Kings of Leon Lights Up Madison Square Garden With a Rock Show Spectacle
Friday (Jan. 20) wasn't Kings of Leon's first time at New York City's Madison Square Garden, but frontman Caleb Followill declared that their latest MSG show was just as special.
"We've been looking forward to this for a long time," Followill told the sold-out crowd. "I hope you don't mind if we have fun."
It has been nearly three years since Kings of Leon played the prestigious venue -- and the band's show made for quite the comeback performance.
Starting off with "The End," Kings didn't kick off the show with the most dynamic of openings. Despite the mellow song choice, they did have color-changing lights and strobes to accompany their red velvet curtain backdrop, as well as screens in the form of multi-dimensional boxes.
They continued the 26-song set in rather downplayed fashion, but it seemed fitting to what Kings of Leon represents: genuine rock with no frills. Plus, the simplicity of the lights and stage setting allowed for Followill's voice to really shine, especially on songs like "McFearless" and "Over."
After a somewhat surprising move, playing their biggest song "Sex on Fire" less than halfway through the nearly two-hour show (which still had the crowd as amped as if they had closed with it) they began a three-song, acoustic interval including heartfelt renditions of "The Runner" and "Comeback Story."
But it was Followill's performance of "WALLS" that was the most captivating up to this point in the show, as it was only him and his guitar, delivering some of the most personal lyrics from the group's seventh LP. In metaphorical fashion, the curtain behind him came up during the climax of the song, bringing out the rest of the band and unveiling a stage set-up of a much larger scale -- and then the show really began.
Kings of Leon complimented the varied first half of the show (with throwbacks like "The Bucket" and brand-new "Muchacho") by playing a mix of older tunes from 2010's Come Around Sundown and 2008's Only by the Night, before finishing with a slew of WALLS tracks. They combined their musicianship with an equally appealing display, with screens showing cleverly themed visuals such as retro TVs and compact mirrors serving as cameras.
Even with the slow beginning, every element of the show felt as thought-out as the next, whether it was the visual aesthetics or the way the group played their songs. And while the show was certainly a spectacle, there was still something so genuine about its presentation. They didn't even have an encore -- the band simply stayed on stage as the lights dimmed and fans cheered, closing with the final two roaring crowd-pleasers, "Use Somebody" and "Around the World."
As Followill suggested early on, Kings of Leon was there to have fun, but what he didn't mention was that they were also going to give the fans a show they wouldn't forget. There was no need for Followill to announce that -- they let the show do the talking.
"Slow Night, So Long"
"Eyes on You"
"Sex on Fire"
"Waste a Moment"
"Around the World"