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In Pictures: Slane hosts Kings of Leon and Thin Lizzy

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Hundreds Northern Ireland music fans headed to Slane

Hundreds Northern Ireland music fans headed to Slane

Ciara McNamee and Lana Crossey from Belfast head off to Slane.

Ciara McNamee and Lana Crossey from Belfast head off to Slane.

Fiona Taggart from Newry Elaine Birtwistle from Belfast and  Ciara Schiefer from Belfast head off to Slane.

Fiona Taggart from Newry Elaine Birtwistle from Belfast and Ciara Schiefer from Belfast head off to Slane.

Hundreds Northern Ireland music fans headed to Slane

Hundreds Northern Ireland music fans headed to Slane

Jayne Connor, Susan Kerr and Kelly Forbes from Carrickfergus heading to Slane

Jayne Connor, Susan Kerr and Kelly Forbes from Carrickfergus heading to Slane

Kings of Leon fans Helen Hamilton, Lee Stirling, Barry Kirkpatrick and Fiona Hamilton from Larne

Kings of Leon fans Helen Hamilton, Lee Stirling, Barry Kirkpatrick and Fiona Hamilton from Larne

Waterboots at the ready, Sarah Pattinson from Kent, Jade Hamill from Belfast, Debbie Russell from Lisburn and Laura Allen from Co Durham

Waterboots at the ready, Sarah Pattinson from Kent, Jade Hamill from Belfast, Debbie Russell from Lisburn and Laura Allen from Co Durham

Tickets at the ready David Blair and Rebecca Miller from Antrim

Tickets at the ready David Blair and Rebecca Miller from Antrim

Louise Small and Patricia O'Connor from Glengormley

Louise Small and Patricia O'Connor from Glengormley

Hundreds of Kings of Leon fans descended on Translink's Europa Buscentre on Saturday to see the world-class American rock band perform at Slane Castle.

Hundreds of Kings of Leon fans descended on Translink's Europa Buscentre on Saturday to see the world-class American rock band perform at Slane Castle.

Joanne McQuade,Claire McQuade,Lesley McComb Karen Knowles and Stefanie  McQuade from Larne head off the see Kings of Leon at Slane.

Joanne McQuade,Claire McQuade,Lesley McComb Karen Knowles and Stefanie McQuade from Larne head off the see Kings of Leon at Slane.

Kerry Hull and Kerry Adams from Greyabbey get set to head off to Slane armed with their waterboots incase the weather turns out to be wet and rainy.

Kerry Hull and Kerry Adams from Greyabbey get set to head off to Slane armed with their waterboots incase the weather turns out to be wet and rainy.

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle

Fran Caffrey

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle

Fran Caffrey

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle

Fran Caffrey

Thin Lizzy play Slane Castle

Thin Lizzy play Slane Castle

Fran Caffrey

Fans at  Slane Castle

Fans at Slane Castle

Fran Caffrey

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle..

Kings of Leon concert at Slane Castle..

Elbow at Slane Concert 2011.

Elbow at Slane Concert 2011.

 Tickets at the ready Louise Small and Patricia OConnor from Glengormley head to Slane for Kings of Leon.

Tickets at the ready Louise Small and Patricia OConnor from Glengormley head to Slane for Kings of Leon.

Fans heading  to Slane for Kings of Leon.

Fans heading to Slane for Kings of Leon.

Fans heading  to Slane for Kings of Leon.

Fans heading to Slane for Kings of Leon.

Kings of Leon fans Danielle Saunders,Carla Braddy, and Kirsty Shaw from East Belfast head off to see their idols.

Kings of Leon fans Danielle Saunders,Carla Braddy, and Kirsty Shaw from East Belfast head off to see their idols.

Johnny Hume, Mary Bradley and Shane Connor from Derry head off to Slane

Johnny Hume, Mary Bradley and Shane Connor from Derry head off to Slane

Slane 2011

Slane 2011

Christina Prise and Karen Smyth from Ballynahinch

Christina Prise and Karen Smyth from Ballynahinch

Sydella, Catherine and Willy from Belfast

Sydella, Catherine and Willy from Belfast

Slane Concert 2011

Slane Concert 2011

Fran Caffrey

Slane Concert 2011

Slane Concert 2011

Fran Caffrey

Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon

Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon

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Hundreds Northern Ireland music fans headed to Slane

Kings Of Leon got a few lessons in stadium rock from supporting U2 early in their career.

But whereas Bono and Co use elaborate stage sets like ‘The Claw', this Nashville group play simple rock ‘n' roll with an unwavering intensity, and connect to the audience through their instruments.

For a band so stoic, performing at Slane Castle in front of 80,000 fans could have been a disaster.

But on Saturday night the Kings Of Leon proved it is possible to engage an arena of this size without gimmickry.

It helped that the band could draw on tracks from their two most recent multimillion-selling albums, Only by the Night and Come Around Sundown.

There were few introductions, but with giant crowd-pleasing hits to deploy, like Sex On Fire and Use Somebody, the Kings really didn't need to say much at all.

When singer Caleb Followill did talk to the audience it was to voice his disbelief at the scale of what they were undertaking.

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“I can't believe how many of you came here to see us,” he told the huge audience, which stretched up the hill at Slane for as far as the eye could see.

While there is a strong feel of Allman Brothers about the Kings' material, it's fellow Slane headliners U2 who most come to mind listening to their set.

Both groups specialise in tunes of yearning, angst and desire delivered with echo-laden guitar riffs.

In contrast to their stadium rock panache, support act Elbow were simply the wrong act in the wrong venue.

To his credit, singer Guy Garvey was one of the few performers on the day to explore the vast stage, but his voice sounded like a foghorn across the Co Meath hills.

Saturday night music it wasn't. Looking out at the multitude, there seemed little reaction to the Manchester five-piece.

Prior to Elbow, veteran Irish rock band Thin Lizzy did a much better job in warming up the crowd. Returning to play Slane after a 30-year absence, they rapidly won over the young audience who weren't even born at the time of their first headline gig in 1981.

Some had been dubious about Thin Lizzy performing without their charismatic frontman, but replacement singer Ricky Warwick was more than adequate at filling Phil Lynott's shoes.

Featuring original drummer Brian Downey back in the line-up, the first moment on Saturday when the crowd reacted together was to the strung-out opening strains of 1972 hit Whiskey In The Jar.

It was the lyrics to this song which inspired Kings Of Leon to pen single Molly's Chamber, which was aired late in the evening as the skies darkened over Slane.

“This is the longest set we have ever played,” singer Caleb Followill remarked one hour and 20 minutes into the mammoth show.

And it was more than an hour later before the Kings' reign was over at Slane and the buses left for Dublin, filled with happy revellers.

KEN SWEENEY


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