Kings of Leon reign supreme at Comcast
A review of Kings of Leon at the Comcast Center on September 11, 2009
It’s been a long and hard road for Kings of Leon, but the time to rule the American rock world has finally arrived. Over the past decade, the band of brothers and one cousin from Tennessee have turned out four rock solid albums and built a massive appeal in Europe, only to find themselves reserved to the club and theatre circuit on home turf. That’s all changed since the release of last year’s Only By The Night, which has propelled the band into mainstream rock gods deserving of a headlining amphitheatre tour. On Friday, after rocking four shows in the area over the past year, the band graduated to the much larger confines of the Comcast Center in Mansfield.
It’s odd that it has taken America so long to discover Kings of Leon. For many years, on this side of the pond, the band gained critical praise and opened for the likes of U2, Pearl Jam and Bob Dylan. For one reason or another, however, they could never crack that ceiling. While many at home were not taking notice, KOL were heralded as one of America’s best bands as they headlined loads of major festivals overseas. It’s not to say that the band was an unknown commodity on home turf, as they did enjoy a hardcore fan base. It wasn’t until Only By The Night, a brilliant rock album that was better fit for rock radio, that they began to win over new fans. A year later their music can now be heard on Top-40, prompting everyone from Paramore to Sugarland to cover the band’s new hits. The consequences of their new found popularity made for a rather interesting show on Friday night.
Kings of Leon opened Friday’s show the same way as their new album, first with “Closer” and then with “Crawl”. As the show progressed, so did much of the Only By The Night album. In total, the band played nine of its eleven tracks. The new material was very well received by the crowd, many of whom only recently discovered the band. “Are you ready to sing,” asked Caleb as the band launched into “Sex On Fire” midway through the show. The near-capacity/rain-soaked crowd met the challenge. As the energy reached epic proportions, Kings of Leon kept it going with their latest single, “Notion”. Remarkably, for a band that has spent so much time on the road, they displayed no signs of fatigue during their 1 hour and 40 minutes performance. The band worked hard and kept the energy rocking all night.
“We’ve come a long way,” acknowledged singer/guitarist Caleb Followill during one the band’s few breaks for him to talk with the crowd. He joked that the band (which is rounded out by brothers Jared on bass and Nathan on drums with cousin Matthew on guitar) was calling their latest tour as a “victory lap” of sorts . “If it weren’t for our fans, we never would have made a fourth album,” he said sincerely thanking all of their longtime fans for their support over the years before the band kicked into “Manhattan”.
Those veteran fans were also treated to a handful of nuggets from all three of their previous albums including “Molly’s Chamber” (Youth & Young Manhood), “Soft” (Aha Shake Heartbreak), and “Fans” (Because Of The Times). The real surprise for older fans came courtesy of “Trani” before the show came to a close with the guitar-driven “Slow Night, So Long.”
Kings of Leon returned for a four-song encore, starting with “Be Somebody” and ending on a high note with a sing-along of their smash hit “Use Somebody”. Overall, the band put on a stellar set that proved their new found praise is long overdue. It’s refreshing to see KOL finally reach such success here in the US, and equally refreshing to find a relatively new rock band filling an amphitheatre (on a rainy night too!).
For those who were able to beat the miserable traffic, they were treated to an opening set from Glasvegas. The band, who have been the talk of the United Kingdom over the past year since the release self-titled debut album, were able to find missing singer James Allen in time to launch their latest stateside tour in Boston.