playing at the Empire for 2,000 people is like singing around a cosy fireplace compared to the stadiums, arenas and Irish castles that they normally perform at. It just doesn’t happen. Ever.
We actually got to the front of the stage to the right. Always to the right because, Jared. This show was being filmed and broadcast live by American Express Unstaged- we were so close to the stage, which is great because I am short and tend to end up staring at someone’s back for 2 hours.
They opened with The Bucket, a nice little ditty for an opener compared with the more sombre Closer that they started with at the O2. Notion, one of my favorites, followed. Included in their setlist was their new song Supersoaker, as well as the oldies like Molly’s Chambers (the only song from their first album that was played) I wished they would have picked Pistol of Fire over the Bucket- it would have been a great foot stomper! Another favorite of mine, Fans, was thrown into the setlist too.
They played a smattering of songs across all of their albums and for the encore, they rounded it all off with the usual Radioactive, Sex on Fire, and Black Thumbnail– another good foot stomper. So good, I stomped all over Ismay’s toes. Basically, Black Toenail?
This was the first paperless ticket event I had been to and although the pro to this meant no ticket touts scooping up all the tickets to be sold at an outrageous price, it was a pain in the arse for regular Joe’s like me. If you buy the tickets on someone else’s credit card, that person has to be present when getting into the venue to swipe their card for entry. I spent most of my morning frantically trying to reach someone from Ticketmaster and the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to find out if this was necessary. Ticketmaster’s surly customer service didn’t even want to talk to me as I wasn’t the card holder. In the end a hero at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire emailed me and said as long as I brought a letter of authorisation with everything else, that would be fine. So there you have it. If in doubt, NEVER GO TO TICKETMASTER.
Even when I’m old and wrinkly and can only dance awkwardly (because I’m a graceful swan right now) I’ll still be there stomping my feet away- hanging on the right side of the stage. At the moment, the concert footage is being played on a loop here.
PS: Here’s the video I took during Four Kicks (sorry, sorry- bad concert etiquette)
PPS: Did anyone else spot Prince watching the show from the side of the stage, with a white pimp daddy style cane? If not, I need a doctor.
Also- sorry Jeremy Piven. Those obnoxious girls yelling ARI GOOOOLD at you down Shepherd’s Bush road as you exited the show….that was us. And we were stone cold sober. (Let’s blame the mercury!)