The Killers at the Metro Radio Arena
By Helen Dalby
Even the fact that we were greeted by torrential rain as we poured out of the Metro Radio Arena couldn't dampen the mood.
The cold water was actually rather pleasant after one of the hottest, most jumping gigs I can remember. Killers fans on a massive high after being rocked silly for nearly two hours snaked down the Arena steps and towards the station dipping in and out of a collective chant: "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier".
The familiar refrain from one of The Killers' best known songs - All These Things That I've Done, from album Hot Fuss - had provided one of the gig's best moments, with firework effects and a shower of sparkling paper raining down on the bellowing crowd.
I'd been warned pre-gig that frontman Brandon Flowers "can't sing live". This is simply not true. Not only can he belt out songs, the trademark catch in his voice setting plenty of hearts a-flutter, but he also understands the importance of putting on a show.
He had a mesmerising stage presence on a set that was full of Las Vegas glam, adorned with palm trees and flowers, and backed up by a huge screen that alternated between American road trip montages, images of the Nevada desert and huge, neon Killers logos and lyrics.
With three albums to the band's name, there were plenty of tracks to choose from. Opener Human - a song described by Flowers as "Johnny Cash meets the Pet Shop Boys" - got everyone dancing, though it's fair to say the crowd had been thoroughly warmed up by fellow Americans Louis XIV. Judging by the audience reaction, these guys are destined for big things and likely coming soon to a festival near you.
The Killers then rocked through a varied set list that mixed upbeat indie pop from their Hot Fuss days with heartfelt American Dream melodic rock from critically acclaimed second album Sam's Town. The title track, played acoustically with Flowers on the piano, was a particular treat.
Other highlights included a rendition of the anthemic festival favourite Mr Brightside that nearly raised the roof, along with a thumping version of post-punk smash Somebody Told Me.
The best moments for me were my two favourite songs from Sam's Town, both of which bring to mind summers spent driving on North American highways, with the windows down, listening to Bruce Springsteen.
Read My Mind popped up towards the end of the set, but it was When You Were Young - the closing number after an encore that left the crowd baying - that made my heart thud with its soaring guitar crescendo and cemented this in memory as one of the best gigs I've been to.
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