Live Review: Kings Of Leon

8 November 2022 | 2:57 pm | Michael Prebeg

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been trying to get here for a while now, but it’s been worth the wait.”

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It’s been a while since The Temper Trap performed live in their hometown, and they’re honoured to be back playing some of their beloved hits, including Love Lost, Trembling Hands and the iconic Sweet Disposition. Their nostalgic anthems summon the crowd early as their emotional alt-rock tugs on our heartstrings, and frontman Dougy Mandagi’s beautiful falsetto fills the air as the sun sets.

It’s been even longer since Kings of Leon played a show in Melbourne – almost 11 years to the month since their last full tour of Australia in 2011, after releasing their fifth record, Come Around Sundown. Now, three albums later, they finally return with their eighth and latest album, When You See Yourself. Tonight is the first of two sold-out shows at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, and there’s no doubt fans have been dreaming of this day to see them again.

A live video feed, also titled When You See Yourself, is displayed on the large screens around The Bowl for the crowd to catch a glimpse of themselves enjoying the moment, excited for the band to begin. It’s fitting that they begin with the title track (When You See Yourself Are You Far Away), which serves as a common theme for the performance as the stage is lined with circular mirrors to reflect at us in different directions.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been trying to get here for a while now, but it’s been worth the wait,” says lead singer Caleb Followill. The Tennessee-born band of brothers and their cousin are ready to make up for lost time with a massive, carefully crafted setlist spanning most of the hits from their catalogue of southern-flavoured rock with a mix of alternative grunge and blues. Caleb Followill’s signature husky and passionate growling vocals are incredible to hear live.

For unknown reasons, they choose not to play any songs from their Mechanical Bull album, but the selected songs (at least one from every other album) provide a great tempo to drive the show at a steady pace without missing a single beat.

Kings Of Leon let their music do the talking. Despite their lack of audience interaction, the band’s connection with each can be felt so strongly through their raw musical talent. The visuals also play a pivotal part in their performance as they draw in the audience and enable us to see every angle of what’s happening around us. The lighting reflects off the mirrors and creates a kaleidoscopic rainbow effect to heighten our senses.

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They crown us the best crowd on this Australian tour – not just by a little but by a lot. It’s a title we’re pleased to own, and the band feeds off the audience’s energy to create an electrifying atmosphere. It doesn’t take much convincing to get us to join in a sing-along for Pyro, On Call, and as Caleb Followill holds out the microphone for us, we shout the words right back. For old favourite Milk, they project lyrics on the screens in case we hadn’t brushed up on them in a while.

It's no surprise they save some of their most popular, commercially favourite hits to last. This includes Use Somebody before the encore and, finally the explosive Sex On Fire to finish. The credits roll on the screen behind the band as they farewell the audience, except for those tempted enough to return for round two.