Rock megastars Kings of Leon definitely knew how to win over the hearts of the crowd in just a few moments as they strummed through the beginning of their song “Crawl.” Accompanied by an American flag light show, the band kicked off around 9:09 pm to their first ever RodeoHouston performance.
The indie/alternative rock outfit seemed to enjoy themselves from the very first song and established an incredible atmosphere due in part to their simple but focused light show.
The Kings can bring down the house with just the first few bars of their songs, and Tuesday, March 12 was no exception. Delivering 15 songs over the course of an hour, the beloved group dazzled with both style and sustenance in a near flawless midweek engagement.
In the bands first performance since firing their manager of over 20 years only a few days prior, few conclusions about the groups next steps could be drawn by the show. Lead singer Caleb Followill opted for a reserved approach to interacting with the crowd, saying only “Thank you very much. We’re Kings of Leon” after the third song in their set and making a few other quick remarks throughout the night.
One thing that was clear from the start was the bands absolute level of comfort playing together. As the Southern rock sounding “On Call” began raining through the stadium, the camera panned to Kings drummer Nathan Followill as he popped a cartoonishly large bubble of gum all over his face in a gesture that implied, “This is fun.”
Occasionally strange images permeated the Jumbo-tron such as a column of bald heads similar to the Hall of Faces from Game of Thrones served to add to the enigmatic nature of the group.
By the time mega-hit “Sex is on Fire” came around the crowd was so alive they began being featured regularly on the screens. Followill (Colin) even asked the crowd to sing with him in the chorus and the response was resounding. Through the use of the aforementioned phenomenal lighting this was clearly the apex of the set.
Although the night felt much more like a summer music festival performance than a rodeo headliner appearance, the Kings’ Nashville roots and country influences seemed amplified in the rodeo setting. The band itself was not unaware of this phenomenon and addressed the nature of the show well an interlude of “Amarillo by Morning” sprinkled into the bridge of “Back Down South.”
In a stroke of genius, the band placed one of their biggest hits and singalong anthems on the immediately after this nod to Texas, leading the crowd of 61,436 to emphatically join them in every word of “Use Somebody” in a scene that made the audience feel much mightier than its numbers.
As if that wasn’t enough, the group further swept the audience of their feet by announcing, “One of the first concerts we ever played was a really small rodeo in Alabama I think, so it’s an honor to play here.”
Finally, near the end of the show, the band began making more use of the stage, including trading places with each other during the emotional crescendos of pyrotechnics, but never finding the outer star limits of the stage that other rodeo performers sprawled out into in previous shows.
Although the show was frenetic and well orchestrated, the ending was somewhat anticlimactic, as the band simply put down their instruments after “Waste of Time” and proceeded to meander on stage before saying good night and nonchalantly boarding the Ford pickup that arrived to escort them. But for the fans, it was time well spent.
“Sex is on Fire”
“Back Down South” (“Amarillo by Morning” interlude)
“Waste a Moment”