Kings of Leon: Youth and Young Manhood to Mechanical Bull

I came to the Kings of Leon party quite late I think it was around 2007 when I saw their performance at Glastonbury on TV. I was blown away by the music; the next day I ordered Youth and Young Manhood, Aha Shake Heartbreak and Because of the Times.

It was the start of an adventure I could never have dreamed of. I found an online forum whilst researching more about the band and connected with a whole load of other fans from around the world. Our friendship grew and talk about us all attending the next Nashville homecoming show became a regular occurrence.

In 2009 that is exactly what happened. Approaching my 30th birthday I realised I had never done anything totally crazy. I had been speaking to these people online for a long time and had developed friendships which last today but attending a concert on the other side of the world with them when we had never met scared me.

A work colleague was the one who finally convinced me it would be a good idea. He said if anything happened I just needed to take a cab to the airport and come home. It settled my mind and the plane tickets were booked.

Our trip consisted of us flying Heathrow to Houston, interconnecting to Birmingham, Alabama and attending a concert that night. The next morning a Greyhound bus from Birmingham to Nashville and queue up for the concert that night at the Sommet Centre. The next day was a sightseeing day where some of the group got tattoo’s. Our last day consisted of the return Greyhound journey to Birmingham, flight to Houston and home.

You’d think it would run smoothly but it didn’t. We were 4 travelling in our group from the UK. Two of us made the interconnecting flight to Birmingham (and the concert); me and another girl had to spend the night in Houston and fly down the next day. After being told our luggage wouldn’t be transported until I flight was confirmed we were glad to hear our friends picked it up for us in Birmingham otherwise we would have been without our clothes till we went home!

Travelling back was equally as bad. We got on the plane at Houston only to be told we would have to wait for some maintenance to be undertaken. We tried to taxi off the ramp but the tow bar got broken. We had to leave the plane and wait 4 hours for a replacement plane to bring us home.

It was the longest 4 days I think I’ve ever had.

The concert in Nashville was special though and worth all the hassle. We were front row, standing proudly behind our flags from around the world.  Our group consisted of people who had flown from Australia, Malaysia, Switzerland, UK, Ireland and parts of the US (that I remember) to all meet up together in Nashville.

The White Lies were the support act and dedicated a song to all the people from the UK in the audience which made us laugh.

We were treated to a brilliant concert in their home town and I was glad I made the effort to do something crazy.

Since Nashville I have seen KOL at Hyde Park twice from the front row with some of the people I went to Nashville with. It’s nice to know that something as personal as music has created a lasting connection between a bunch of people who would never normally have met.

My interest in seeing the band live has changed a bit. I can no longer justify to myself standing in line from 6am to get front row for a concert that usually starts at 9pm. I would definitely go and see them again and if you like their music I would recommend you go and see them as they are great live.

Each album they have brought out seemed to have a couple of songs I didn’t take to. Only by the Night it was 17, Come Around Sundown it was Mary, Birthday and Mi Amigo.

Mechanical Bull has completely challenged my connection with their music. So far after a couple of listens I have yet to take to most of the songs. Supersoaker and Wait for Me I like but the others I just can’t get into.

There comes a time when as a fan of something be it a TV show, band, football team whatever your allegiance is tested.  They kill off your favourite character, release an album you don’t understand or your team get relegated. All tough times when you have invested a part of your life in something.

I think I may have reached that point with Kings of Leon and Mechanical Bull. That’s not to say I wouldn’t go and see them live again or buy any subsequent albums; well not without having a listen first. I just think maybe my journey has reached its natural end.

I will always love what they have given me. I met some truly lovely people I would never had the chance to meet. I have seen some great shows and learned what it’s like to be crushed against a barrier and covered in beer bottles.

I will always love the music, currently my Top 25 Most Played on ITunes consists of 14 Kings of Leon songs. I just feel as though the direction the new album has taken is no longer where I am in my life and a part of me feels sad about it. At least I’ll always have some fantastic memories to remind me of the good times.

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One response

  1. That’s so funny because the Freddie ljungberg website we were on is where I met my friends that I went to London on. The one girl I call Losty, her and I still keep in touch and I’ve been to Europe a few different times. Every single time it’s been with her. I think it’s pretty amazing that when people connect on the Internet over mutual bonds, whether it is music,athletes, anything when you can connect outside of that in a personal level and travel to places you never imagined and encounter things and experience things that you never imagined possible, it truly is life changing.

    I flew overseas for the first time in my life, and met two strangers from online, and found my life that weekend.

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