The Killers (with Juanita Stein)
First Direct Arena, 19th November 2017
Thanks to an album pre-order offer I managed to tick one more band of my bucket list by seeing Las Vegas' finest the Killers in my neighbouring city of Leeds at the First Direct Arena, Brandon and the boys (now down to two original members) bringing a huge and visually stunning set to the arena and a set list that, by luck, contained some songs from the pool that changes every night that fell in my favour.
Support act Juanita Stein, with hints of country, wasn't my favourite support act I've ever seen, a combination of unfamiliarity with her material and muddy vocal mixing impacting on the performance but her thirty minute set was enjoyable enough to set the mood going.
Onto the main event and we got a great selection of 21-songs spanning the band's career. Opening with the first track from their new album the titular 'Wonderful, Wonderful' with its dramatic desert-scapes projected onto the huge screens creating the darker atmosphere of the opener. Boasting a set with a lifting male symbol, which came into play on the testosterone-filled second number, huge arrows and a water-tower marked 'Leeds' the large visuals really kept the focus. 'The Man', second up, was energetic and backed by the neon glow of Las Vegas cowboys, whilst crowd-pleaser 'Somebody Told Me', appearing quite early on, got the crowds to their feet. Personal favourite 'Spaceman' was great to hear, as was the slower 'The Way It Was'.
Credit for the best song of the evening probably has to go to their energetic take on 'Run For Cover' that mixed up some incredible drumming, spot-on vocals and well timed visuals from the promotional video on the screen, all combining to form a big spectacle. 'I Can't Stay' and 'Smile Like You Mean It' brought some quieter moments to the performance, and it was great to hear so many inclusions from their third album 'Day and Age', arguably their best album.
The singable 'For Reasons Unknown' gave way to the big treat of the night, a spirited cover from one of my other favourite bands Kaiser Chiefs. Joined on stage by former member and drummer Nick Hodgson, now on guitar, this was a surprise and fun inclusion that lifted the roof off the arena.
'Rut' and 'Tyson v Douglas' from the new album kept the show going whilst 'Human' proved to be the next big sing-a-long favourite. 'A Dustland Fairytale', 'Runaways', 'Read My Mind' and closer 'All These Things That I've Done' tied the main show together nicely.
The band also treated us to a four-strong encore, starting with one of the highlights of their new album 'The Calling' complete with a very strong VJ-package of images, giving it an other-worldly, almost apocalyptical feel. My personal highlight of the show came in the next song, a performance of, in my opinion, their best song 'Bones', one of the songs not played every night. The show ended with the double header of 'When You Were Young' and 'Mr Brightside', both getting the crowd doing, and wrapping up a visually impressive and tight performance, with a set-list that was pretty much spot on. (7/10)