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How Mick Jagger accidentally sabotaged a Kings of Leon concert

There are few finer performers in the wondrous world of music than Mick Jagger. Even in his later years, he remains one of the most energetic figures in rock ‘n’ roll and has more energy than people half his age. Playing music to him is a daunting experience, as Kings of Leon discovered first-hand.

Jagger was an early adopter of the Followill family, and he has been waxing lyrical about them for almost two decades. When Kings of Leon first started to gain traction, in the UK, following the release of their debut album, Youth & Young Manhood, the Rolling Stones frontman was there to support the young upstarts, and they felt the nerves.

Although the band were yet to catch fire in the States until they went commercial with their fourth album, Only By The Night — it was a different story on the other side of the Atlantic. In the UK, audiences immediately took them to their hearts.

After first playing at the world-famous Brixton Academy in London in 2003, Kings of Leon would return to the venue for another three dates the following year. Even though he missed out on their first show at the venue, Jagger made sure to be there for their next appearance.

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In 2021, Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill reminisced about that concert and admitted he found Jagger’s presence “very distracting” while simultaneously being “surreal”. He explained to the BBC: “It was very distracting because we were playing the show and there were a few empty seats up top; and then before you know it, it’s Mick sitting there and banging his arms on the balcony and dancing.

“We were all looking at each other like, ‘Holy c***, this is very surreal.’ I started shaking my hips a little more. Yep, I definitely did some dancing that I hadn’t done before.”

Despite the band being distracted, Jagger wasn’t put off being a KoL fan, and in a 2010 interview with Absolute Radio, he heaped praised the success of Kings of Leon, which he put down to their killer arena show.

He commented: “The Kings Of Leon at the beginning, they didn’t really do that successfully, but everyone has to do it in the end because otherwise, it becomes kind of embarrassing, being in a room when you’re not really connecting.

“But now they play arenas and they’re really good and they’re much more forthcoming. They still have their shy moments, but they seem to have cut down.”

Jagger’s comments about Kings of Leon becoming “much more forthcoming” over the years suggest that he wasn’t incredibly impressed with their stage presence at Brixton Academy. However, it’s understandable why they would become a nervous wreck in front of such an esteemed audience member.