Concert Reviews

Last Night: The Killers at Nokia Theatre

The Killers
Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Better than: That Southwest Airlines "Wanna get away?" commercial where the rapper yells "Thank you, Detroit!" and his hypeman leans in and whispers, "Detroit was last night..."

After The Killers opened its set at the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday night with high-energy takes on two songs off its newest release ("Spaceman" and "Losing Touch"), lead singer Brandon Flowers, who started the night off decked out in his now-famous feather-shouldered jacket, turned to the crowd excitedly:

"I've got a feeling about tonight," the singer said with a well-practiced coy. "I mean it."

Retrospectively, you have to wonder what that feeling was--'cause about an hour later, Flowers made a gaffe of proportions nearly as epic as the songs he tries to write.

After bringing the recently released Day & Age's lead single, "Human", to a close--a performance that had the crowd emphatically singing along with Flowers--the frontman sat down behind his piano and scanned the audience appreciatively.

And then he opened his mouth, as he's been known to do.

"I forgot how good the voices were on the people in Grand Rapids...uh, Grand Pra ... FUCK!!!... uh... the Dallas area... !"

Yeesh. The sold out theatre's reaction was a mix of laughter, confusion and outright boos. 

The singer hung his head in shame, then tried to laugh it off: "Now you know why I don't talk much between songs..."

Not wanting to dwell on the moment, Flowers immediately played the opening piano notes to a mixed album- and Live From Abbey Road-arrangement of its song "Sam's Town". When the crowd offered a modest applause, Flowers again glanced up at his audience: "Will you forgive me?" he asked. The crowd cheered a little louder this time. 

It's a good thing Flowers is capable of being quite the engaging performer. And an even better thing for him that this night's audience was willing to forgive and forget.

For the final 20 minutes of the band's Day & Age-heavy set (plus its subsequent 15-minute encore), Flowers sold each note and every fist pump he offered. 

To be fair, the hour before the gaffe wasn't too bad either. Guitarist Dave Keuning was surprisingly charismatic, bassist Mark Stoermer proved more than capable, and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr., thrashed his kit like it'd made fun of his mother. And, all show long, the crowd roared its appreciation--but especially so after the sprinkles of Hot Fuss and Sam's Town hits thrown in amongst the more flamboyant Day & Age tracks.

Minus Flowers' mistake, it was a hell of a show--which is to say, even regardless of the error, it was an upbeat, entertaining romp filled with resounding crowd participation and, true to Killers form, plenty of bombast (thanks in part to the large LED screen behind the band, the palm trees that decorated the stage, the pyro that shot down from the ceiling during set-closer "When You Were Young").

And when the night finally did come to an end, Flowers thrust both hands skyward, brought them down to his face and blew a kiss to the roaring audience.

Brain fart or not, the feeling was mutual.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I can't help it; I really enjoy The Killers quite a bit--to the point where I've found myself defending the band against people who find its music derivative and its braggadaccio aggravating. In fact, I think those are two of the main reasons I enjoy the Killers as much as I do: Its music is easily enjoyed, it's that simple. But even though I do like listening to Day & Age every now and then, I haven't yet been as captivated by it as I was when I first heard Hot Fuss and Sam's Town. Meanwhile, let's not even talk about how lackluster Sawdust was (even if it was just a B-sides release).

Random Note: The traffic in and around the Nokia Theatre before, during and after a sold-out show is pretty infuriating. What's normally a half-hour drive to the venue from my place ended up taking an hour and a half on this night. Just sayin'.

By The Way: I think it's worth pointing out for coincident's sake that Southwest Airlines is based in Dallas.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman