Being my first outing to the new UBC Thunderbird Arena I was a little excited to see the layout. It was a very sterile environment, bleak colors, large open hallways, and poor sound absorption. The layout of the actual arena was a strange, the stands are very steep almost exceeding the natural law of a 90 degree slope. This makes for treacherous climbs up and down the stands, making it a very poor place to host any event. The opposite end of the arena from the stage area is an opening, allowing fro crossing between the two side of the stands. This area makes for terrible sound flow, and merely re verbs the sound back to the stage, causing a strange after effect echo. Barring all that, this sports arena makes for a nice medium venue for touring acts.
The opening act on this night, Wild Light, was forgettable and in fact I have almost no memory of their performance. Their sound was bland and over played, and lacked any hook to keep the listener entertained. More than likely, unless there is a turn around in the bands inspiration, they will fade away as a permanent opener. They make a great background sound, which isnt distracting to any conversation you want to have, as such supports the deminishment of their planned popularity. Eventually they did leave the stage and the crowd started to amp up for the approaching main act.
After the 45 minutes the mass had to wait for the Las Vegas pop digi band, the lights dimmed and the stage filled with a dusting of smoke and the light show began. The stage was dotted with palm trees, Vegas boulevard like light signs and many twinkling lights. Basically the theme was Vegas and it looked mesmerizing. The backdrop was a light curtain, which allowed text and animations to stream back and forth supporting which ever mega hit they planned for the moment. Brandon Flowers took the stage and the audience lost their minds. One thing you have to give credit to this band for is their entrance. They make you wait, but they make it all worth it in the end.
The sound of the venue was terrible but, the speaker stacks they had setup were bombarding your soul with every beat so it didnt matter. The showman ship of Flowers had him all over the stage, and his voice was running at 100%. The band themselves have little to no use in a setup like this, and fall to the waist side, but the lead guitarist had different plans for this tour. He has stepped out of the shadows thinking he is a guitar god, posing and shut eye swaying to every little note he thought he was blessing us with. His attire was horrendous and looked like he had the left overs of transvestites closet. Dont get me wrong, he is a professional, but his style and level is not nearly great enough for people to stomach his obscurity and made him seem foolish. That was the only weak point for me in the show, was the fact that he didnt know his place, or role, and stepped outside of it to disrupt the feel and look of the band as a whole.
As far as set lists go, this one encompassed all the hits you would expect. Delving into the bands discography through the years and playing all the sing-along jams you would expect. They did play a lot fo stuff off their new album, which definitely shaped the crowd for this show. Last time I saw Flowers he was on stage in a vintage country suit with Texas tie and pointy black cowboy boots. This time his attire was more Vegas, and shiny, his look was more that of a dance digi band. This was the crowd I saw this time. They were the new-wavers and the dance mass, with their neon colors, and eighties nostalgic replica feel. On the other side of that you had the older Killers fans, who were there to here the first two albums. Most of the time you would think one group would be disappointed, but they weren’t. The hits were played and the new stuff was spliced it. The interaction between Flowers and the crowd is second to none, there is a reason he can experiment and play whatever he wants, his personality draws people in. Seeing him live he is so charming with the woman and yet he can rock when he needs to which keeps the men around.
All in all this show was as expected, not over the top and not bottom rung. Brandon and his band played a strong set, with solid vocals, and great instrumental continuity. Most big shows lose some of the interaction but this one had a perfect amount of speaking and a solid personal touch. After a while you feel like bands dont put the finishing touch on some shows, and just get wrapped up in the day in day out stuff. But this band always manages to place that little personal edge and make the audience feel special. They gave the mass that special someone feeling, rather than some too bit whore who got what they paid for. As usual I advise people to get out and see this band, their live act is great and worth the price.