17:58 Friday 23 November 2012

Killer concert despite Brandon's troubles


The Killers - London O2 Arena

THE days leading up to my first venture to the imposing 02 Arena were largely spent crossing my fingers that Brandon Flowers’ throat was OK.

The Killers
The Killers

My heart sank when I heard that the Killers frontman had been forced to walk off stage during last week’s gig in Manchester after losing his voice and the subsequent night’s gig being postponed didn’t fill me with confidence.

However, the sold-out arena in London on Saturday night witnessed a frontman not just trying to get through the last show of a UK tour, but a frontman right at the top of his game.

After impressive support act Tegan and Sara warmed the crowd up, Flowers and co exploded on to the stage with their once-ina- generation anthem Mr Brightside.

Here lies my only gripe of the night — opening with your signature song is never a good idea in my view and even though The Killers are by no means a one track band I couldn’t shake some slight disappointment.

The best thing though about this current tour is that it is on the back of a terrific new album in Battle Born.

So unlike the previous time I saw the band after the release of the false step that was third album Day and Age when the set dragged due to need to promote new material, almost every new song played on this tour had its merits.

Lead single from the album, the colossal Runaways, is right up with the band’s best work and live was belted out epically by Flowers who certainly showed few signs of a sore throat.

Other album tracks such as anthemic new single Miss Atomic Bomb, From Here On Out and The Way It Was were great, although power ballad Here With Me is a little cheesy for my taste.

As patchy as Day and Age was it did give the world the belting Human and the underrated Dustland Fairytale and both were highlights live, while a stripped down cover of U2’s With Or Without You was an unexpected treat.

The band’s second album Sam’s Town is for me their most consistent and When You Were Young, Read My Mind, Bling and For Reasons Unknown were all thrilling.

The three-song encore began with the brilliant bass-driven Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine from debut Hot Fuss, before a mass sing-a-long of All These Things I’ve Done would have provided a fitting finale.

The final song though was the new album’s title track Battle Born, which although great on record, did have an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show feel’ to it after what had gone before.

As the song played out Flowers introduced his bandmates to euphoric cheers from the adoring public and I just has a sneaky suspicion a final repeat blast of Mr Brightside could be on its way but it wasn’t to be.

"We got through it,” a relieved Flowers exclaimed to the crowd in the final moments. In truth he had done much, much more.

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