Kings of Leon put on solid show in Dubai

Older and better groomed, The Kings of Leon returned to the UAE and valiantly withstood the humidity to wow the crowds.
Kings of Leon in concert in Dubai on Wednesday, May 28.   Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Kings of Leon in concert in Dubai on Wednesday, May 28. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

They were performing as part of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and only recently released what was to become their biggest album, Only by The Night, home to the now concert staples Sex on Fire and Use Somebody.

Older and better groomed, The Kings of Leon that returned to the UAE yesterday – this time to play in Atlantis Beach in Dubai’s Atlantis The Palm – were again on an upward trajectory.

Their latest and sixth album, Mechanical Bull, is viewed as a welcome comeback after the tepid reception to the predecessior, 2010’s Come Around Sundown, and the band self-combustion halfway during their last world tour.

All the internal band tension that occasionally flashed on stage during that jaunt was absent last night – the boys seemed content on stage as they blasted through a solid 22-song set to large week-day crowd.

With the Dubai show kicking off a new European tour, the band fiddled with the set-list order with the songs remaining a decent representation of their career.

Supersoaker, now the opener (instead of Charmer as in previous shows), was a showcase for the singer and guitarist Caleb Followill’s gritty voice, which is now as much at home in arenas as dingy blues bars.

More tracks from Mechanical Bull followed; Family Tree went down a treat with its funk rhythm while the driving Doesn’t Matter packed a better punch live, courtesy Caleb’s and Matthew Followill’s blistering twin-guitar attack.

Those bemoaning the band’s transition to arena rock would have enjoyed the band’s rendition of some of their older brasher material.

Four Kicks was formidably furious 10 years on while Molly Chambers, from their now classic 2003 debut Youth & Young Manhood, remains the grooviest offering the band released yet.

The band are not exactly showmen on stage; Caleb kept his banter short and polite (“I am glad you are having a great time out there”) while the songs were reproduced note for note, therefore robbing the set of any live spontaneity.

Not that the fans particularly cared; the mass singalong of the closer, Sex on Fire, even managed to elicit a big grin from the usually dour Caleb, which, along with braving the humid weather, was a big achievement.

Published: May 29, 2014 04:00 AM


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