Review: The Killers, Chicago

(Video after the jump) Hailing from Las Vegas, it should come as no surprise that The Killers are first-class entertainers. So, standing outside in 12-degree weather, I at least knew I was going to see a good show. I last saw The Killers in Austin, at the 2006 Austin City Limits music festival. They put on a great show, even I wasn’t familiar with their music at the time. This time I’m a fan, so expectations were higher.

brandonflowers

UPDATE: The Killers have added a slew of tour dates, in what will be a busy summer. Check out the bottom of this post for the latest dates. If you want to see The Killers live visit BarrysTickets.com for great deals on The Killers concert tickets.

It all starts with the stage and the effects. They opened with “Spaceman” and an explosion of lights. The entire stage, amps – just about everything was covered in small lights. Add a dozen more swirling lights and a huge video screen behind the stage and you’re engulfed in a performance, not just a concert. The video screen was interesting. It would show some effects and the occasional accompanying music video, and it was just grainy enough to be visible but not distracting. But none of it would matter without the powerful presence of lead singer Brandon Flowers (pictured). He emphasizes lyrics, pauses, guitar riffs, beats, you name it, he has body language for it. And he’s all over the stage pacing, sprinting and standing on top of amps – perfect for when you have that six-foot-seven guy standing directly in front of you for every single concert you attend … it’s not just me, right? But I digest … on to the music.

Both in Austin and here, the first thing to strike me about The Killers is how together they sound. It seems like every song is a mini-anthem, thoroughly modern but with a retro 80’s dance feel. It’s all timed and it’s hard to tell if they ever miss a beat.

They played as solid mix of tunes from their new album, Day & Age, including Human (‘I think I’m Dancer,’ said Angie), Neon Tiger and The World We Live In, peppered with some of their most popular songs from previous records. There were few pauses between songs and less conversation with the crowd – fine by me.

The best part of the show came with back-to-back-to-back songs Sam’s Town, Read My Mind and Mr. Brightside. Flowers played Sam’s Town under a white spotlight, sitting and playing piano in a sort of acoustic and subtly plugged-in version of the song. And just when you thought it was time to slow it down, they rolled right into All These Things That I Have Done, with Flowers leading the increasingly loud, chanting crowd to “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier…” They closed out the show to a crowd-pleasing When You Were Young.

The “I wasn’t crazy about that song until I heard it live” award goes to A Dustland Fairytale.

There were two downsides to Tuesday’s show, although minor. First, UIC Pavillion is not the best place to see a show. Sight lines are good, but acoustics are bad.

Second, there were times when it seemed the band was going through the motions a bit. I suppose you can’t blame them – being the crowd-pleasers that they are, they probably play some of their songs so much it’s difficult to not get bored.

Below is some video from the show of Smile Like You Mean It. This was taken in a covert fashion, so apologies for the lack of a good view. And below that is Jenny Was a Friend of Mine – the view is even worse, but it sounds pretty good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPrLVap-wEU[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odHIJOPrgho[/youtube]

Jul 16 2009 8:00P Festival Les Vieilles Charrues Carhaix
Jul 18 2009 8:00P Festival Super Bock Super Rock Lisbon
Jul 19 2009 8:00P Benicàssim Festival Benicàssim
Aug 8 2009 8:00P Horseshoe Casino – Southern Indiana Elizabeth, Indiana
Aug 9 2009 8:30P Lollapalooza Chicago, Illinois
Aug 31 2009 8:00P Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, Maryland
Sep 1 2009 8:00P Nikon at Jones Beach Amphitheatre Wantagh, New York
Sep 2 2009 8:00P PNC Bank Arts Center Holmdel, New Jersey
Sep 4 2009 8:00P TD Banknorth Garden Boston, Massachusetts
Sep 5 2009 8:00P Quai Jacques Cartier Montreal, Quebec
Sep 6 2009 8:00P Molson Amphitheatre Toronto, Ontario
Sep 9 2009 8:00P Red Rocks Amphitheater Morrison, Colorado
Sep 12 2009 8:00P Shoreline Amphitheatre Mountain View, California
Sep 13 2009 8:00P Santa Barbara Bowl Santa Barbara, California
Sep 16 2009 8:00P Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, California
Sep 18 2009 8:00P Cox Arena San Diego, California
Sep 19 2009 8:00P Mandalay Bay Event Center Las Vegas, Nevada
Sep 22 2009 8:00P ARCO Arena Sacramento, California
Sep 24 2009 8:00P Memorial Coliseum Portland, Oregon
Sep 25 2009 8:00P Qwest Arena Boise, Idaho
Sep 26 2009 8:00P The E Center of West Valley Salt Lake City, Utah
Sep 28 2009 8:00P Dodge Theatre Phoenix, Arizona
Oct 1 2009 8:00P UCF Arena Orlando, Florida
Oct 2 2009 8:00P USF Sun Dome Tampa, Florida
Oct 3 2009 8:00P American Airlines Arena Miami, Florida

5 Replies to “Review: The Killers, Chicago”

  1. Since I was there and also since I’m a huge Killers fan, I’ve been reading a few reviews and yours, by far, is the best. I really had a great time and thought that the band was fantastic (although it looked like their bassist was trying a little too hard to concentrate). Major props to Vanucci and Flowers – they totally rocked the house. Dave and Mark were pretty awesome too. Got tickets to their Milwaukee show in April! Hopefully that show as good as this one was. Can’t wait!

  2. I was just looking around to see if i can find any reviews for this tour as i am going to see them in London next week. They are playing London’s O2 arena which has a reputation for good acoustics, so if that is your only complaint then i can’t wait as they should rock!!

  3. Should be a great show. They really put on a total performance. Have a great time – if you feel like writing a few words about it, please let me know!

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