- 21 Nov 17
It is a surreal take on Nevada’s deserts that serves as the setting for the Killers performance at Dublin’s 3Arena, their first in the Republic since 2013.
With a vast triangle hanging overhead that initially displays a cracked marble surface, to the right of the stage is a white water tank with the word ‘DUBLIN’ daubed on the surface in black. At the front of the stage is an illuminated Mars symbol, while three Venus symbols lurk in the background where the group's back-up singers perform.
Entering to the ambient drone of a synthesizer and clanging atonal Sonic Youth-like guitars that lends the feeling of being in a haunting Western, the band start up with the throbbing title track from their sixth album, ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’. Stalking about the stage, and doing a fine Gothic impression of Elvis on a series of steps that are blindingly lit, he delivers the chorus with a violent howl that fills the venue. It is a strong first impression quickly contrasted as they follow this up with ‘The Man’, the new album’s lead single.
Oozing in sleaze, with pink and yellow lights, neon cowboys projected against the backdrop and a gyrating Brandon doing his best to be the Macho Man, the display is almost pornographic in the overall delivery. They are going full-on Vegas excess and playing off a twisted show-band feel as they all chant in unison, with eerie glee “We’re the Killers, brought to you by way of fab-u-lous Las Vegas”.
On this note, a mini earthquake is triggered as they launch into ‘Somebody Told Me’, which sets the room into fits of joy, mired only slightly by the fact that Flowers voice and Ronnie Vanucci’s thunderous drums overpower everyone else.
For a brief while afterwards, there is a complacent lull, as the group lean heavily on tracks from Wonderful, Wonderful, which still does make for some spectacular disco visuals and has Flowers at his most energetic. However, what is something of a pleasant monotony is fortunately righted as the stage is dimmed and everyone begins hooting like owls as they perform their cover of Joy Division's 'Shadowplay'. Certainly a noisier affair than the original with certain areas deliberately being played out of tune, this is the fantastic anomaly in the set that reinvigorates them as they make the 3Arena an uplifting zone of euphoria with the hit, 'Human'.
One of the unlikely highlights came in the latter half of the show, as Flowers responded to one fan's request to play piano on 'A Dustland Fairytale'. Insisting that the situation was not staged, there was nevertheless, a moment of anxiety as the gimmick of letting a random person up to play on such a beloved track wore off made way for the reality of this being potentially horrendous, which thankfully, for the sake of Seanie's street cred proved to be a lucky gamble.
Following this up with a cover of Dire Straits' 'Romeo and Juliet' and a soothing 'Read My Mind', the main set closes, giving Flowers a few minutes to hop into his golden lame Elvis outfit for give 'Andy, You're a Star' suitable pomposity. It all accelerates from this point on, as the earthquake of frenzied fans make the 3Arena quiver to the tune of 'When You Were Young' and 'Mr. Brightside', the climactic musical note is a veritable highpoint.
Bizarrely though, once all is said and done, Ronnie remains onstage, vacantly staring for a few moments after everyone else has departed. Mumbling a short, "That's it", it is a beautiful anti-climactic sign off to an otherwise monstrous show.