It’s one thing when fans pelt you with shoes, water bottles, coins or, in the case of Kings of Leon, lacy underthings. But when pigeons rain down black and white hell from above, well, that’s just too much. The sibling band just couldn’t take the assault on Friday night, when some rats-with-wings in the rafters at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis opened fire on them.
The Grammy-winning group had to pull the plug on the gig after three songs when an infestation of birds above the stage bombed them so badly they felt they couldn’t carry on. A spokesperson from the group’s management said they had to bail after bassist Jared Followill was strafed during the opening moments of the show.
“Jared was hit several times during the first two songs,” Andy Mendelsohn of Vector Management said in a statement. “It’s not only disgusting — it’s a toxic health hazard. They really tried to hang in there.”
Opening bands the Postelles and the Stills complained of the situation, but KOL decided to go on anyway, feeling it would be unfair to fans to cancel at the last minute. “We couldn’t believe what the Postelles and the Stills looked like after their sets,” Followill said in the statement. “We didn’t want to cancel the show, so we went for it. We tried to play. It was ridiculous.”
Followill, a self-described “germophobe,” told CNN that his bass pedals and the carpet around his spot onstage were already stained with bird excrement when he walked out to start the show.
But it would only get worse. As seen on YouTube videos, the poop raid began during the opening tune, “Closer,” when Followill suffered a direct hit to the face — which a guitar tech cleaned off with a sanitary wipe — but then he got hit again in the arms during the next two songs.
“I was hit by pigeons on each of the first three songs,” Followill said. “We had 20 songs on the set list. By the end of the show, I would have been covered from head to toe.”
Followill couldn’t see where the aerial attack was coming from or how many birds were involved. “The last thing I was going to do was look up … but if that was only a couple, we must have caught them right after a big Thanksgiving dinner,” Followill joked to CNN.
The Kings had apparently been warned by venue managers that they were trying to fix the “significant pigeon infestation problem with summer shows over the years.”
Hosed off and not seemingly too traumatized, KOL faced a different kind of rain from above the next night at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Chicago, when thunderstorms drenched soggy fans on the lawn at a sold-out show. According to the Chicago Tribune, singer/guitarist Caleb Followill has a good sense of humor about the previous night’s splat attack, joking “we’ve made it through five songs.”
What’s the craziest reason for a concert cancelation you’ve ever seen? Talk about it in the comments.