Kings of Leon whipped the Schottenstein Center into a feel-good frenzy Tuesday night in the band’s Columbus Mechanical Bull tour stop.
Opener Gary Clark Jr. got the night off on a soulful start with his fuzzy-sounding guitar and purple mood lighting.
After Clark concluded his show, a white sheet was drawn up. Twenty-five highly-anticipated minutes later, the Kings took the stage, the members’ shadows giving away their presence behind the curtain. Then finally, the sheet fell just as the rumble of the fans reached a loud roar.
Right from the start, it was a rapid fire of hits. From “Supersoaker” to “Wait For Me” to “Pyro,” Kings of Leon gave the people what they wanted.
They did not bore the crowd with elaborate backstories or over-the-top “thank you’s” in between songs. They didn’t coin any ridiculous dance moves or slogans. Actually, apart from the natural sway of their bodies and the two or three breaks to introduce themselves and wish everyone a good night, the Kings of Leon let their music do all the entertaining.
Whether they were rocking out to the fan favorite “Molly’s Chambers” or slowing it down for “Back Down South,” they hit the nail on the head every time. Personally, I have never been a fan of their tougher rock sound like in “Molly’s Chambers,” but it was hard to not enjoy a group whose live performance is basically a mirror to what you might hear on the radio.
Coupled with the vocals, the band stood in front of a giant screen that played live footage from a camera onstage as well as other psychedelic images and videos. This display was very refreshing, in contrast to what’s normally shown on those tacky jumbotrons that so often appear on the sides of the stage at concerts. Together, the combo made for an audibly and visually engaging experience.
The Kings were great, but a concert is only as good as the cohorts attending with you. Last night’s show attracted a more seasoned audience with a few frat guys and senior citizens peppered in. I went stag and had a seat between a middle-aged couple, a group of 30-something guys in matching button-ups and a man seeming to be somewhere in his 60s. I was not sure what to expect from my neighbors but as the night wore on, I was pleasantly surprised.
Everyone around me practiced great concert etiquette; there were hardly any glowing phones uploading Instagram pictures, I did not hear one obnoxious request for “Use Somebody” (which they played eventually) and the middle-aged couple limited their make-out sessions to two. I only saw the button-up boys consult their flask three times. The fans were completely engulfed in the performance and gave positive reactions after every set. They cheered from the very first licks of the guitar to when the Kings of Leon signed off an hour and a half later. The cheering continued even after this, forcing the band back on stage for an encore.
All I can say is that after a winter like we have had, if the crowd can still get excited when the snow-like substance of confetti falls from the ceiling and litters their hair, the band must be doing something right.