Friday, May 12, 2017

Catching Kings of Leon Live

What's a concert trip without the obligatory $40 tee shirt?
Jennifer and I caught the Kings of Leon concert at Atlanta's Lakewood Amphitheater last night. Deerhunter was the opening act and we were really impressed with their sound. Dirty electric guitar and saxophone and guy who sings like a young Bono.   They mostly reminded me of early U2 and Stone Temple Pilots and the influence of KOL was fairly obvious.  They were the surprise of the evening, actually.

Kings of Leon performed a really good show.  There were audience sing-alongs with "Use Somebody" and "Back Down South" and "Sex on Fire", among others. There were wild lighting and projection effects to accent the event.  I love Kings of Leon. Their music is mostly upbeat and cocky and hopeful with a real drive to it.

Their musical performances didn't seem to have any particular passion about them last night, however.  By now, they have played most of these songs to death.  But the material was nevertheless strong and varied and fun, especially since this was my first time to see them live. Initially, I think, the band got into the crowd, rather than the other way around. And that seemed to pull things along. That's the great thing about live music.  There is a play of energy that doesn't exist in your headphones or your stereo.

This was my first time to the Lakewood Amphitheater. I was not overly impressed with the quality of the sound.  But then I was just sitting and lounging on blanket in the large grassy area facing the stage.  Which is a fantastic way to take in a venue like this, by the way.  There were probably 16,000 people and the stage in front of me.  So cool.  It was a perfect spring evening in Georgia, warm and clear with a slight breeze.  The sound quality was probably considerably better for those thousands of people under the roof near the stage.

Nevertheless, it was easy to get into the music with so many people around singing the songs too and dancing and laughing.  Everybody was having a blast with enormous $9 beer cans in the their hands.  The band did a really great rowdy rendition of "WALLS".  Normally a minimalist effort by lead man Caleb Followill, this version ended with the entire band jamming out on stage as if it were always a rock song instead of a laid-back contemplative number. 

"Closer" was superbly performed, one of my KOL favorites. "Supersoaker", "On Call" and "Notion" were also highlights of the evening for me. But, last night did not offer remarkable Kings of Leon. They performed very well and at the times mentioned above, they were excellent.  But, you can tell when a band becomes comfortable with their commitment to their music.  They don't butcher it, but they don't feel it like they used to either. That's OK.  At my age (which has about 30 years on the average KOL fan going wild about the music last night), I understand how routine things can become, even if you are really good at them.

But that's not what matters.  What matters is that 16,000 people had fun last night.  I was a among them.  I felt the collective energy and pleasure of the moment; and the band, if not spectacular, was nevertheless beautiful to behold. 
Jennifer and I arrive at the amphitheater. There were a few hundred scattered people enjoying Deerhunter, and band that surprised us with how good they were. We sat high up next to the wall near center stage. 
As Deerhunter ended the crowded started to gather for Kings of Leon.  This was taken at sunset in this beautiful venue.


Kings of Leon kick things off.

Cool light show stuff all through the concert.  You can see the crowd is huge by now.

The band and the crowd.  Everybody got in sync with everybody else and it was a good, fun evening. 

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