Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands – July 2, 2009
Dear Caleb Followill,
Everyone has their good days and their bad days.
No matter how much money you make, when it’s uncomfortably hot in a 10K capacity venue, filled to the rim with people coming and paying to see and hear you – the heat is still uncomfortable. I get that.
When you just got off a, say, one hour flight from London but with 7 hours time difference to make up for, you will start your show feeling very tired. Even if you flew first class and maybe took some Benadryl. Truely, I get that.
When your breakthrough as a band comes only after the fourth album you made and the venues you play at are not as super responsive to Taper Jean Girl as they are to Use Somebody, that might occassionally bum you out. I also get that.
So some days, you might feel a little grumpy. We all have our off days at work. You’re a person, just like everybody else. Yet you and your band manage to produce an excellent sound, which is an achievement in a crappy venue with crappy accoustics like Ahoy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Your music is tight, you’re playing a stellar setlist and making all the right moves for an hour. No exceptional highlights, except for maybe a notable uplift in the band’s spirits during Charmer and The Bucket – overall everything is equally done very well. I applaude you.
Now let me tell you about MY day.
I was in Paris and after very little sleep, I left the city of light early in the morning just and only to get to Rotterdam in time for your show – I was leaving again the next day to go to Italy. After spending over six hours in a very hot car with bad air conditioning, I meet up with my friends. Friends that I have told all about you and your band. For months, we have been anticipating this day. Some of my friends only have Only by the night in their CD collection, but they are just as excited to go to Rotterdam as us, say, a little more informed fans are.
After a quick nap and an even quicker shower, I make it to the venue in time. I’m on the floor, way to the left, but in the front and close to a beer stand. I’ve had worse ‘seats’, so I’m happy.
The venue is hot. Very, very hot. I’m tired. Very, very tired. That’s okay though, I’m glad to be there. Glad to finally see Kings of Leon live. You’re going to make it all worthwhile, I’m sure of it.
Promptly, you guys come on stage at 9.15 PM and start with Notion. The crowd loves it. Everybody I can see (which is most of the floor and the bleachers directly opposite of me) loves it. Despite the heat, we’re dancing and singing and howling. Sure, there are some people way up in the bleachers that stay seated.
I’ve had those seats before. It’s hard because not everyone will stand up and you feel forced to sit down so you won’t block their view. Some people are just all about remaining on their ass, some people are just as much into the music as the floor but unable to stand, or pregnant, or whatever. Point in case: bleachers at Ahoy suck.
You’re not a very interactive performer. That’s okay. I’m here to be entertained by your music, not witty punchlines. But after a couple of songs, you start talking. How we’re a funny crowd. How you have had a long journey, you could have stayed home, but you came just for this show (bullshit – you were doing a couple of other gigs in Europe before and after) and people shouldn’t be so lazy. How Kings of Leon deserves respect for all their work, rather than just Only by the Night. How you’re going to leave the stage if you see one person sitting during the next song (Sex on Fire). E-t-c-e-t-e-r-a.
Dear Caleb. I came to your show on my own free will. I paid 45 euros to get in, but it was my own choice. I could have gone to another show, or stay in Paris, or get to Italy a day earlier, but I chose to see you and be bitched at instead. Nobody forced me, it’s not like you owe me anything. But that goes both ways. You chose to be in a band. You chose to play a bigger venue. You chose to play in bloody flippin’ hot Rotterdam on July 2, 2009. With that in mind, you could have chosen to at least give us a one song encore. Yet you didn’t. You could have figured that only a fun show will get an overheated crowd going even more, yet you chose to bitch and whine for an hour. I was dancing my ass off early in the show, Caleb. Yet somehow, you managed to get me more and more OUT of it, even though your music is superb.
You told us that you expect the best of us because you expect the best from yourself. If that is the case, I can recommend a big fat smack on your head. Because you were cruisin’ for a bruisin’ like a two year old. Instead, one person threw a little plastic cup of beer at your legs, which made you decide that the other 9.999 people did not deserve an encore.I won’t say this easily, but next time just shut the f*ck up and play. I promise you it’ll be a more pleasant experience for all parties involved.
Taper Jean Girl
Red Morning Light
Sex On Fire
Photo by jimmy.alter