- 27 Jun 18
Apart from an inspired cover of The Waterboys' 'Whole of the Moon', it was all Killers no filler at the RDS this evening...
Going to see The Killers is like a lesson in reliving your youth. You're half way through singing along to 'Read My Mind' before you remember that you first heard that song in your early teens, and now you're a lot older. Brandon Flowers, meanwhile - as he takes to the stage in front of a packed crowd at Royal Dublin's finest - has barely aged at all since he and his fellow Nevada desertmen first landed on the scene back in the early '00s. It might be some kind of Dorian Gray shit, or it might be that Hot Press has been a Killers fan for too fucking long, but either way, this band have amassed a formidable amount of hits and the night is ripe for a good one.
Brandon and his merry band of musicians begin the set with a torrent of confetti and 'The Man', from the band's latest album Wonderful Wonderful. As a pop song, it's tongue-in-cheek-machismo undertones are perhaps overshadowed by its power hooks, but none of this stops it from being an energetic opener. (The more earnest track about male bravado and its peaks and troughs comes several songs later with 'Tyson vs. Douglas', probably the best song of their fifth album).
'The Man' gives way to 'Somebody Told Me', then, a song that probably prompted most of the people in the crowd to take an interest in The Killers to begin with. As we all sing along, line by line, it's clear that the band members themselves are merely vassals for the hits they've created. Mr. Flowers has barely uttered a lyric before everyone else is ecstatically throwing one back at him. This, it should be noted, is why they work well as a stadium band and why a lot of these hits would be lost anywhere else.
The band's crowd engagement is mainly toothy smiles and open-armed embraces. "If we're The Killers, then you're the victims!" Brandon says at one point, before turning to his band: "And these nine motherfuckers on stage, THEY'RE the ones that did it!" Cheers follow, and it leads them nicely into 'Shot At The Night', a track which, it should be noted, has never been played before in Ireland.
An inspired moment comes a few tracks later, when the band call on a man in the crowd - with a sign - to take over from Ronnie Vanucci Jr on the drums. This is no easy feat. Ronnie is a cold, calculated, rhythmic son of a bitch who gives a dirty-edge contrast to Brandon Flowers' Listerine grin. Despite the challenge, the random Irish man launches into 'For Reasons Unknown' and does it all kinds of justice. Whether it was staged or not, props must be given to him. We're all certainly entertained.
Following this, the band pay tribute to an "adopted Dubliner", aka Mike Scott, with a rendition of 'The Whole of the Moon' that every Waterboy would surely be proud of. As a cover song, it's a gem.
After this, the aforementioned 'Tyson vs. Douglas'. Then, The Killers sweep the slate and decide to not relent on pumping out hit after hit. 'Runaway' leads to 'Read My Mind', leads to 'All These Things That I've Done', leads to 'When You Were Young'. The only thing that breaks up this train of bangers is Brandon reflecting on how envious he still of U2 and how they took the Joshua Tree and turned it into an icon that everyone would forever associate with them. No matter though. The Killers have made their own iconic claim on modern day music. They owe a debt to U2, but they've forged a path that's unique in its own way...
To the encore, then, which we eagerly wait for as the lights team flood green white and orange onto the empty stage. The band arrive back on the scene and signal the end of the night with 'The Calling', a Christian rock song wrapped in a conventional rock song that has you bopping along whether your Jesusly inclined or not.
It's nothing compared to the trio of tracks which finish the night though. Cajoling the crowd into a frenzy with the "Ach come on"'s of 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine', The Killers go on to get a bit synthy and euphoric with Day & Age/late '00s hit 'Human'.
The moment that we've all waited for arrives shortly after this. 'Mr Brightside' begins without its signature guitar riff, allowing the audience to sing the first verse to themselves and register with each other that they all know the words. Brandon Flowers nods his approval at the crowd, sings a few of the lines himself, and gives the nod to Ted Sablay - who lets loose with one of the most recognisable riffs of the still young century. 'Mr Brightside' rings out into the night and even the predictability of this ending seems overshadowing by the sheer glory of it all. I want to ask the guy beside me if that was an obvious way to end things but he's already on top of his mate's shoulders with his shirt swinging from his left arm. There's my answer. And we all leave satisfied.