While 'Killshot' may not have been playing in Toronto last Friday, The Killers were and I was fortunate enough to catch that show. A lot of people dis this band for being too poppy and mainstream, but I think they deserve respect for writing good songs and putting on a damn good live show. I couldn't stand 'Somebody Told Me' when it first hit the airwaves, but I fell in love with their second single 'Mr. Brightside' when I saw them perform it on SNL, and then seeing them perform 'When You Were Young' at the Brit Awards in 2007 really sold me on the band. Of course that song was from the much acclaimed second record 'Sam's Town' which still stands out as their best.
The only advantage to going to big arena shows like this one are the efforts and money put towards complimenting the music with light shows and pyrotechnics. These were impressive additions, but made me wish I was closer and higher. The highlight of the show was probably 'Mr. Brightside' as there's something about the drive of that song that works so well in a live performance. Brandon Flowers has to have one of the best concert voices I've ever heard. You could really appreciate it on the slower songs like 'A Dustland Fairytale.' They opened with their new single 'Spaceman' which they're currently promoting with this video:
Pretty excessive stuff. I guess part of reaching this level of rock stardom is having the flamboyancy and ego that Flowers seems to have in spades. It seems the band has re-invented themselves with each album thus far, but like I said, these often excessive, sometimes gimmicky personas are what's expected of our rock stars. It's all part and parcel with the design heavy arena shows where people pay hundreds of dollars and want to see something larger than life. This is why I find it hard to picture a group like the Sam Roberts band, who really don't seem as image conscious, doing arena shows, even though they had to add an extra night to their three at The Music Hall last November.
Though it would have been cool to hear a few songs from their b-side compilation 'Sawdust,' the new album-heavy set list combined with the singles of their first two still made for a pretty satisfying concert experience. Here's the full set list:
Smile Like You Mean It
This Is Your Life
I Can't Stay
Bling (confessions of a king)
A Dustland Fairytale
Read My Mind
All These Things That I've Done
For Reasons Unknown
Jenny Was A Friend of Mine
When You Were Young
The Killers have earned their place among the many memorable shows I've attended in the last twelve months. Hopefully soon to join those ranks will be Ben Kweller (Feb. 22) and Bloc Party (March 14).