BY CHARISSA CHE
Illuminated by a single spotlight on a stadium stage, The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers should have looked quite tiny, but he did the exact opposite. At the core of his presence was something implacable. He was no doubt professional in working the crowd and relating to his bandmates and backup singers – yet he was also surprisingly raw and personal, considering he was singing in space fit for a Jazz game.
“It’s good to be back here, in my hometown,” Flowers said at Vivint Arena on Tuesday, February 6, during crowd banter that felt particularly reserved for the Utah audience. “I grew up in Nephi” – hoots of allegiance from Nephi residents and natives from the crowd – “and even though there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve been busting my ass to make sure I never end back there.” Unlike the rest of his polished asides, this one seemed to be a first; Flowers laughed nervously to himself, perhaps afraid of reproach from the audience. Yet we laughed along, and the show coasted on.
Another particularly unifying moment of the night came when Eli from Kaysville was pulled from the audience and into a handshake with Flowers. Without ado, Eli was at the keyboard, positioned neatly behind a neon mythological symbol for Mars (see also: the male gender symbol). He started playing the beginning notes of “Dustland Fairytale,” and almost at once, phone flashlights dotted and swayed amid the dark arena risers. Flowers’ trademark voice was on full display – tender, slightly wobbly, yet always in control. Up until the end, when he sang acapella the lyric, “Out here the good girls die,” he evoked chills. Live, the song about dashed hopes and surrendering ideals of love was the stuff of pure art.
“Spaceman,” “When We Were Young,” and “Somebody Told Me” were among the canonical performances that obligatorily yanked us out of our seats, and impressively, they were delivered with the same gusto of their fresher tracks. Also worth noting was the title track for the band’s new album, “Wonderful Wonderful,” which provided the slow buildup perfect for their entrance. With “The Man,” the band shamelessly played up the kitschiest facets of their Vegas brand with a flashy backdrop of cowboys and an All-American seductress.
It’s a tall order to fill in and of itself; connecting with a packed arena within a liminal stage space. The laser effects, stage projections, confetti, and even sparks that rained from the top of the stage certainly helped in the effort. But even without all of it, Flowers’ presence would have still sufficiently filled every inch of the room, and connected personally with each one of us. This is the anomalous feat that the Killers performed last night – and this was what rendered their show one of the best that I’ve attended in over a decade.