The Killers: an electrifying performance in a disappointing venue
The Killers @ Place Bell in Montreal, CA on January 6th, 2018
Allison Buffam Photo: Rob Loud
In a tweet to follow the show in Laval, Quebec, The Killers commented on how the crowd was electric, but the venue was not. The crowd was indeed electric and kept the show going when the technical issues came quickly. It didn’t stop the band from performing, though, and in fact, with their perseverance, the show was one of their best.
The Killers are currently on their North American tour, promoting their newest album ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, and the concert definitely lived up to the title. Their setlist was almost electrifying and performance was one that would cause other bands to be jealous. A setlist full from their debut album, ‘Hot Fuss’, reaching up to their newest release as well with a cover of Arcade Fire’s ‘Crown Of Love’, the show was enough to send fans out pumped up with adrenaline. Lead singer, Brandon Flowers commenting on how Evel Knievel said, “People don’t want to see the perfect landing; they come to see the attempt”. And what happened on Saturday, January 6th, was definitely an attempt.
Fans were treated to a performance after waiting in temperatures around -40 Celsius for roughly an hour, only to have technical issues occur within the first song. Within the first forty seconds of ‘Run for Cover’, the power to the microphones and amplifiers were cut. Flowers tried to reassure the audience that the venue was new and that they could keep trying but they have to keep the power on. The power stayed on after that until they reached the half of the first song for the encore, ‘The Calling’. Flowers fell to his knees in annoyance, remarking when the power came back on that he “can’t lean into the light anymore” and Vannucci stood up, arms reached out asking a silent question to the technicians in control of the sound: Why? The venue was unorganized, unprepared for the mass amount of fans waiting to see The Killers perform. Flowers even apologized to fans of having to wait.
Evenko and Place Bell are both receiving negative feedback from the concert. Only Place Bell released a statement regarding the problems that occurred during the concert, still no update from Enenko.
Technical and venue issues aside, the concert was one to remember. The crowd gave the band motivation to carry on. The screens displaying graphics suiting their setlist. ‘Human’ had a heart pump throughout the song while the side displays had ARE WE HUMAN OR ARE WE DANCERS in a coding terminal. The visual experience suited the band, giving them a suitable backdrop. Confetti was shot out into the audience twice: once during ‘The Man’ and once during ‘All These Things I’ve Done’. Sparks lit up the stage during the second last song of the night, ‘When You Were Young’ and Flowers changed outfits during the break before the encore started, coming out in a gold suit that sparkled. The impression that was given off was a warm and inviting one, bringing freezing attendees to fabulous Las Vegas for just a few hours. Flowers dancing when he wasn’t at the keyboard. When they announced that they had to leave for Boston, the crowd erupted with booing only to have the band perform the song that got their career started, ‘Mr. Brightside’.
The songs performed from their new album were ‘The Man’, ‘Run for Cover’, ‘Rut’, ‘The Calling’ and my personal favorite: ‘Tyson vs Douglas’. If you were having doubts about the album or even if you didn’t like it as much as previous albums – this tour will change your mind. I loved ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ from the moment I heard it, but I couldn’t stand ‘The Calling’ until I heard it live. Woody Harrelson’s voice boomed in the arena and from the short time they played it until the power was dropped again, the attendees were in a groove. ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ was somber – couples dancing in the general admission area together. Lead guitarist for the tour Ted Sablay joined Flowers in covering Arcade Fire’s ‘Crown of Love’, the crowd sang quietly along. A short yet sweet cover with Flowers voice and Sablay’s strumming of the guitar. Sablay and bassist Jake Blanton performed in a way that if you closed your eyes, you could almost imagine Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer on stage. Vannucci provided life when it was quiet, hitting a drum solo within the first twenty minutes of the concert, and told fans at the end of the concert that he loved them. It was their best performance even if the venue was the worst in eastern Canada.
It was candid and genuine when ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, ‘Rut’ and ‘Runaways’ were performed, serving the audience an emotional journey. The setlist was laid out like a story, even – starting off with ‘Run for Cover’, the latest single to their first major hit, ‘Mr. Brightside’. It told a story of developing, of growing up. The emotion from the crowd was one of appreciation: that the show went on even against the odds. Songs from their older album such as ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine’, ‘Sam’s Town’, ‘Andy, You’re a Star’ and ‘Read My Mind’ were performed new yet carried a familiar element.
The band has a dynamic presence on the stage, commanding it in a way that newer bands crave. All the right moves were made. Even with the technical errors and the disorganized venue, this was a concert you couldn’t forget even if you tried. They ended the show by filling the audience with a real sense of plenitude, with a longing for youth. From the experience of an electric performance, it gained a particular strength and warmth through its uniqueness and difficulties. If you still haven’t seen them perform, do it now. Do it while you have the chance. Love with all your heart for a band that has so much heart, you wouldn’t believe it.