You Can Take The Boy Out Of Vegas...
From tales of a jealous lovers crime of passion to their love affair with their home country, right down to their current fascination with alien abduction and that age old conundrum of whether we are human or dancer, Las Vegas’ The Killers have always been a band of intrigue that offer that little something different to the formula. After all, who else could combine palm trees and feathers for a London show in the midst of winter?
Looking as if he has been embroiled in an encounter with a passing flock of pheasants, the ever flamboyant Brandon Flowers takes to the stage donning a jacket bejewelled with some left over road kill, feathers apparently being the new fashion essential are perched boldly on the front man’s shoulders, instantly stealing the spotlight and guaranteeing that all eyes will be on the lead singer before a single word has been sung. With each band member slowly taking their marks, it’s a somewhat sedate start for a Killers gig. Gone are the theatrics of Sam’s Town, replaced instead with an array of palm trees that line the stage, and although the glitz may not be as shiny as usual, the anticipation and excitement is still very much threatening to overflow.
Launching into ‘Spaceman’, Flowers instantly ignites the crowd, confidently striding across the stage with his trademark nervous jerks that stand in stark contrast to the showman like display as he commands the crowd, easing them into the relative tranquillity of ‘Losing Touch’, announcing “we are the Killers and we are at your service”. Smugly lighting the torch paper and watching the entire arena erupt for the anthemic punch of ‘Somebody Told Me’ that immediately gains 20,000 enthusiastic backing singers, Flowers leaps onto a speaker to lead the charge, reluctantly returning to his keyboards every once in a while. From this the London faithful are taken further into the Las Vegas quartet’s space age desert as ‘This Is Your Life’ gives way for the saxophone charge of ‘Joyride’, invitingly exhibiting the new world created by recent album ‘Day And Age’, constantly propelled by the dominant drum beats of Ronnie Vannucci, providing the backbone of the band.
But ultimately it is the tried and trusted tracks that are welcomed in like old friends; the exuberant power of ‘Bling’ effortlessly invites in the darkness of ‘Shadow Play’ that the Killers have managed to claim as their own, masking it in even more darkness and transforming it into an arena anthem that only the likes of ‘For Reasons Unknown’ can nudge aside, as Flowers equips himself with a bass to add yet more vigour to the stomping beats. Recent hit ‘Human’ sweeps by complete with trademark Flowers’ dance moves that twitch and stutter, befitting the loose-limbed front man before a lone spot light captures the agitated, fidgety singer in a rare moment of stillness, calmly sitting at a piano as ‘Sam’s Town (Abbey Road Version)’ is presented in all its simplistic finery. Still reluctant to engage in conversation too long with his devoted audience, Flowers quickly jumps into ‘Read My Mind’, still receiving a helping hand from the willing crowd as they sing each line with as much gusto as the featherweight showman, before threatening to blast the dome clean off the O2 arena as waves of bodies jump in ecstatic unison for ‘Mr Brightside’. Its a fate matched only by the first rush of theatrics courtesy of the confetti cannons that accompany ‘All These Things That I Have Done’, that sees Flowers once more commanding the crowd, mic stand in hand as he incites euphoric chants of “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” from every inch of the vast arena.
And still there is more to come as ‘Dustland Fairytale’ gently introduces an encore, shimmering ahead of the buoyancy of ‘Bones’ before Flowers entangles all in tales of jealousy and murder for the vigorously menacing ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine’. With America crossed, the desert and space visited and an Anglo-Indie quota me, it is left to ‘When You Were Young’ to bring the night to a theatrically energetic climax that sees pyros blasting and sparks showering down onto the stage, proving that you may be able to take the boys out of Vegas but you can’t take Vegas out of the boys. And who’d have it any other way?