The Killers Are on a Mission

August 9th, 2013

The Killers – Prudential Center – August 8, 2013

Until their show at the Prudential Center last night, I had never seen the Killers live and in person, but boy the past decade has treated them well. The show kicked off with the short piano song “Enterlude,” lead singer Brandon Flowers welcoming everyone in the arena: “We hope you enjoyed your stay/ It’s good to have you with us/ Even if it’s just for the day.” The band then launched right into the flashiest moment of the set, megahit “When We Were Young,” just as they do on the album Sam’s Town, only this time to thousands of people under a shower of golden pyrotechnics. Sure, there was one more pop of pyro later, as well as the usual arena-band touches like lasers and a spotlight drum solo, but the quartet still tries to work a room like it’s a small club.

If the Killers proved anything in the following two hours, it was that they’ve evolved into less of a cookie-cutter arena act and are more of a group still somehow on the rise. During brasher songs, like “Bling (Confession of a King),” you could see rough edges around the performance that many big bands wouldn’t allow—like an out-of-breath Flowers (thanks to his constant wandering and hopping around the stage) or spotting a fan they knew and calling him out by name to thank him for coming.

Speaking of the fans, it was noticeable that different parts of the arena were filled with people who had come into the band during different album cycles, as cheering allegiances were split during some songs. Still, older tunes like “Somebody Told Me” or newer ones like “Human” united them all, while anthems like “Spaceman” showed how they’d also fit right at home in an 80,000-person stadium. It all clicked during “Moon River,” which Flowers jokingly prefaced: “You know the motto of our hometown, right? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? We are proving that sumbitch wrong every night.” The Killers are on a mission to bring some of who they are and where they’re from to a different town each night, and they do it extremely well. —Sean O’Kane