The Killers at Emirates Stadium
The Killers are back in London and this time they’re touring not one, but two albums, courtesy of a global pandemic. This rare occurrence makes for a weird setlist: for a fan, the classic “why didn’t they play that one?” conversation just escalates, as two records means more missed opportunities for the “perfect” selection.
In fact, the Las Vegas four-piece, who have gone through a schizophrenic pattern of changes to their line-up – in studio and live (bass player Stoermer out, guitarist Keuning out, Stoermer back in, Keuning back in, Stoermer again out, and so on) – do not play Pressure Machine‘s standout track Quiet Town. It’s easily one of their best songs, and it doesn’t get a nod. Thankfully, though, Jo Whiley’s presence makes for a special change to their planned setlist, replacing Runaway Horses with the beautiful title track.
But enough complaints – Brandon Flowers’s band kick off with My Own Soul’s Warning, the opening song of Imploding the Mirage and a personal favourite. Regardless of the subpar production and abundance of daylight, it’s a truly magical moment.
The rock band continue with one of their staples and former set closers, When You Were Young. The live video feed projected on the giant screen is borderline hysterical, changing angles every five seconds to random members of the band. If there’s an iconic guitar solo, you have go for it – even if it’s not Keuning playing it.
Flowers is something of a special breed; his vocals and panache set him a step up the rest of the frontmen. “Everybody’s got an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other one,” he tells the North London audience, “The angel whispers the truth, but the devil has a better tune.” Classics and fan favourites such as Jenny Was a Friend of Mine, Smile Like You Mean It, Human and Somebody Told Me easily earn the crowd’s roar.
Some choices are questionable – Fire in Bone and their classic Shadowplay cover, which doesn’t really work tonight – but there are moments of pure elation: the solo on In the Car Outside, the middle eight of Runaways and the singalong during All These Things That I’ve Done.
As always, Brandon Flowers takes his time to thank London for supporting them in 2003, when they got signed here for the first time: “We knew we were good […] and bless god you did [too].”
Caution closes the set and, when the Killers return to the stage, it’s somewhat disappointing that they only play two more songs. Spaceman perfectly warms up the audience before the grand finale, a hybrid version of Mr Brightside, which begins as the Jacques Lu Cont’s (Stuart Price) remix before turning into the classic indie-rock anthem everybody knows it for.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Rob Loud
For further information and future events visit The Killers’s website here.
Watch the video for My Own Soul’s Warning here: