Review: Kings Of Leon @ Qudos Bank Arena (Sydney)

Kings Of Leon played Qudos Bank Arena (Sydney) 31 October, 2023. © Stuart Bicknell
Based in Sydney, Stephanie's a live gig reviewer. She has a penchant for unknown country artists, nostalgic punk-rock bands and all things musical theatre.

It's a balmy Halloween evening, and while the punters at Qudos Bank Arena tonight (31 October) aren't dressed up for the occasion (unless you consider the army of black t-shirts an ode to All Hallows Eve), the four Followills behind the Kings Of Leon, are.

Following a much-too short, hip-swaying warm-up by The Temper Trap, Kings Of Leon saunter on stage, faces painted as black and white ghouls (and one red-nosed clown) ready to rock the night.

Smoke billows and lights dance as they open with the hero track off their eighth studio album 'When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away'. The crowd is ecstatic and as the chorus peaks it feels as though the whole stadium is belting the lyrics back at them.

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Image © Stuart Bicknell

For fans who have been waiting years for the band's return, thankfully this is not an album tour and the set list is a balanced drink of old and new, calling on fan favourites 'Slow Night, So Long', 'King Of The Rodeo', 'Taper Jean Girl' and 'Revelry' early on while making sure newbies such as 'The Bandit' and 'Time In Disguise' still get their time in the limelight.

The pace picks up for 'Radioactive' – not least because lead singer Caleb Followill requests dancing. It's one of the few times he addresses the crowd.

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Image © Stuart Bicknell

I've been to one other Kings Of Leon concert and from what I recall this is not unusual. Their showmanship is based less on audience interaction and more on raw talent and the visual experience – which honestly is a show of its own.

As each song plays, the onstage screens drip in brilliant coloured visuals, each unique to the track being played and each dancing to its beat in perfect unison.

A number of sing-alongs (as Caleb calls them) follow for 'On Call' and 'Pyro'. However, it's set closer 'Use Somebody' and concert closer 'Sex On Fire' that really give our feet and lungs a workout.

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Image © Stuart Bicknell

From start to finish Caleb's voice is impeccable. His Southern drawl flirts with the microphone and emotion drips from his tongue as he commands the stadium.

Brother and bass guitarist Jared plays it cool, rocking back and forth to the beat, loosening further for 'Closer' as he eases his way deeper and deeper into the heavy number.

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Image © Stuart Bicknell

Drummer Nathan, face half painted for the cameras in Jekyll and Hyde style, keeps the beat while keeping to his own at the back of the stage.

But it's lead guitarist Matthew Followill you need to keep an eye out for. His fingers tickle the strings like a maestro puppeteer, begging them to do his will and sending chills throughout the arena.

We might not have been dressed for Halloween, but I think it's safe to say this crowd definitely got their thrills on tonight.

More photos from the show.

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