The Killers, Cold War Kids 6/21/15

(i) lineup

(1a) Cold War Kids
(2b) The Killers

(1a) (Cold War Kid’s) setlist

  1. All This Could Be Yours
  2. Miracle Mile
  3. One Song at a Time
  4. We Used to Vacation
  5. Audience
  6. First
  7. Louder Than Ever
  8. Hot Coals
  9. Hang Me Up to Dry
  10. Minimum Day
  11. I’ve Seen Enough
  12. Drive Desperate
  13. Hospital Beds
  14. Something Is Not Right With Me

(1b) highlights

  • seeing Cold War Kids in a festival setting for the first time
  • realizing that the token Cold War Kids’ intimacy and jam session-vibe live isn’t lost on a massive stage; their passion and fun was completely still there
  • the setlist killed and the crowd was totally into it

(1c) lowlights

  • apparently their piano broke before the last song? the band was down about it, but admitting full ignorance here, I totally did not notice

(1d) overall thoughts

When you’re standing in the sun all day, waiting at the main stage for the headliner to come on, you’re willing to sit through some garbage acts. Luckily, thank god, I didn’t have to deal too much with that because my Cold War Kids played a mid-day set and totally killed it. Their newer material from the album Hold My Home really resonated with the audience and I was happy they had such a good-sized crowd. Their passion and live fervor didn’t get lost in the open field and on the big stage; in fact, it gave them more room to move around and let the songs breathe a bit. So many mid-level bands phone in festival performances when they aren’t at the top of the bill, but Cold War Kids don’t deal with that mess. They showed up, performed super well, and definitely made more fans that day.

Bottom line: Seeing Cold War Kids is always a complete joy, and seeing them for an hour in the middle of a Delaware field on the hottest and longest day of the year was no different.

(I’m in this pic!)

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Photo by: Ilya S. Savenok

(2a) (The Killers’) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Human
    7. Somebody Told Me
    8. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
    9. The Bucket (Kings of Leon cover)
    10. For Reasons Unknown
    11. From Here On Out
    12. A Dustland Fairytale
    13. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. This Is Your Life
  2. When You Were Young

(2b) highlights

  • “This Is Your Life” is always such a beautiful song and wonderful experience live – Brandon gets the crowd to wave their hands before the last bridge and it’s so freaking beautiful every time
  • seeing The Killers front row at huge festivals with gigantic crowds is always a memorable experience; it’s so great seeing how far they’ve come from their little Vegas roots

(2c) lowlights

  • Kings of Leon’s set was cancelled the day before at Firefly because of the weather; The Killers thought it would be cool to cover a few of their songs so people could still see them; I liked Kings of Leon’s first two albums but haven’t liked anything they’ve done in awhile; I paid to see The Killers, not Kings of Leon, but whatever
  • the band came on late, why why why are they always so damn late
  • I was so tired and it was so hot and the weekend was so long, I kinda lost it at different parts of the set

(2d) overall thoughts

I’ve seen The Killers headline many festivals many times and even though this wasn’t one of my favorite experiences, I know I can’t complain because it was really solid performance. Most of my complaints have little to do with the band and mostly to do with the circumstances (namely, the weather was awful and the Firefly promoters were pretty damn disorganized all weekend, which sucked for a lot of us). So, I’ll just say this: being front row at a festival where your favorite band is headlining and closing out the weekend playing an awesome set is kind of a dream. The Killers were showmen, added so much to the experience, and I got to hang out with all my friends seeing great live music all weekend. What more could anyone ask for?

Bottom Line: Being a part of 30,000 people waving their hands in the air during “This Is Your Life” is probably one of the best feelings ever, and also Kings of Leon are passed their prime so let’s stop giving them a spotlight please thanks.

Note: I took photos of both Cold War Kids and The Killers but my phone malfunctioned at the end of 2015 and for some reason, all the photos from this weekend were lost except this one below.

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The Killers 6/20/15

(a) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Human
    7. Somebody Told Me
    8. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
    9. The Rising Tide
    10. Shot at the Night
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. From Here On Out
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Be Still
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. Uncle Jonny
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • UNNNNCCCLLLLEEEE JJJOOONNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYY!
  • “Be Still” – “dedicated to the fans” – WOW
  • seeing “The Rising Tide” live for the first time; it’s a song rarely played live that really needed its moment to shine, and it definitely shined here
  • the entire show felt so special with so many unexpected moments; I constantly felt like my heart was going to burst
  • the part when I was having such a good time and going crazy that my phone in my pocket posted a Facebook status, called three people I haven’t spoken to in years, changed my clock to military time, and changed wifi networks
  • Ronnie Vannucci in tiny Atlantic City shorts, byeeeeeeee
  • did I mention they played Uncle FREAKING Jonny for the first time since 2007!!!!!

(c) lowlights

  • Borgata Festival Park is the worst place on Earth, never go there ever, please do not give them money; their security guards are pointless, rude, idiotic, and waiting for this show was one of the worst experiences e.v.e.r.

(d) overall thoughts

Saying the weekend of June 18th-21st was an adventure is a bit of, uh, an understatement. My friends and I spent the 18th and 19th in Delaware at the Firefly Festival, the 20th in Atlantic City in New Jersey, and went back to Firefly on the 21st. I would definitely not recommend doing that if anyone is considering it…

Anyway, the wait and line for this show was a nightmare beyond belief, but none of that ultimately mattered. It was so hot, so sticky, so New Jersey, but damn, this show was like a sneak attack in the end – no one saw it coming, but it ended up being one of the best Killers shows I’ve ever seen. Sometime toward the end of 2014 and for a lot of 2015, I mentioned time and time again to my friends (and anyone who would listen) that The Killers should play one of my favorite songs live, “Uncle Jonny.” They hadn’t play it live since 2007, but they did it. They freaking played it and I totally lost it. Before that, that played “The Rising Tide,” a virtually forgotten track on their last full album Battle Born. It was never forgotten by fans, so hearing it live made it so energized and brought another part of that album alive for me.

Perhaps the most emotional moment for everyone dropped with “Be Still.” For honest to God the first time ever, the band acknowledged the hardcore fans who travel from everywhere and have been following The Killers for a long time. Brandon dedicated “Be Still” to all those people – which obviously includes myself – so hearing one of my favorite Killers song ever along with that dedication was a truly meaningful and poignant moment for me and all my friends. And I will forever be incredibly thankful for that. The Killers were still technically on “hiatus” at the time, so seeing them without a real album to promote and just playing together at a random casino in New Jersey was unexpectedly wonderful.

Bottom Line: Pretty much the only reason I continue to drag my ass to Atlantic City to see The Killers is because, every once and a while, an incredible and memorable show like this one drops and makes everyone’s hearts burst.

The Killers 4/7/16

(a) setlist

    1. Midnight Show
    2. Somebody Told Me
    3. Change Your Mind
    4. Bones
    5. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    6. Human
    7. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    8. Uncle Jonny
    9. Read My Mind
    10. Runaways
    11. All These Things That I’ve Done
    12. On Top
    13. When You Were Young
    14. Mr. Brightside

(b) highlights

  • literally just BEING THERE; I was outside of the venue, sitting on the fake lawn they set up in front of a screen and next to a bar; it was AMAZING
  • “Midnight Show” = first time they played it since 2007; me = DEAD
  • “On Top,” the end.
  • having just seen the band at the most memorable show ever at the T-Mobile Arena to two hours later watching them totally tear down this super tiny Vegas joint was pure magic

(c) lowlights

  • it would’ve been amazing to physically be in the bar, but I never would’ve dreamed of leaving the arena show early; I’m so glad I stayed and could even be on the Bunkhouse grounds at all, so…no actual lowlights

(d) overall thoughts

Fifteen minutes into The Killers’ performance at the T-Mobile Arena (see previous post), they tweeted that they’d be performing a midnight aftershow at the tiny Bunkhouse Saloon in Downtown Las Vegas. A couple of my friends had anticipated the band would be up to such antics, so we smiled, rolled our eyes, and had fun at the arena. Some fans left the show to get to the Bunkhouse and set up camp, but we stayed. The moment the arena show ended, we drove the 5 or so miles Downtown and found at least 500 people already in line. The space inside the physical Bunkhouse was full, but the garden area was still open with a screen to watch the inside, have drinks, eat food and all that.

Magically, somehow, by the grace of God, we got inside the garden and set up camp in front of the screen, exhausted but elated to even be there at all. I had envisioned sitting on the sidewalk and listening to the show from across the street, but this was better. How many bands in the world would go from selling out a 20,000-person venue to immediately playing a bar that barely holds 200 right after just for the fun of it? It was such a memorable night and iconic event that it almost felt damn-near magical as I lied on the fake grass, closed my eyes, and listened to songs I’ve heard a million times but never fail to excite me.

 

Bottom line: Everything about that night was unreal, but being a part of the band making history was the cherry on top.

The Killers 4/6/16

(a) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    7. Human (w/ Blue Man Group drum battle)
    8. Somebody Told Me
    9. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    10. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover) (w/ Wayne Newton)
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. A Dustland Fairytale
    13. Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. Shot at the Night
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine (w/ Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons)
  3. This Is Your Life
  4. When You Were Young
  5. Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley cover)

(b) highlights

  • Blue Man Group drum battle with Ronnie Vannucci, I WAS DEAD
  • by far the best production of any Killers’ show I’ve ever seen; it was festival-level production…and then some
  • just being there at the T-Mobile Arena. in Las Vegas. for the opening night. wow.
  • Jimmy Kimmel introducing the band onstage via video
  • the “Shadowplay” laser light cage
  • the Back to the Future shoutout before “Johnny B. Goode”
  • “Can’t Help Falling in Love” cover was precious and fitting
  • Ronnie Vannucci Jr.
  • the entire goddamn encore from beginning to end
  • Vegas vomitting up everything it had during “Viva Las Vegas” (Showgirls? Cirque de Soleil dancers? Wayne Newton? Carrot Top? Gigantic balloons? Amazing.)

(c) lowlights

  • watching Wayne Newton was probably the most uncomfortable performance I’ve ever seen
  • the band should’ve played “Sam’s Town” but IT’S FINE
  • crowd could’ve been better, but I’m reaching – the show was INCREDIBLE

(d) overall thoughts

In case anyone on Earth doesn’t know, The Killers are from Las Vegas and, boy, are they proud about it. I’ve seen the band a couple of times in Vegas before, but never quite like this. It was a special night. Everyone knew it was gonna be special before it even began. The trip to Vegas was like going to Mecca for me and my friends – we stopped by all the usual local Killers-related spots to do stupid things on par with going to Abbey Road and crossing the street like the Beatles-type of nonsense. We waited in line for literally two days to be front row for the show because, well, The Killers are our favorite band and they were opening a brand new arena in the town that’s been the backdrop of their music and emotional upbringing. Of course we were gonna be there. And we weren’t the only ones.

I had heard all the songs they played before, and heard all the speeches, but every song was brought to a fuller life with the jaw-dropping stage production. The towering Battle Born emblem, laser light cage, flames, confetti, balloons – it all felt so very Vegas and very The Killers. It’s funny how we often remember so many strange details of shows after they’re done – this one particular line during a song, a moment when a band member did something funny, a time when the lights looked cool – but whenever I think about this Las Vegas show, I remember all of it. I remember Brandon Flowers’ sparkling blazer lapels glistening in the lights, Ronnie Vannucci’s damn-near incredible drum battle versus three members of the Blue Man Group, Dave Keuning walking through and around the green laser lines that shot up from the floor to the ceiling during “Shadowplay,” and how Mark Stoermer uncharacteristically smiled when Wayne Newton came out to play “Johnny B. Goode.” I remember my friends’ joy catching confetti as it fell from the rafters during “All These Things That I’ve Done” and feeling the heat of the towering flames during “When You Were Young.” I remember that elation of feeling the entire crowd lift their arms and wave them back and forth, back and forth, during “This Is Your Life.” I remember how we all gleefully hit the gigantic balloons toward the stage at the Jubilee show girls and Carrot Top, who was present because…Vegas. Most of all, I remember the feeling of being part of such a quintessential Vegas show on a momentous night for the band, having formed right there in that city roughly 14 years prior. And I hope I never forget it.

Bottom line: Some shows you never forget, and this was one of them.

To check out some incredible shots by a professional and crazy cool awesome guy, photog Erik Kabik took the best pictures of the night, most of which are featured here.

Bonus Material!

Video of Ronnie Vannucci Jr. vs. Blue Man Group ❤

 

The Killers 4/3/16

(a) setlist

    1. Runaways
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    7. Somebody Told Me
    8. Human
    9. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    10. Uncle Jonny
    11. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover)
    12. For Reasons Unknown
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Read My Mind
    15. All These Things That I’ve Done
    16. Mr. Brightside

Encore:

  1. Shot at the Night
  2. Change Your Mind
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll (!!!!!!!!)
  • one of the best opening bands The Killers have ever had: The Struts. LOOK. THEM. UP. [They were so good that half of the Killers, their crew, and a bunch of others literally came out on the stage wings to watch. Like, WOW.]
  • Uncle Jonny – the way the band has extended the outro before the final verse = HEAVEN
  • Johnny B. Goode was so rad, especially with The Struts’ lead singer
  • “desert people”
  • Ronnie Vannucci Jr.
  • the entire damn show, as always

(c) lowlights

  • the band played On Top the night before – that would’ve been a cool addition here
  • every day I pray for Believe Me Natalie, my god, do I pray for that song live
  • pretty much nothing, to be honest

(d) overall thoughts

I’ve seen The Killers a lot. Like, a lot. They’re my favorite band of all time and I’ve been consistently seeing them live since 2005. I’ll never not love them and will defend them until the ends of the Earth, so hearing people say things like, “Hot Fuss is their only good album” and “‘Mr. Brightside’ is their only good song” makes me want to projectile vomit. My friends and I flew to Tempe, Arizona from NYC for their warm-up show in preparation of opening the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, their hometown.

It’s difficult to thoroughly talk about this band without getting emotional and blabbering, but this scrapbook is about the memories. And my memories were this: they were amazing. As always. They sounded perfect. As always. They looked perfect. As always. This was one of their first real shows in about 8 months; Brandon Flowers spent most of 2015 preoccupied with his second solo album, The Desired Effect, and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. kicked around a second album Straight In No Kissin’ with his side project bros Big Talk. Despite the time away, it appeared that nothing had been lost in term’s of performance quality. As always.

Bottom line: I waited in line for about 21 hours to see my favorite four guys and I would/probably will do the whole thing again. They were perfect, as always.