October 6, 2013


2 Years After Walkoff, Kings of Leon Return to Texas for Austin City Limits

John Durgee for Fuse
John Durgee for Fuse

Kings of Leon's Saturday night headlining set at Austin City Limits festival was more remarkable for what didn't happen than what did.

Two years ago, on the band's last swing through Texas, frontman Caleb Followill drunkenly told the crowd at Dallas' Gexa Energy Pavillion that he needed to "take a breather backstage, throw up and drink a beer." The singer walked off stage and never returned, forcing an embarrassing onstage apology from the band and subsequent tour cancellation.

A rep for the band blamed "heat exhaustion and dehydration," but bassist and Caleb's brother Jared painted a more honest picture on Twitter. “Dallas, I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am," wrote Jared. "There are internal sicknesses and problems that have needed to be addressed. I love our fans so much. I know you guys aren’t stupid. I can’t lie. There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade.” Caleb would later say he was one show away from permanently damaging his vocal cords.

Caleb didn't address the incident during tonight's two-hour, 24-song set, short of the oblique,  "We promise we won't take so long coming back to you" after performing 2007's "Knocked Up." Instead, the band took a workmanlike approach to the show, delivering a career-spanning set short on surprises and crowd interaction, but long on crowd favorites. (Ironically, no appearance of "Comeback Story" from the group's latest Mechanical Bull.)

A rumored introduction by Texas state senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis never materialized, but the boisterous crowd needed little priming when the band opened with the rootsy, rambunctious opener "Black Thumbnail" from their 2007 album Because of the Times. The band balanced festival-perfect hard rock songs ("Four Kicks") and crowd singalongs ("The Bucket," "Closer" and set closer "Sex on Fire") with moodier, more tranquil tracks ("Pyro," "Beautiful War"). Judging by the crowd enthusiasm and anticipation for the band's Texas return, Caleb could've read from an organic chemistry textbook for two hours and still gotten an enthusiastic response.

Given the events of two years ago, just having the band onstage, playing drama-free, was a minor miracle. No flash was needed, as long as there was no stumbling, apologies or walkoffs. Granted, it's not the highest bar to set, but for a band that looked in danger of breaking up less than a year ago, for many in the crowd, it was enough.

Check out "Sex on Fire" and setlist below:


1. Black Thumbnail
2. Family Tree
3. Supersoaker
4. The Bucket
5. Taper Jean Girl
6. Notion
7. Rock City
8. Four Kicks
9. Crawl
10. Beautiful War
11. Closer
12. Fans
13. Back Down South
14. Pyro 
15. Temple
16. Molly's Chambers
17. Be Somebody
18. On Call 
19. Knocked Up
20. Cold Desert
21. Use Somebody 


22. Don't Matter
23. Radioactive 
24. Sex on Fire