Five thoughts: The Killers at MGM Grand Garden Arena (February 3)

Brandon Flowers of The Killers at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Rob Loud

1. An artifact as seemingly ordinary as the old Ford Mustang used in the music video for “The Man” created a frenzy outside the MGM Grand Garden Arena two hours before The Killers’ set time. Victims, as the band’s fans refer to themselves, lined up past the arena’s outdoor entrance to pose for photos with the vehicle, producing an undeniable air of anticipation. The energy was just as electric elsewhere on the property, as those in The Killers’ merch intermingled with jersey-clad tourists discussing Super Bowl bets and formally dressed clubgoers across the casino floor. It feels like the type of Las Vegas night the grandiose-sounding native band was made to soundtrack.

2. And The Killers knew it, too. Early on in the performance, during the middle of “The Way It Was,” magnetic frontman Brandon Flowers offered a greeting that went from getting the audience screaming to silenced in a matter of seconds. “Are you ready to show us a good Saturday night?” Flowers asked before breaking character by raising his voice with venom. “F*ck that. This is our town. We’re going to show you a good Saturday night.” From dancing on the edge of the stage to flailing on a staircase leading up to the drums, Flowers’ enthusiasm bordered on reckless all night, and the spectacle was all the better for it.

3. Every local Killers show is memorable for different reasons, with Saturday’s stop of the Wonderful, Wonderful tour standing out for its length and production value. High-definition screens were stationed not only behind the band, but above and on either side of it to create an immersive feel, heavily featuring local iconography. Desert scenes, Vegas Vic, the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and Mike Tyson were just a few of the visual accompaniments during a 125-minute performance that touched on every part of The Killers’ discography.

4. There were neither any appearances nor any mentions of guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer, the two members sitting out of this round of touring but whom some may have expected to see locally. Their absences took some getting used to, but touring members Ted Sablay and Jake Blanton filled in admirably on guitar and bass, respectively. Sablay particularly thrived when the spotlight shined on him for solos during “The Man” and “Read My Mind.”

5. Saturday won’t go down as one of The Killers’ best-ever local concerts, but that’s only because of the suffocating competition their rich history provides. There’s still no place their songs sound better than here—their town.

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