The Killers rock Connecticut
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By Jocelyn Cote
Last fall, Las Vegas rock band The Killers announced they would be going on an 18-month hiatus. However, as 2014 music festival lineups began to pop up, it was apparent that the band had a bit of smoke and mirrors going on. This summer takes them to a handful of festivals in the US, Canada, and UK.
Before their performance at last week’s Hangout Festival in Alabama, The Killers lined up a couple of warm-up shows, the first of which was held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT on May 14th.
With multiple entrances scattered throughout the casino, Mohegan Sun was full of chattering “victims” awaiting door time. The show was nearly sold out, which was quite impressive considering there was little to no fanfare about the warm-up performances on the band’s part. The floor and arena seating filled up as the opening band Joywave took the stage.
Hailing from New York, Joywave delivered a 30 minute set of entertaining but ultimately forgettable indie pop. Their sound was not unlike bands such as Capital Cities and Bastille, whose singles have been climbing the top 40 charts lately. The whole band seemed nervous at points, which is completely justified, considering the prevalence of the group they were opening for and the fact that they were offered the gig only 48 hours beforehand.
After a bothersome hour-long wait following Joywave, The Killers finally took the stage. Their stage setup was vastly different from their last show in Boston in 2012 – lasers, pyrotechnics and video screens were swapped for colored stage lights and a simple backdrop featuring the album art for their recent greatest hits album, Direct Hits. Despite the fact that they were still playing an arena, the show felt a bit more intimate than usual.
Lead singer Brandon Flowers leapt across the stage in his usual boisterous fashion as the band opened with “Spaceman” to roaring applause. Like their backdrop suggested, this night would be a night for the hits. The band followed with singles “Somebody Told Me,” “The Way it Was,” and “Smile Like You Mean It.”
“Welcome to operation Killers hiatus part two!” Flowers joked to the crowd.
The night wasn’t all radio songs, however. Flowers and co. were sure to treat ravenous fans to some deeper cuts, including “Bling (Confession of a King),” “For Reasons Unknown,” and surprise covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” and The Psychedelic Furs’ “Heartbreak Beat.”
Rounding out the main set with “Read My Mind,” “Runaways,” and classing singalong “All These Things That I’ve Done,” Flowers, along with guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer, and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. played their hearts out with exuberant energy.
After a short encore break, the band returned with a rendition of the new single “Shot at the Night,” which translated to a live setting beautifully. The rarely-played tune “A Matter of Time” off of 2012’s Battle Born followed, along with one of the group’s best-loved songs, “When You Were Young.”
With one more song to go, the house lights flicked on an Keuning’s signature opening riff of the band’s 2004 debut single “Mr. Brightside” echoed through the arena, sending everyone into a frenzy. Flowers barked the lyrics to the crowd with a smile, which they were happy to bark right back. After gathering together for a group bow, the band left the stage for the final time.
Although the set seemed a bit on the short side, clocking in at only 80 minutes or so, The Killers delivered yet another rousing performance to the New England area. The energy from both the band and the crowd made the night a memory to be treasured by all who were in attendance.