Kings of Leon had big plans for their Friday night headlining slot at the Governors Ball festival — namely, revealing the title of their upcoming Mechanical Bull album via a video starring Jimmy Fallon, and premiering the first single, “Supersoaker” for the folks in attendance.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature had plans of her own, and a day of heavy rain and wind forced organizers to pull the plug on Friday’s festivities before KOL took the stage. Much to the disappointment of the Kings themselves.
“We were so bummed that the show couldn’t go on, and we were like ‘Should we go out there and at least tell them we’re so sorry, it’s out of our hands?’ But then we thought that would make things worse,” drummer Nathan Followill told MTV News. “We had this whole thing planned out, but it just wasn’t meant to be. But as soon as we heard we weren’t going to play, the wheels started in motion, and we were trying to figure out a way to get back there Saturday.”
And so, their management got to work, talking with both festival promoters and New York City officials about finding a set time for the band, or possibly pushing back city-mandated curfews. There were also some logistical snags (“Our gear was supposed to be shipped to London, which was a bit of a dilemma,” Followill said) and a bit of politicking, but, as anyone who braved the mud at Governors Ball on Saturday can attest to, the Kings ended up taking the stage … ripping through an abbreviated 75-minute set that included “Supersoaker.”
The Jimmy Fallon video? Well, that ended up being relegated to YouTube on Friday night. But, hey, not everything was going to be perfect.
“It was supposed to play right before we went onstage,” Followill laughed. “But in a weird way, it was kind of neat for the kids to get home from the festival pissed off on Friday, then find out we had a record coming out and hate us even more, and then love us so much when we decided to go back on Saturday.”
And though Followill is able to laugh about all the Governors Ball drama now, on Friday night, he and his bandmates were plenty serious about attempting to take the stage … after all, they had invited some very special guests to Governors Ball — families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in nearby Newtown, Connecticut — and, after giving them the deluxe treatment all day, they were determined to close out the evening with a performance. Luckily, it all worked out for the best.
“We had brought in some of the families from Newtown, Connecticut, and got to hang out with them backstage, and our friend, Jonathan Waxman, who’s a chef, he did a big meal for us, we were able to have some food with those people and hang out for a while,” Followill said. “It was a wonderful thing, but heartbreaking at the same time, because three of the four band members, we have kids of our own now, so it was tough, them showing us pictures of their babies, and us showing them ours.
“They were so thankful that we could take their minds off that stuff, even if it meant being under a tent with a hurricane coming up your ass, it was still a great moment,” he continued. “And it lucked out because most of them were able to stay in the city that night, and come out and see the show the next day too. So, we’re really happy that was able to happen, for them.”