Bringing Festival Glitz And Glamour
For some festival goers by the time they’ve reached day two the novelty of having to wear wellies and traipse through mud has definitely worn off. For those festival goers Saturday was always going to provide that certain touch of glitz and glamour that fed the craving for civilisation and after all, if Las Vegas band The Killers couldn’t bring some glamour to the festival field, who could?
As the dark stage gradually sheds some light the first sight Reading gets of The Killers isn’t the usual glitzy sparkle of Vegas showmanship. With three guitarists lining the front it takes a few seconds to realise that lead singer Brandon Flowers isn’t behind his keyboards, instead trading them in for a guitar as the band open with the ominous thump of ‘For Reasons Unknown’. An unusual song for the band to start with, the Reading festival goers seem slightly confused and indeed it’s only as the dance inducing infectiousness of ‘Somebody Told Me’ kicks in that the field of revellers start to come alive. Sparkling in a turquoise jacket, Flowers stutters around the stage in his stereotypical nervous showman like way; somehow exuding an air of confidence from beneath his obvious shyness that keeps banter to the essentials only. Not content with taking a risk with the opening number, The Killers proceed to do what they had previously promised and play tracks from the B-side collection, ‘Sawdust’, an album that it would appear few at Reading own as the puzzled faces pine away for the singles to make an appearance once more.
Brave or stupid, Flowers and co churn out a menacing version of Joy Divisions ‘Shadowplay’ complete with feet tapping beats and vocal harmonies to entice all whilst ‘Sweet Talk’ skips teasingly by before Flowers stands centre stage for the opening rush of ‘Bones’ that envelopes all. Still lacking the usual theatrics that come with a Killers show, its left to ‘When You Were Young’ to bring the pyros to the set with a rainfall of sparks cascading from the roof of the stage as guitarist Dave Kruning revels in the songs soaring guitar solos. But the band are soon back to the rare tracks as ‘Under The Gun’ bristles as Flowers’ vocals pulsate against the tracks pulsating beat. ‘Sam’s Town’ shimmers with a gentle intro courtesy of Flowers that gains momentum until all four members of the band are involved, whilst there’s even time to hint at the progress of The Killers as new track, ‘Spaceman’ makes an entrance that echoes the best of Hot Fuss’s dance enticing beats alongside the infectious maturity of ‘Sam’s Town’.
With ‘Mr Brightside’ having made a sing out loud appearance, many depart, rushing off to catch the other stages but the Las Vegas band aren’t done just yet. Part of their murder trilogy, ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’ whirls around the crowd with added foreboding as Flowers adjusts some lyrics to insure the track is just that little bit darker and sinister before the band jump into an anthem striving rendition of ‘This River Is Wild’ that soars brilliantly to an euphoric climax before gracefully making its exit. Of course though only one song can end a Killers set and as Flowers leads the charge with ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’, he is soon made redundant as the crowds singing eclipses his, building to an eruption during the chorus that is blasted only by a wave of confetti that sprinkles the crowd.
With a set list tailor made for the Killers’ fans rather than a festival goer and with grumbles that the sound wasn’t great throughout the field, The Killers headline slot at Reading certainly wasn’t without its problems but these were mere niggles. After all, if nothing else Reading finally got some glamour and some sing along tracks and when you’re in a muddy field, can you really ask for more?