As the Riverfront Times, our former sister paper, reported on Saturday, the shit hit the band Friday night in St. Louis, as Kings of Leon walked offstage at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater after playing only three songs because bassist Jared Followill had been shat upon — near his mouth! — by a pigeon, or perhaps many pigeons that were part of an "infestation." (Maybe they meant "birdemic"?) According to Andy Mendelsohn of the band's management in a press release (full text below), "I’m surprised they stayed on for as many songs as they did. ... They really tried to hang in there. We want to apologize to our fans in St. Louis and will come back as soon as we can.”
Considering the way fans were left to stand around and wonder what the fuck was going on — people really don't like that! — maybe they should wait a while before making that return trip.
According to a press release from the band's publicity arm, both opening bands, The Stills and The Postells had been voluminously shat upon during their sets, and KOL decided to "carry on regardless" — hail! Hail! Bravo! — because, I dunno, maybe 15,000 people had paid real American dollars to see them play their rock songs like big-boy rock 'n' rollers. "The band felt it would be unfair to the fans to cancel the show at that late moment," Mendelsohn continues. OK.
So they played three songs, during which time a bird pooped on Jared Followill (the fellow who plays lead bass and is also a self-described "germophobe", according to a CNN report), and then they stopped the show after three songs without telling the crowd why. And then they never came back onstage, and had someone come out and tell the crowd to go home. I guess that was less unfair to their fans than never coming out onstage in the first place, but I'm pretty sure it was only a little bit less unfair.
Again, from the press release: “ 'We couldn’t believe what The Postelles and The Stills looked like after their sets,' ” said Jared Followill. 'We didn’t want to cancel the show, so we went for it. We tried to play. It was ridiculous.' " You could make the argument here that real rockers don't care what rockers look like after rocking, or you could not make that argument. Either way, I'm a little disappointed in some of the comments on the RFT story. Calling the band "Queens of Leon" is supposed to be some kind of insult? First of all, the associations here are obviously Queen (awesome) and Queens of the Stone Age (pretty good). Second of all, anyone suggesting that walking offstage because a bird pooped on you is a feminine, i.e. weak thing to do, has obviously forgotten that Cyndi Lauper caught a mouthful of bird shit while mid-note back in 2004 — then wiped her mouth on her sleeve and kept going. And she survived!
Here's the official explanation from Team KOL:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PIGEON INFESTATION FORCES KINGS OF LEON OFFSTAGE EARLY IN ST. LOUIS
An infestation of pigeons living in the rafters of the Verizon Amphitheatre in St. Louis, MO, forced the Kings of Leon to walk offstage after three songs last night. Even though opening bands The Postelles and The Stills came offstage complaining of getting riddled with large amounts of pigeon excrement, the Kings of Leon decided to carry on regardless. The band felt it would be unfair to the fans to cancel the show at that late moment.
“I’m surprised they stayed on for as many songs as they did,” said Andy Mendelsohn of Vector Management. “Jared was hit several times during the first two songs. On the third song, when he was hit in the cheek and some of it landed near his mouth, they couldn’t deal any longer. It’s not only disgusting — it’s a toxic health hazard. They really tried to hang in there. We want to apologize to our fans in St. Louis and will come back as soon as we can.”
When the band arrived earlier in the day, the venue warned management that there had been a significant pigeon infestation problem with summer shows over the years, but they were doing all they could to fix it.
“We couldn’t believe what The Postelles and The Stills looked like after their sets,” said Jared Followill. “We didn’t want to cancel the show, so we went for it. We tried to play. It was ridiculous.”
Kings of Leon are headed to Chicago tonight to perform at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre as scheduled.