Show Review: The Killers at Ball Arena
“This is a super spreader event!”
“We’re spreading love, we’re spreading peace, and we’re spreading rock ‘n’ roll!” Brandon Flowers’ opening words at the Killers’ concert at Ball Arena on Wednesday, August 31st were met with roaring cheers and applause.
Johnny Marr, formerly of the Smiths, opened the show for the Killers. From the playful guitar work of “Panic” to finishing his set with the iconic guitar riff of “How Soon Is Now?,” Marrs was the perfect opener for the Killers. I like to think that having Marrs join the band on tour was Flowers’s way of educating those who were not familiar with the epicness that was the Smiths and “Johnny Effing Marr.”
The Killers took the stage just after 9:00 pm starting slowly but powerfully, opening with “My Own Soul’s Warning,” from their sixth album, “Imploding the Mirage.” As the song built along with the audience’s excitement, confetti cannons burst over the crowd bringing anyone not already standing to their feet. The Las Vegas band then segued into “Enterlude” welcoming fans with the lyrics, “We hope you enjoy your stay; it’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day.” It felt like that set the tone for the night and invited everyone in the arena to forget their troubles for a while and experience the magic that is live music shared with thousands of like-minded people. From that point on, the Killers played through many of their big hits like “When You Were Young,” “Jenny Was a Friend Of Mine,” and “Smile Like You Mean It.” “Human” started with a synth intro that segued into the iconic guitar riff that had the crowd singing along with Flowers, something he encouraged with several of the songs. Everything he did welcomed the crowd to be a part of the performance, and they embraced it.
During “Runaway Horses,” a slower and poetically lyrical ballad, attendees held up their phones with flashlights on and created a sea of white lights that mimicked fireflies and complimented the lyrics beautifully. The band then moved into “A Dustland Fairytale,” and performed a cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” before bringing everyone back up with “Runaways” and “Read My Mind.” Flowers' was pure energy on stage, rarely in one place long, moving from one side to the other, running up and down parts of the stage, engaging everyone in attendance. His enthusiasm was infectious, between playing several instruments himself, interacting with his bandmates, and providing his trademark lyrics and voice to create an epic show. After a non-stop train of 18 amazing songs, the band launched into what is arguably the most anticipated one. When the opening notes of the anthemic “All These Things I’ve Done” started, the entire arena erupted with overwhelming enthusiasm that had to have been felt for at least several blocks if not further. The power of thousands of people jumping, dancing, and passionately chanting, “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” combined with the epic lighting effects and confetti cannons is something that can’t be described with mere words, but needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
While that would have been a perfect ending on its own, I am happy to report that it wasn’t. After exiting the stage, the band came back to perform “The Man,” and that was followed by Johnny Marr rejoining the stage to play “This Charming Man” with the Killers. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I greatly appreciated those songs being performed back to back. The final song was their best-selling single, “Mr. Brightside” from their debut album, “Hot Fuss.” It began with the Jacques Lu Cont remix and moved into the version that everyone knows and loves. Once again Johnny Marr joined in and the crowd went crazy. The energy in Ball Arena at that point could have powered the building if there had been a way to harness it. After more than two hours of music and 22 songs, the audience was still cheering for more, and I think that is a great tribute to the experience that the Killers gave everyone in attendance.
Photo Credit: Rob Loud