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Kings of Leon

It’s been a phenomenal year for Kings Of Leon – but opening the O2 in Dublin provided them with the best night of their tour…

Paul Nolan, 21 Dec 2008

It’s been a phenomenal year for Kings Of Leon – but opening the O2 in Dublin provided them with the best night of their tour…

The past 12 months have seen Kings Of Leon become a fully-fledged arena-rock band, and the elevation in status suits them well. Their brand of rootsy, blues-tinged rock – not to mention their reputation for hard-drinking – harks back to ’70s super-groups like Led Zeppelin, and indeed the Followills can count members of that group (as well as the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan) amongst their fans. You can’t help but feel that these veteran acts see something of their younger selves in the Nashville quartet, whose sound has a definite classic rock feel to it.

Whilst I’ve never been a particularly big fan of the Kings, there is no denying the energy and commitment of their performance, nor the hugely enthusiastic response they elicit from the crowd. Adding to the sense of occasion, of course, is the fact that this is the first rock gig in the 02, which – thanks to the perfect sightlines and superb sound – confirms itself as a first class venue.

The arena is illuminated by scores of mobile phones as the Kings Of Leon make their entrance in almost total darkness, and kick into the moody opener, ‘Closer’. Thereafter, the band barely pause for breath as they tear through a set of rip-roaring rock’n’roll. Though Caleb keeps the between song banter to a minimum, the impressive light-show and video screens ensure that the band don’t get lost in the 02’s impressively scaled environs.

The first highlight of the evening is ‘Molly’s Chambers’, which sends the place berserk (though drummer Nathan keeps his cool throughout – at one point even blowing a chewing gum bubble!), while tracks such as ‘King Of The Rodeo’, ‘On Call’, ‘Use Somebody’ and ‘Fans’ also go down a storm. However, perhaps the biggest reaction is reserved for ‘Sex On Fire’, which gets practically everyone dancing and singing along.

Returning for the encore, Caleb describes the gig as “the best show of the tour” and the group launch into ‘Knocked Up’, a wonderfully atmospheric track and one of their best songs. A couple of pulverising rockers later, and the band depart to deafening cheers. They will no doubt enjoy their Christmas holidays – on this evidence, the Kings’ reign looks set to extend well into 2009 and beyond.

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