Fri 2 Oct – The Killers, Chairlift
Having seen The Killers twice already this year, I went into the USF Sun Dome expecting an incredible show. I knew the basic format of their set list; I knew the small monologues Brandon Flowers would speak in between songs for a quick break; I even knew when Flowers would kneel down in front of bassist Mark Stoermer while he slapped that bass for his well-known bass solo in “Jenny Was A Friend of Mine”. But no YouTube video, or memory of “killer” shows seen previously could have prepared me for the joy ride I was about to take. Simply put, The Killers blew me out of Tampa’s surrounding waters.
The band started out with a new opener “Joy Ride” (usually known for opening with a countdown leading to their first single “Human” from their newest album), encouraging the audience to dance along and forget about life’s troubles for a few hours. Flowers announced to the full standing crowd, “I’ve got a feeling about tonight! I’ve got a feeling about tonight!”, followed by a tremendous uproar. We, too, had a feeling something special was going to take place on this night.
The band pumped out fan favorites such as “Mr. Brightside”, “Human”, “Somebody Told Me”, and the horn powered “Bones” in which Flowers invited the audience to “Come with me! Feel your bones on my bones!” The heart stopping “A Dustland Fairytale”
and “Read My Mind” raised every hand and moved every soul. There was little room for rest on either the band or the crowd’s part, only slowing for a slow version of “Joy Ride” and the ever-so-melancholy “Smile Like You Mean It”.
Mid show, the band invited their opening band, Chairlift (known for their song “Bruises” as heard on iPod commercials), to share the stage and perform a cover of The Church’s “Under the Milky Way”.
Not once did I hear a silent crowd. There were constantly people chanting and reciting Flowers’ lyrics. “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” from Hot Fuss’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” surely echoed through the streets of Tampa. Even the lesser known, yet no less epic, “BLING! Confessions of a King” from there sophomore album, Sam’s Town and “Losing Touch” from their recent Day & Age had people bobbing and singing along.
If you had been oblivious to the rich and powerful vibe that The Killers were flooding out to their audience, it was clear when the band had left the stage toward the end of their performance. Balcony structures became weak, and the dome erupted with noise to encourage the band that we needed more! After sometime, The Killers finished the night off right with “When You Were Young” and even played the original version of their song “Sam’s Town” with the echoing chant of “I see London, I see Sam’s Town. Holds my hand and let’s my hair down”.
And all too soon it was over.
The thing about this band is that…well…they never disappoint. Their stage is filled with props such as palm trees that remind them of their home in Las Vegas. They have a brilliant light show behind them, showing clips of their music videos and graphics that dance along to their songs. Brandon Flowers always makes the show seem personal, even declaring a “need for a connection” with the audience, where he reaches out to touch your hand. He looks out into the audience, as if to absorb it all, and smiles at you with reassurance. They make you feel as if there is nothing in the world at that time but you and the music.
This band is also for EVERYONE to enjoy. I walked into the show seeing young teens wearing all of their Killers gear only to be standing next to middle aged women also sharing a spot in front of a giant lit-up “K” in the very front row. I stood next to a couple in their sixties who were wearing “Victims” shirts, identifying themselves as members of the band’s fan club. Mothers and fathers brought their small kids. The Killers are also known all over the world. Having been signed first in the United Kingdom, the band has a very large fan base in Europe. Now they tour in Mexico and South America before heading to South Africa. I have no doubt that the fans about to witness this show will be just as amazed as I was. If I were to ever describe something as a religious experience, the feeling I shared with all of those people that night may just be it.
So though I have seen the band perform four times now, on two different tours, there was no denying some kind of magic in Tampa that night. No matter how much I may try to shake the need to see The Killers just one more time, you will be sure to find me jumping, sweating, singing, and swooning in that audience. I just can’t help myself.