After some initial buyer’s remorse, I decided to embrace going to the Kings of Leon show alone. All of my whiny friends weren’t willing to use vacation days and drive to
Since this is a first for me, I am cataloging this monumental journey, and it goes something like this.
2:30 p.m. I managed to bust ass and leave work at noon. After an oil change, an excruciatingly long conversation with my new landlord and dropping the dogs off at Nick’s house (for his listening pleasure), I’m heading east on I-40. I’ve got KOL’s “Only By the Night” blasting from my speakers with the sunroof open, even though it’s way too cold to be doing such a thing. Can’t help it. The KOL begs to be played al fresco (sort of). Because of my utter disdain for the PT Cruiser, I decide to make the three-hour drive a little more tolerable by screaming “doucher!” at each Cruiser I spot on the interstate.
5:40 I see the exit to my hotel. It’s the Days Inn downtown. Well, sort of downtown. It’s off of the interstate on North First. Sitting in traffic now. PT Doucher count is five with two bonus douches via those Chevy knock-offs of the Cruiser. Have already burned through KOL’s last two albums with a MGMT buffer. Now listening to a college radio station of some sort, WRVU. It’s really good. Some Shout Out Louds’ song I’ve never heard and a hip-hop tune about a half-caf latte with a lemon twist.
6:11 It has taken 21 minutes to drive (crawl) roughly a mile. Finally at the luxurious Days Inn, and it’s everything I dreaded it would be and more. It’s in a desolate and dark area of town. I park in the one spot with some light and check in, only after the person at the check-in desk has a 15-minute chat with another patron about where to find the best pizza within a five mile radius while I stand there staring blankly at them with my “Are you kidding?” face. Room 207. It’s nasty, but serves its purpose; I’ll spend all of 10 waking minutes in this place. I call a cab and head out the door. Cab pulls up outside. I get in and the cabbie is telling the person on the other end of his cell phone that “he’s got the guns,” which makes me feel a bit uneasy, but what can you do.
6:30 Meet my friend, Stu*, and his girlfriend at a sushi restaurant within walking distance to the auditorium. Why, I’m not sure. Who the hell eats sushi before a KOL concert? It seems to go against everything that Kings of Leon stands for. After one veggie roll and one Japanese beer that I can’t pronounce, I tag along with them to the show. Six lines of people being searched and patted down. Airport security is more lax. As the security shem-forcer rifles through my bag, she says flatly, “you’re going to have to get rid of these puppies.” Damn. A set of darts I rediscovered while packing for my move. I drop them in the trash and move on.
7:15 The Whigs are already playing. Bought a “women’s” t-shirt for $40 ($5 more than the men’s version). Buy a $9 can of Budweiser. It’s 24 ounces, so I can deal with that. This auditorium holds 9,500 people with a main floor and some stadium seating. The floor is about 2/3 full and we find a spot stage right in the seats. A quick survey of the room and it’s apparent that I have 10+ years on the median age of this crowd.
9:00 Two and a half beers, four cigarettes and a We are Scientists set later (I should mention that both openers were stellar. Especially, Scientists.), Kings of Leon are ready to go on. Time to make a break for a spot closer to the stage. I dive into what is a sea of people on the main floor. I shove my way through about 10 people. I’m exhausted. Since I’m old and haggard now and lacking in the feminine whiles I once had, I essentially grab on to the coattails of these two young blond girls. I let them plow the way and I just follow behind like some sort of stalker. Oh, well. Must sacrifice pride to get a good view. And it pays off. I perch on the last step of the first aisle stage left, roughly 20 feet from the band. I’m not going to push it. This is as good as it’s going to get.
9:05 They open with “Crawl” a dirty, raucous rock anthem. And from there, it just got better. They blazed through an hour and a half of full-out rock. I think the most impressive moment was watching Nathan Followill go freaking ballistic on the drums during “McFearless.” It was mesmerizing, really. It was also impressive to hear Caleb squeal pitch-perfect to Charmer, and witness the shredding skills of that other one, you know, the guitarist-cousin guy. And “the hot” Folliwill handles a bass well. He’s the most flamboyant of the four, almost to a fault. He seems to really play up the hottie role with his constant lip puckering and flashing of his pearly whites. But I ain’t complaining. Their looks are added bonus.
10:30 Encore time. I’m making my way to the exit, just so I can have a quick out. After squeezing through several thousand people in a claustrophobic haze, I’m standing in back as the band returns to the stage. They rage through five songs. That’s right. A five-song encore. Even when they play one of my least favorite KOL songs, “17,” I can’t help but po-go. They are one of those bands that are even better live.
Side note: Since I didn’t take my camera to the show, I snapped a few photos of importance the next day. And just so you know, Doucher count for the drive back was down to three.
Gas for $1.74!!!!!
A culinary marvel
3 beers at concert: $30 (I tipped)
Assorted snacks/ bevs/tips: $20
Concert T-shirt: $40
Can I afford to spend that kind of money just to see a show? No. I can’t.
Was it totally worth it? Hell, yeah. It was.
And to celebrate, we are going to have an ALL Kings of Leon show this Sunday!**
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but mainly because I like the name “Stu.”
** This will not happen. Nick will veto it.