The Killers in fine form at Cosmo homecoming show
December 28, 2012, The Chelsea
Sun, Dec 30, 2012 (11:55 a.m.)
Photo: Wyatt Boswell
Fans lined the concert hall as far as the eyes could see. Normally, the Chelsea is spacious with the stage taking up most of the width of the room and giving people a closer view with each row fanning out wider. But for this show, The Killers' first of two on New Year's Eve weekend, the stage was set up on the short side of the rectangular room, so the audience stretched backwards as if in a shoe box. VIPs had luxury boxes and bottle service on risers on either side of the stage, which further crammed the general admission ticket-holders. If luxury treatment is so important to the Cosmo, they should build a proper concert venue, as has been rumored for years. The Chelsea works as a venue, but for the steep ticket price most people had to pay, many were treated as an afterthought.
- The Killers
- December 28, Cosmopolitan
However, you wouldn't know that from the enthusiasm of the thronged masses waiting for their hometown heroes. Las Vegas’s most famous entertainment export proved why they are legitimate worldwide headliners in their 80-plus-minute set, sounding tight and energetic. Kicking things off with “Mr. Brightside” off Hot Fuss, the album that broke the band (has it been eight years already?!), lead singer Brandon Flowers stopped mid-song and demanded security break up a fight between two morons near the stage. After his request was obliged, Flowers and Co. picked up right where they left off. Well done, Mr. Flowers.
From there it was Hitsville USA with dance-pop ruling the day on ditties “Smile Like You Mean It” and “Spaceman.” Songs off new album Battle Born, the band’s fourth studio proper, flew off the stage with zeal. “Miss Atomic Bomb” and “Runaways” will likely be staples of the live show for years to come.
Eighty minutes is respectable, but as headliners, there is no doubt the band could pad at least another 10 using their unique sound to take on cool covers, like when Flowers crooned the Cole Porter classic “I Get A Kick Out Of You” as a seeming nod to a man who made much of his bones here in Vegas, Frank Sinatra. How about a nod to New Wave, the genre the band helped reignite with a New Order cut? Flowers, a known worshipper at the temple of Springsteen, should take a shot at Bruce classics like “She’s The One” or “Something In The Night”. As good as The Killers sound, there is still room to grow.
Some growth was heard on the noisy and interesting bass intros Mark Stoermer supplied for “Somebody Told Me” and encore opener “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine.” Guitarist Dave Keuning nailed one solo after another, and drummer Ronnie Vanucci Jr. is an energy machine who pulsed the band forward throughout the night.
Six pieces on stage gave the set a full sound, but many in the crowd couldn’t help but think of our friend Tommy Marth, the sometimes saxophonist for the band, who took his own life earlier this year. The group didn't play any songs he was featured on, likely still figuring out how to deal with the loss, as the rest of us are.
To close the main set, Flowers told the story of recording second album Sam’s Town at Studio 58 behind Cheetah’s strip club after the monster success of Hot Fuss. The pressure was immense to duplicate their breakthrough album, and it wasn’t until they wrote “When You Were Young” that the band found its mojo again. It’s a song, Flowers said before they launched into it, he “gives thanks for everyday.”
The Killers, now more polished than ever, might tour the world, but there is something special about their Vegas shows, both for the band and the audience. They’ve come a long way from gigs at the Junkyard and the Ice House. While those venues don’t exist anymore, The Killers' music is as alive now as it has ever been.