March 3 2009
WHILE Forest were giving a bunch of northerners a good hiding south of the River Trent last night, in the city centre, Las Vegas four The Killers were doing pretty much the same.
Just this week it was announced that Brandon Flowers and co would be headlining the V Festivals alongside Oasis. The last time those Lancashire mouths were in town they were going through the motions. The Killers were far from such smug complacency.
It was one of the most accomplished shows I've ever seen at the Trent FM Arena. Or in Nottingham, for that matter.
Flowers is your perfect frontman. A slight young man he may be but he flits around the stage like a camp gladiator, using every inch to establish his presence and lead both band and audience of 10,000 through 90 minutes of epic indie, roaming from mic to piano to synth to bass guitar.
It's a marked contrast to the static indifference of Gallagher Jr the last time he bothered to grace us.
Admittedly, Flowers needs work on the interaction – shouting "Nottingham" and asking "How are you feeling?" doesn't constitute a connection with your audience. Not that the sell-out Arena crowd seemed not to notice, singing along when prompted (that was most of the time) and arm waving when instructed.
The stage set was a flavour of Vegas in a wet and windy city – palm trees and a curtain of lights, confetti cannons and smoke machines.
But let's start at the beginning, with the Bohemian Rhapsody singalong, Sam Hall from the final Johnny Cash album and Tom Waits' Rosie.
At nearly ten past nine, with a pompous entrance that would have out done Freddie Mercury, The Killers appear for the first single from album three, Human.
What is clear from this and Spaceman, another lift from Day & Age, they are moving closer to Queen's knack for the bombastic.
It's a vigorous pace that is set. Only for a moment – I'm talking about the subdued segue from A Dusty Fairytale to Sam's Town with Flowers' solo at the piano –- do you have time to take a breath.
The uniform that Flowers, Fleet Foxes (bass/guitar), Deep Purple (guitar) and My Name Is Earl (drums) have adopted is that of the skinny black jeans with leather jacket.
That they can reproduce the epic sounds of the heavily produced Killers on record is a surprise and a pleasant one. That said it's nice to hear the beat of the snare and the pick of the guitar.
It's not quite cheating but look hard and there is a fifth member filling in with guitar and piano and another contributes a sax line or two.
It's no secret that they owe much to eighties British pop, evident on the trebly bass lines of Joyride and I Can't Stay (Duran Duran) but more so for the Joy Division cover Shadowplay, which featured on the soundtrack to the Nottingham-shot movie Control. Clips are projected on to the huge video screen backdrop.
Whatever their influences, The Killers are still blooming and will be for the foreseeable future.
THIS IS YOUR LIFE
SOMEBODY TOLD ME
FOR REASONS UNKNOWN
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
I CAN'T STAY
BLING (CONFESSIONS OF A KING)
SMILE LIKE YOU MEAN IT
READ MY MIND
ALL THESE THINGS THAT I'VE DONE
JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE
WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG