The Killers at Tennent’s Vital, Belfast – Review
So, you think you know The Killers? “Human”? “Mr. Brightside”? “Somebody Told Me”? Yep, that’s them. They’re from Las Vegas, Nevada. They’ve had a couple of albums you might know “Hot Fuss” or “Sam’s Town” ring any bells? Well tonight, they showed up in Belfast to party with the paddies for the final gig of their “Direct Hits/Hiatus” Tour.
Arriving on stage in reverse order, the drummer Ronnie Vanucci hammers out nuclear noise on his kit, followed closely by reverbing bass guitarist Mark Stoermer who pumps up the volume with Dave Keuning on lead. The atmosphere thunders out into an extended intro for “Somebody Told Me” before front man Brandon Flowers emerges from plumes of white smoke in a pink sparkly glittering jacket. Shinier than the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmo, Flowers is regal and resplendent in true Last Vegas glitz.
Lashing straight into it, “Somebody Told Me” and “Spaceman” are belted out to a roaring reception. Fresh from the 2013 “Battle Born” album, “The Way It Was” works its charm next. Though probably not well known to many, the song has an all encompassing crescendo as its centrepiece. Flowers gifts it to his fans with every breath in his body, swelling the sky with raw emotion as the extended and repeated “Darling” fills the air. Taking us back to “Sam’s Town” from 2006, “Bling (Confessions Of A King)” runs seamlessly into another newbie “Miss Atomic Bomb”. The Vegas lights of pink and green neon illuminate this tale of love and regret as Flowers assures us “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.” Think he might have a point there.
The ever popular “Human” racks it up again, Brando giving us all a bit of “Day And Age” before “Battle Born” baby “Shot At The Night” thrills the worshippers. An epic homage to The Undertones “Teenage Kicks” is offered up, along with Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”. Yeah, this sure is a party with the paddies. The country and western twanged “From Here On Out” proves a surprising success with the kids. It’s all gone Dolly for this upbeat little ditty.
The tragic tale of lost love Americana come next as Flowers croons the soft and gentle lead into “Dustland Fairytale”. Cinderella’s in her party dress, destined for death as she battles with the devil ‘cos she’s a good girl. “Now Cinderella don’t you go to sleep, it’s such a bitter form of refuge / Why don’t you know the kingdom’s under siege and everybody needs you”. Written about Flowers’s parents, it’s laced with a cocktail of thumping drums, powerful sentiment and enduring melody.
Back to Sam’s Town now, as “Read My Mind” blasts out the Boucher Road. High vis crowd control are dancing, food sellers are jumping about to the chorus that’s full of spine soaking magic, teenage queens and a big trapeze. The anthem “All These Things That I’ve Done”, with its global “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” goes on forever as the crowd refuse to let go. Stoermer is lashing it out, with his killer bass line that could lasso a cowboy. Keuning is cool as cold beer as he rips through it. They exit the stage, leaving their fans thirsting for more.
Minutes later an oldie from “Day And Age” opens the encore. “This Is Your Life” arms in the air as “Candy talks to strangers” and “The sky is full of dreams/but you don’t know how to fly” is sung in unison throughout the field. “When You Were Young” comes alive with guitars from Dave and Mark practically spitting sparks at each other. “Sing me a lullaby” is belted out by Flowers, timed to hit with a hot shot pyro fireworks display that drives the crowd wild. Our old companion “Mr. Brightside” brings back the “Hot Fuss” joy. Memories of guy liner Brandon blend seamlessly into the pink sparkly jacket strutting about the stage a decade on. These guys know how to party. They’ve picked Belfast as their final destination. They love it apparently. It’s the whiskey, the beer, the scenery and the people. Very rock and roll. Welcome to fabulous Belfast!
Review by Ciara Sheahan
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