"Putting on a rock show, it ain't easy," The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers told the sold-out crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden Friday night (Jan. 12), later adding with a laugh, "We're bustin' our asses off tonight to make sure we pull this thing off."
The four-piece -- brought to MSG "by way of fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada," as they said in unison -- certainly pulled off the rock show, and even if they were busting their asses, they did so like pure rock stars. Despite being more than 15 years into their careers, The Killers sounded good as new on their latest arena tour, and Flowers could've fooled anyone for being the sprightly 21-year-old he was when they started.
The Killers' vivacious stage presence was just one of the many spectacles of the night, as the band played a 21-song set consisting of a mix of their biggest hits, fan favorites and new tracks from their latest LP, Wonderful Wonderful. While they certainly have nothing to prove at this point in their career, with their name on the roster for just about every music festival happening in 2018, the arena setting was pure evidence that they're a staple for the big leagues.
If you don't agree, check out what Billboard experienced and why we think they're a perfect festival fit.
Brandon Flowers' Voice (and Energy) Carries for Miles
Flowers has the kind of vibrato that is effective no matter his volume. Every song had its special moments, but his vocal prowess was especially impactful on "The Way It Was," "Run For Cover" and "Rut."
The Fans Need Space to Dance
The vibes Flowers' energy and the band's high-speed music brought made for a lot of dancing and jumping from the crowd in every part of the arena, but felt a little confined for those not on the general admission floor -- especially true during "Human," "Runaways" and (of course) the show-closing "Mr. Brightside." The open space of festivals will likely take that liveliness to another level. Let the people dance!
Their Colorful Stage Setting is Mesmerizing
The triangular set of The Killers' arena stage is neat in itself, but the spectrum of lights and visuals on the screens were what really made the scenery special. Between the sunset-like coloring on "I Can't Stay" and desert landscapes during Sam's Town throwback "This River Is Wild," it was almost hard to decide whether to focus on the imagery or the band.
The Range of Ages That Rock Out Together
From grade school kids to men with gray hair, there was just about every age imaginable gathered for a good old rock show, and all were on their feet singing along or, at the very least, bopping along. Whatever the demographic at whichever fest, the spread at just one show alone validated The Killers' several festival headlining slots.
They Don't F--k Around With Their Instruments
Flowers' vocals and spunk were enough to make The Killers' live show enjoyable, but the rest of the group's musicianship made for an all-around fantastic concert experience -- perhaps most notably on "For Reasons Unknown" and "A Dustland Fairytale."
Pyro and Confetti Enhances Their Rock Flair
Watching the way The Killers perform, especially in front of their dazzling stage, you would never really think that they need any sort of fireworks or confetti -- but once they have them, your mind is blown. Pink confetti fluttered through the air as the group kicked off their oldie-but-goodie "Somebody Told Me," and multicolored streamers blasted as the pre-encore closer "All These Things That I've Done" reached its climax, making the classics even more fun. But just when you think it couldn't get any better, sparks rain down over the stage during "When You Were Young"... and the song (and show) reached a whole new level of amazing.
The Band is Meant to Be Seen on a Big Screen (and a Big Stage)
Flowers doesn't need a big screen for fans to feed off of him, but being able to see his smiling face up close -- whether you're in the front row or very back -- is almost essential for really feeling just how much The Killers love performing. Plus, getting to see the band's renowned drummer Ronnie Vannucci do his thing via a special drum cam is pretty damn epic.
The Killers may be the kind of band that got their start in 1,500-person clubs or even smaller, but bigger settings is where they really shine. If you haven't had a chance to hear Flowers' voice echo or dance to "Somebody Told Me" as confetti pours over you, do yourself a favor and check them out on their arena trek or this summer -- or, better yet, both.
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