The Killers bring ‘Battle Born’ to Boston

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By Jocelyn Cote
Reviews Editor

On Monday night, a freezing rain storm hit the city of Boston, but this didn’t stop a flock of devoted fans of Las Vegas rockers The Killers from braving the elements to see one of America’s most celebrated bands of the 21st century. The concert was held at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, an almost intimate venue for the band. The 7,000 capacity arena was rumored to have sold out in two minutes when tickets went on sale this past September.

Last week, The Killers had to indefinitely postpone three shows, including their gig at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, because of lead singer Brandon Flowers coming down with a bad case of laryngitis. Fans were abuzz all weekend, wondering if Boston would also be put on hold. Flowers was able to recover in time for the show to go on, and the result was nothing less than triumphant.

Teagan and Sara

Opening for the band was the twin sister duo of Tegan and Sara. Hailing from Alberta, Canada, the pair was joined onstage by a full backing band and played a nine song set from across their discography. While the arena was still fairly empty while they were onstage, it was obvious those present quite enjoyed their 45 minute set.

After crews set the stage, the house lights went pitch black and The Killers took the stage to an eerie red glow, opening with the heavy “A Matter of Time,” off of their newest album Battle Born. Flowers’ voice was a bit shaky for the first few songs, but soon he was crooning in his signature falsetto, making the audience go wild. If I hadn’t known about the bout of laryngitis ahead of time, I would have had no idea about his illness listening to him sing.

The band’s main set consisted of a nice blend of songs from their entire discography. While tracks from Battle Born naturally made up a decent chunk of the setlist, they were buffered by both popular singles and fan-favorite album tracks from years past. Audience members went especially wild for radio staples such as “Human” and “Somebody Told Me” that turned the whole stadium into a dancefloor. Some personal highlights included the jarring Sam’s Town track “Bling (Confession of a King)” and latest single “Miss Atomic Bomb,” complete with flashy pyrotechnics akin to the title.

The lighting in particular was certainly a sight to see – each song was accompanied by a unique laser arrangement and LED screen backdrop that added to the visual beauty of the performance.

Flowers often bantered between songs, whether it be to rest his voice or just to make the show a bit more casual than the average rock concert. One amusing moment was when Flowers was talking about how his hometown of Las Vegas and Boston are connected because the writer of the classic television series Cheers also hails from there. He then broke out into the show’s theme song to the delight of the crowd before surging into “Read My Mind.”

The Killers accompanied by a blazing fireworks show.

To top off the main set, the band played two gems from their debut album Hot Fuss: “Mr. Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Flowers paused for a moment during the final song to let the crowd sing its famous refrain of “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier,” which created a sense of connectedness between everyone in the building.

Following a brief intermission, the band returned to the stage for their encore, beginning with the opener of Hot Fuss, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.” The encore only escalated when they broke into their most famous single “When You Were Young” afterwards, causing the crowd to go nothing less than insane. Everyone was on their feet and singing along as the band was backlit by a cascade of fireworks.

Naturally, the closer of the show was Battle Born‘s closing title track. After the emotional performance, Flowers took the time to introduce each member of the band one by one to the crowd, especially focusing on their touring members that don’t get nearly as much recognition. The whole group stood at the edge of the stage, bowed for their curtain call and exited, leaving Flowers alone at the mic to give one last message to the crowd as confetti rained down from the ceiling.

“Boston! We did it!”

Despite previous setbacks, The Killers delivered one of their best Boston shows that fans can remember. The band always cites Boston as one of their favorite cities to play in, and on this night it certainly showed.