The Killers at Phoenix Park – Review

The Killers Belfast Review

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the-killersThe Killers played Phoenix Park on Saturday, July 13th, with support from Haim, Two Door Cinema Club and Frank Ocean.

The boys took to the stage in the cooling twilight of a stunning summer’s evening to lights and smoke and ‘The Boys are back in Town’.

As lights swept the crowd, the band kicked the night off to a great start with ‘Somebody Told Me’. The whole crowd surged forwards, jumping with hands in the air and helping (lead singer) Brandon Flowers through the chorus. Fast and loud, this track was just the beginning of the party and set a high bar for the rest of the set to follow!

They followed this up with the wild opening notes of ‘Spaceman’ before it pulled back to just the drums and vocals. As a swirling galaxy tumbled on the back screen of the stage the sound was exactly as you hear it on the album, only all the better for the fact you were right there in the presence of the band. Flowers stripped of his jacket to uproarious applause during the musical interval and the crowd filled the rest of the song with plenty of stomping and finger-pointing.

Brandon called on the audience to count them in for ‘The Way It Was’ a slower, mellower tune that wafted over the audience like the smell of the fast food or the scattering of plastic cups on the grass. The echoed vocals at one stage were particularly striking and the audience were carried on the sound as it swelled to breaking point with fans shouting back the lyrics and waving their arms.

When the opening strains of ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ began to play the crowd went mental and when they sang the title lyrics the crowd absolutely exploded, singing along right until the end of the song. After a killer guitar solo, the instrumental line was limited to just the guitar so the audience could be heard, word perfect and completely in unison. Strobe lights flashed with the final drumbeats for an epic finish.

Flowers then sat quietly down at the keyboards, amid enthusiastic cheers from the audience, before performing a shortened piano-only version of ‘Human’. Being in the audience for this was totally overwhelming as the perfect pitch and unison of the sound swelled out from hundreds of voices spread out over the huge grass area.

This cut off to dive straight into ‘Bling (Confessions of a King)’. The guitar on this track really got right inside of you and there wasn’t a pair of hands in sight that weren’t clapping along as the stage was streaked with red and gold beams. With scarcely a pause the proceeded into smoke and siren-like guitar and a laser show that formed a roof of green light over the band. As the synth-y sounds of the keyboards and the guitar built towards the climax of ‘Shadowplay’, the stage was transformed with pink and white laser beams. The song went to a silent blackout but then built back in even stronger than before with everyone jumping to the rhythm as more lasers swept the audience.

‘Miss Atomic Bomb’ saw the stage transformed into a red ecplosion or lava flow with the background and lightshow making everything glow red. The opening percussion ticked gently with the organ playing before Flowers’ vocals joined the fray. When the peals of the guitar blended in the sound, and the stage, exploded! Sparks and smoke shot up at the back of the stage and the red glow intensified while red lasers twirled and white strobes throbbed in time with the rapid drums. Right before the end, the music calmed and quietened-the dust settling after the explosion-before the chorus kicked back in for a wild aftershock!

The band then kicked off the full-on version of ‘Human’ to outrageous screams before the crowd joined in with the singing once more. When the music hit a high point after the chorus the answer to the songs questions of human or dancer was certainly the latter as everyone went crazy jumping and kicking and throwing their hands up! There was a backdrop of beating lovehearts as the crowd once again took over the lyrics for the penultimate chorus, still dancing to keep warm in the rapidly cooling evening air.

They then gave a short intro to a song that ‘Girls Aloud stole from Tiffany and Tiffany stole from Tommy James and the Shondells’ before announcing that they were stealing it back tonight and kicking off a fantastic cover of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’. They did it very much in their own style without straying too far from the way people know it. High points were the harmonising towards the end and the drums playing a heartbeat for the lyrics the beating of our hearts is the only sound.

From the ensuing blackout, red lights slowly illuminated the stage as the cymbals and guitar swelled steadily. Suddenly, two flashes of guitar with two shouts of the guitar cut in abruptly, followed by the base line kicking in. Again bam!-bam! and one final time before the song revealed itself as ‘For Reasons Unknown’. The chorus was a shot of adrenaline straight into the audience. A quiet moment in the song was filled with a roar from the crowd and followed with the audience shouting back lyrics to the band as enormous floodlights illuminated us during our sections, finishing in a final rousing chorus!

Thing took a change of tone at this stage. The drummer was illuminated in a single spotlight and carried a beat on as Brandon asked us if we had our dancing shoes. He appointed himself sheriff and assured us we had his authorisation to dance. He turned to ask the band members if they had their dancing shoes too and they responded with ferocious solos that got the crowd all riled up and ready to dance! They then played ‘From Here On Out’ while the audience obligingly shook it and twisted and jumped their absolute hearts out. The lyrics sounded, at times, had a slight southern lilt to them and there was another sing it back section to keep the audience involved!

They took it down again for a quiet moment of piano playing before the lyrics of ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ and the rest of the musical accompaniment joined in. The slightly melancholy opening shortly transformed, moving towards a build up. There was a hushed pause, then the chorus burst into full blast, the vocals striking out and hitting right to the heart of the audience.

After a short excerpt of ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’,  with the lights up on the audience singing along once again, ‘Read My Mind’s opening strains had the audience jumping and clapping in unison. The clapping hands in the air were silhouetted in the dark by the bright light of the stage. The handful of high notes in the song were striking and perfectly spot on.

‘Runaways’ featured some of the most powerful lyrics of the eveing and was one of the most passionate moments of the set with the band really lighting up during the performance. They then made a dedication to Jeff, the man who had the faith to help them record their first album Hot Fuss back in 2003. He was in the audience after not having seen them in eight years so for him they played ‘All these things that I’ve done’. This was another track that got a phenomenal reaction from the crowd, shouting and dancing before clapping along and singing along to the ‘I got soul but I’m not a soldier’ section (something fans staggered home singing when the concert was over!).  The band then took over from the audience with even more energy but the whole song had the crowd on a high!

The Killers then left the stage, leaving us with nothing but a big-screen view of the moon, but not one audience member moved-knowing the best was yet to come! Suddenly, bass was heard from within the mist onstage and the lights came back up to the roar of the crowd for ‘Jenny was a friend of mine’. Flashing strobes accompanied the iconic opening guitar riff and whipped the crowd into a frenzy!

If it was possibly, ‘When you were young’ got an even more incredible and intense reaction. Crowd views showed the audience going completely nuts, up on shoulders or crammed against the front railings. It seemed to go from euphoric to whatever the notch above that is with the chorus overwhelming the crowd. A wall of sparks onstage and fireworks signalled the end of the song.

The finale was, but of course, the well known favourite: ‘Mr Brightside’. There are no wrods that can describe the energy, the atmosphere, the intensity or the euphoria of the crowd experience during this song. It was impossible not to sing along, to dance along, to head bang. It was a positively possessing experience and when the fireworks went off at the end of the song you were left with the adrenaline still fizzing  through your veins.

A more fittingly epic end to an afternoon/evening of great music there could not be. The Killers, excuse the pun, killed it. They have the same quality and intensity live as they do at top volume on recording and even more energy and charisma! One of the top gigs of the year for those who love rock music.

Review by Kat Clinch

Setlist

  1. Somebody Told Me
  2. Spaceman
  3. The Way It Was
  4. Smile Like You Mean It
  5. Bling (Confession of a King)
  6. Shadowplay
  7. Miss Atomic Bomb
  8. Human
  9. I Think We’re Alone Now
  10. For Reasons Unknown
  11. From Here On Out
  12. A Dustland Fairytale
  13. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  14. Read My Mind
  15. Runaways
  16. All These Things That I’ve Done
Encore
  1. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  2. When You Were Young
  3. Mr. Brightside

 

Lucy Ivan

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