It takes a genuine rockstar and Las Vegas native to compare your live show to Evel Knievel. Most cases of performing arts juxtaposed to the greatest stuntman of all time would be met with jeer-filled annoyance. The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers however, was not far-fetched to introduce his band to Boston’s TD Garden by saying “Evel Knievel once said that people come to witness the attempt, not the perfect landing.” After constructing generation-defining anthems for decades, The Killers were merely trying their best to appease their faithful followers with an “attempt.” Needless to say, that humility paired with a stadium-worthy performance provided purgative closure for the fans of one of pop-rock’s greatest post-millennium icons.
First up was Alex Cameron, a baritone Australian cut-up whose status as The Killers’ opening act was an honest surprise. It’s very natural to hope for success when a nameless opener takes a stab at their big break, but Cameron and his 4 supporting members seemed out of place from the start. Their lack of crowd work was an obvious result of their lack of stadium experience, but their true shortcoming lied in their deplorable sound engineering. Frequent instances of shrieking microphone feedback and a drum that deafened Cameron’s voice made it impossible to distinguish each track’s redeeming characteristics. The band’s only moments of atonement came out of sporadic saxophone solos, which reverted the crowd’s pity claps to a legitimate and short-lived cheer. A friend defined the set nicely when he responded to my saying “This guy is struggling” with the line “What guy? All I hear is drums.”
Interestingly enough, it took a few songs to get The Killers set off the ground. Their glamorous and flashy production was anticipated and impressive, but their devoted attachment to promoting their new album Wonderful, Wonderful was taken a few tracks too far. The even split of brand new songs to formative songs of seminal necessity was at times frustrating, but time healed the wounds of any new-age promotional saltiness. Perhaps their most impressive performance came just after the typical local venue “Why we love Boston” brown-nosing, as they masterfully and tastefully covered Boston natives The Cars and their classic “Just What I Needed.” The remaining set felt much more connective, as Flowers was unafraid to share sincere stories of innocence to a crowd that felt the fervor in his authentic veracity. Flowers’ legacy as a true Las Vegas performer was put on full display with the outset of the encore, as he returned to the stage having changed from an all-black outfit to a suit of glimmering gold sequences. The crowd was transformed into a sea of excited smirks and raised arms as the Killers began their encore by singing a curiously impressive version of their gritty and clerical 2017 ballad “The Caller.” Finally, The Killers expectedly wrapped up their set with the formative and universally recognizable tracks “When You Were Young” and “Mr. Brightside.” To say these closing tracks were cathartic is nothing short of an understatement, as Brandon Flowers voice was nearly drowned out by fans screaming the lyrics alongside him. Check out the playlist below to listen to The Killers setlist in the same order that it was played at the Garden.
Favorite Live Tracks: Just What I Needed (The Cars cover), Mr. Brightside, When You Were Young, All These Things That I’ve Done, Human, The Calling