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Friday, August 9, 2013

The Killers, Prudential Center, 8.8.13

Killers, Prudential Center, 8.8.13
You should not waste your time trying to decipher what Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers is singing about.  "He doesn't look a thing like Jesus/But he talks like a gentleman/like you'd imagine when you were young"

Somebody Told Me/that you had boyfriend/that looks like a girlfriend/that I had in February of last year."

OK, some of it makes sense.  But don't bother looking for hidden meanings or layered nuance in the web Flowers, and his bandmates Dave Keurning (guitar), Ronnie Vanucci Jr (drums) and Mark Stoermer (bass), weave.  They are a "what you see is what you get" act.  When done correctly, as displayed last night,  that proves to be a winning formula.

Not long ago the spectacle that is arena rock seemed to be something in my past.  The boys from Clark County, Nevada served up a spirited reminder that rock, or at the very least hard pop, is alive and well.  Their two hour set entertained and energized an impressive, but far from sold out Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

The "Pru" is a big freakin room so it should not be a disappointment that the top bowl was covered with curtains and not open for business.  Selling out this place is reserved for Jersey royalty like Bruce and Bon Jovi.  That said, the floor was packed and the lower level/mezzanine was madness.  When you have to wait 10 deep for a beer you are doing something right.  At those prices too!  

Side note:  more than the scale of an arena, the prices are the real culprit for keeping me away.  Parking near the arena (Newark mind you.) is at least $20.  Bottled water is $8 and you can't keep the bottle.  Beer and alcohol at the "Pru" are, as expected, absurdly priced.  For an "event" like this it makes sense to pay a little extra for the ticket.   How does a family of four do it though?  Tickets at, let's see low end $40 a piece.  Before you know it after a few drinks and snacks a nice night out is $500.  Devils games do the same thing to you.  Broadway shows are outrageous too.  Art is costly sure.  But do the hot dogs, Budweiser, and merch have to fleece you too?  Is it senseless to argue since people were waiting 10 deep for the overpriced beers?  Probably.  Supply and demand suggests I should shut back to the show.

It has been 10 years since The Killers released their debut album, Hot Fuss.  That record gave the World the radio staple "Mr. Brightside."  10 years with the same lineup.  10 years honing their craft.  10 years and 3 more LP's that continue to highlight their ability to write, record, and indeed perform their winning catalog.

Flowers, with full house lights on, calmly strolled to a piano center stage right around 9pm.  The crowd was slightly aware, but unsure what to make of it.  When he sung "We hope you enjoy your stay/Even if it's just for the day" from "Enterlude"  the audience arose.  Soon the entire band made their way to their instruments and erupted into the first verse of "When We Were Young."  When they hit the second verse the lights went down, the pyrotechnics lit up, and a rock show was born.

Flowers works both sides of the stage, stands on the stacks, commands, conducts, and runs the show.  He has a voice more than capable of carrying an arena.  Oh, and he's like 5'7" and 100 pounds.  Lots and lots of power from such a slight frame.  As he was quick to mention (although thankfully the banter between songs was kept to a minimum) folks from Vegas know how to put on a show.  The light show and speaker volume were jacked up real high too.   The effects were not gimmicky or cheesy though.  This is a well choreographed show start to finish.  

Were there some down times?  A little bit.  A cover of the Tommy James/Tiffany song "I Think We're Alone Now" was uninspired and weak.  They have been playing The Who's "Eminence Front" on this tour, and that would have been far more welcome.  There were also too many sing alongs.    Flowers, like many singers these days, urges his audience to belt out popular refrains.  It's kinda cool for one or two tracks, but maybe not 4 or 5.  We know we all can't sing.  That's why we paid to see you do it.

Overall this is a steady, accomplished band who have a confidence and stage demeanor unlike any arena act I have seen in recent memory.  Full disclosure, this blogger sees very little arena shows.

Late last year The Killers released Battle Born, their 4th LP.  It is where the single, and perhaps their crowning achievement "Runaways" first appeared.  Last night, during this song in particular, Flowers channeled Springsteen and Bon Jovi.  This is an arena anthem.  And, it turns out, this is an arena band.  

But don't take my word for it.  Ask the several families in attendance.  Ask the old guy next to me who danced ALL show.  The sold out general admission section, filled with awestruck teenage girls and their awkward adolescent dates, ate it up like a Twilight/Hunger Games double feature.

The Killers are the one thing from Vegas that, lucky for us,  did not stay in Vegas.  Viva!

Other highlights included, but are not limited to:

"For Reasons Unknown""Spaceman" and the Joy Division cover "Shadowplay"

Full setlist can be found here:  Killers setlist 8.8.13

Killers arrive with the stage lights on.  Great way to start the show.

Nice crowd on the "Pru's" floor

Lasers, Lasers and more Lasers

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