They may be known for their indie pop anthems that fill the dingy, underground indie clubs that time forgot but their recent album Wonderful, Wonderful revitalised a band that the music industry was ready to label as ‘the has been’. The energy from the album has clearly been kinetic as their sold out Manchester Arena date brought a glitzy, vibrant and scintillating performance as well as it being channelled through Brandon Flowers outfit choice.
Walking into Manchester Arena as the band head to the stage, you would think you have arrived at a ‘meninist’ convention with the stage donning a large mars symbol and a fluorescent cowboy figure, an ideology quickly opposed as Flowers strolls on stage with his flamboyant poses and masculinity camouflaged. The setlist was stereotypical of a band who seemed to be ready to go their separate ways after Flowers’ recent stint at solo work and members leaving and returning the band. As expected, they open with two tracks from the new album: ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’ and ‘The Man’. A brief “hello Manchester”, which seems to be on the checklist for any band visiting the local area, and they kick into ‘Somebody Told Me’ which was clear affirmation that having toured this song for over 10 years, the band who remain haven’t lost the flare and dynamics of what can simply be described as the song of the decade.
Flowers appears to be frozen in time, no sign of ageing or loss of energy as his showy persona gives the audience a taste of Vegas. Pacing between upbeat indie pop and mellow synth sounds, The Killers brought out their Best Of’s to the masses but it’s a shame to see little engagement with the new album on this tour despite it being so critically acclaimed, an unlikely thing for a fifth album. Flowers took time to thank the great bands of Manchester who inspired him to create music before thanking the crowd for coming out to see them after the recent terrorist attack that took place at the arena. As anticipated, they play all their top hits, cramming in every song that would at least try and get the immobile crowd moving.
As the band leave the stage to stock up on berroccas, snickers and other snacks that will get them through the lengthy setlist, the arena is quiet, with a little murmur from fans asking, “When will they play Mr Brightside?” as though they paid the costly £60 just to hear that song. Strutting back on stage sporting a full golden glittery suit, Flowers stood on stage with the confident pose that signalled that the band hadn’t quite finished yet. If The Killers tracks were placed in a hierarchy, the encore brought the top of the hierarchy, as they powered through ‘Believe Me Natalie’ and ‘When You Were Young’ before ending on the song that everybody has heard whether it be a terrible karaoke rendition or whilst on holiday back in 2005, ‘Mr Brightside’.
Bringing back their hits to the home of great music proved one important thing to the band, no matter how much diverse, changing music you put out, people will still pay nonsensical prices to hear the one song you’re most associated with, whether that be a blessing or a curse.
Words by Brigid Harrison-Draper