Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Concert Review: The Killers at Shoreline Amphitheatre (9/12/2009)

On Saturday I attended a concert that I'd been anticipating since Coachella in April.  Immediately after Coachella I was struck down by what I strongly suspect was a case of the swine flu, so I never had a chance to sing the praises of the bands I saw there.  That was a shame since I was dead center and only eight people back from the stage when The Killers played the festival.  It was the most incredible experience I've ever had at Coachella, and The Killers were so amazing that I jumped at the chance to see them again this past weekend.

One of the opening bands was The New York Dolls.  Let's just say that I arrived at the venue a full hour before The Killers took the stage but heard nothing that made me want to take my seat and watch the NY Dolls.

Moving on to the fun part of the evening, The Killers promptly took the stage at 9:30PM and opened strong with "Human."  Frontman Brandon Flowers missed a couple of notes during this first song, but after that he was in full voice for the rest of the night as the band dived into "Spaceman," "For Reasons Unknown," "Bones" and (one of my personal favorites) "Joy Ride."

The audience was on its feet from the moment band walked onto the stage and The Killers didn't disappoint.  The stage design and lighting weren't garish, but the palm trees, giant flower arrangement in an giant vase and neon lights—right down to the lit-up "K" in the middle of the stage—definitely reflected the band's Las Vegas roots.

Flowers, of course, is well known for his flamboyant costumes and stage presence.  Evidently blazers with feathered shoulders are the statement this year since he wore variations on this look at both Coachella and Saturday's show.

With his outsized, theatrical voice and stage presence, Flowers is the consumate frontman, but thankfully he doesn't cross the line and make concerts feel like a solo performance with a backing band.  And for a band that has raised some eyebrows with Kayne West-like declarations of rock greatness, The Killers performed several songs that acknowledged their forebears.  Covers included Joy Divison's "Shadowplay" (from The Killer's Sawdust album) and The Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," a clip of which you can watch here:

They also performed a couple of verses from Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love" on the heels of a rousing performance of "A Dustland Fairytale."

The propulsive tempo of the show barreled to a climax with a trio of fan favorites—"Read My Mind," "Mr. Brightside," and the always incredible "All These Things That I Have Done."  There's nothing quite like hearing thousands of people singing/chanting, "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier" over and over again during this song.

The two song encore started off with the deceptively cheerful-sounding "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and closed out with a song Flowers promised he and the band would perform "as hard as they could"—"When You Were Young."  Judging from the volume of the crowd singing with Flowers and the racous cheers that followed the band off-stage, The Killers 1 hour and 45 minute set did not disappoint.

The Killers setlist:
"For Reasons Unknown"
"Joy Ride"
"Change Your Mind"
"Bling (Confession of a King)"
"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
"Somebody Told Me"
"Smile Like You Mean It"
"Losing Touch"
"Believe Me Natalie"
"A Dustland Fairytale"/"Can't Help Falling in Love"
"Read My Mind"
"Mr. Brightside"
"All These Things I've Done"

"Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine"
"When You Were Young"

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