Birds can't deter Kings of Leon's St. Louis return

Monday, August 16, 2010 | 10:37 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — The Kings of Leon rock band is hoping its fans will return — and the pigeons won't — for a second concert in St. Louis.

The band plans to return to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for a Sept. 25 concert, after canceling its performance there in July when pigeons pelted the band members with droppings, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday.

"As soon as what happened happened, we knew we were going to come back," Kings of Leon bassist Jared Followill said. "We knew (leaving) would be horrible, and we knew people were not going to be happy. We were just trying to figure out the best way and the easiest way to get back and make it better."

Concert producer Live Nation confirmed the upcoming show, which will be free to fans who attended the shortened July 23 concert. And $10 tickets will be available to those who didn't attend the original show. The band isn't taking a fee for the new concert, and it and Live Nation will share all costs involved with presenting the show.

"They're doing the right thing, and we will help them in every possible way," said Mark Campana, president of Live Nation Midwest Music.

Campana is promising that the concert will be a full production, not a scaled-down show.

The July concert made worldwide headlines when the band walked off stage after three songs because of the bird feces, with some landing near Followill's mouth.

"We don't care about the news stories," Followill said. "We care about the personal stories, like from the fans who'd come a long way to see the concert."

Followill said the band understood angry comments from St. Louis fans, but was bothered by "misinformation" that circulated after the cancellation.

He said the band's management decided to stop the show to protect the health and safety of the band, which will be on tour until Sept. 23.

Followill said management wanted the band to leave the stage after the first song and the band conceded after the third song.

Followill said that he would have stayed longer but "after 30 songs, I would've been covered. It was disgusting. I wanted to throw up when it was on my face."

He also said a rumor that the band quit because it was too drunk to perform was "definitely not true."

"We weren't going to leak the pictures, but we have pictures of the (droppings) all over my gear," Followill said. "And a lot of people think it's one pigeon. How can it be one pigeon? It was a ton of them."

Management of the amphitheater maintains only one bird was near the stage that evening.

Followill said the band probably should have apologized as it left the stage or at least played a couple of its big hits, such as "Sex on Fire" or "Use Somebody," before leaving. But he said he couldn't have moved because of the various pedals he has to use for certain songs.

And moving to another stage wasn't possible because it would have taken hours to figure out how to move all the fire, lights and other parts of the large set.

The ampitheater will use normal procedures to keep out the birds, including nail boards and paste, which discourages them from roosting, and hiring an exterminator. It also may consider netting and re-examine fire hatches to be sure they're secure.

Still, a pesky bird might still fly in.

"Could it happen a second time?" asked Campana. "I still can't believe it happened the first time."

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