The Killers 6/10/17

(a) setlist

    1. Human
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. All The Songs Have Been Written/One More Song (unclear title)
    6. Bling (Confession of a King)
    7. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    8. Run For Cover
    9. Somebody Told Me
    10. Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. My List
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done


  1. Shot at the Night
  2. When You Were Young
  3. Mr. Brightside

(b) highlights

  • but seriously. aside from the brilliant “Shot at the Night” in 2013, we’ve gone 5 goddamn years without new music from these dudes, and I have no idea how I survived that long. this new music was so needed.
  • including “My List” in here was so sweet and heartfelt and made me so happy that the band is giving it another shot after the Sam’s Town shows; my recent wish is for it to replace “Smile Like You Mean It” in the setlist (don’t hurt me, SLYMI apologists)
  • I’ve heard “A Dustland Fairytale” live dozens of times, but it never hit me harder than at this show – I was in tears before the chorus even hit. so beautiful.
  • I can def jam with “Run For Cover” and the little piano ballad; I can’t wait to hear those at their most complete and feel so lucky to have seen them in Atlantic City
  • this show in particular felt like being at home with my friends; everyone around us were the best fans, the best people, and constantly bring so much joy into my life; I felt so terribly lucky to have been there with them, watching this band, hearing those songs, and living that night

(c) lowlights

  • #KillShadowplay2017
  • #KillShadowplay2017
  • #KillShadowplay2017

(d) overall thoughts

Some shows are really light and fun, and other ones hit you harder than you anticipate. Somehow, this show at the Borgata – literally the 4th time in 5 years The Killers have played this venue in the summer – ended up being a combination of the two. A pre-summer getaway to New Jersey after a predictably-delayed bus ride dropped us in a familiar casino only half-prepared for the unforgettable night.

Going to see The Killers at this point isn’t strictly about seeing the band these days. At some point during the Battle Born tour, traveling to shows turned into an event to see old friends, catchup with new ones, and chat about what was to come. But now, the familiarity runs so much deeper. Another trip to New Jersey means traveling home to see family. The faces of people you love so dearly, the faces of people you hate even more, and – on top of that – an unforgettable show by the boys.

The security guards remember you, the smell of the metal barricade brings back memories, you don’t need to reference signs in the casino to find your way back to the room even though casinos are strictly designed to confuse you, and everything feels just the same if not slightly changed. And that description fits the band perfectly. Brandon is still spry and in a dumb vaguely tropical-themed, sharp suit, though turning gray at the edges. Dave’s hair is curlier and he’s looking slightly older but in a refined way. Ronnie’s still got that cut-off metal-inspired tee on his tall frame and Mark is still gone. And everyone’s there, almost everyone you know and remember, and they feel those feelings too. We’re all home.

Kicking things off with “Human” and “Spaceman” instantly put me in a fun mood to dance, be happy, and have a great time with my friends. We were tucked in and surrounded by the best people and echoed all our “darlin’s” perfectly. The new piano ballad that may or may not be called “One More Song” or “All The Songs Have Been Written” turns out to be a sweet gem and “Bling” never stops being the song that resonates with me most. I audibly boo and fake vomit at Shadowplay (Brandon, please let Ian Curtis have a peaceful rest and let these laser beams lie next to him), but that’s to be expected.

When “Run For Cover” starts, I almost leave my body and realize that everything that’s happening is going to feel so portentous and meaningful one day, so I should simply bask in it as each moment passes. For the record, the song isn’t single material, but I feel lyrical resonance of “This River Is Wild” and Brandon’s “Diggin’ Up The Heart,” so can’t wait to hear that one on the album. “My List” is an unexpected sweet surprise that allowed for a much-needed stomp-clap combo.

Then, when “Dustland” started, something strange happened. Along with pretty much everyone in the crowd around me, I’ve seen that song live dozens of times. It’s always beautiful and meaningful and certainly a “moment” during the show. But for some reason, after hearing it for probably the thousandth time, I completely broke down before Brandon got to the chorus. I watched him sing along, watched Dave turn his face into the light, and watched Ronnie beat the skins in the shadows, and I lost it.

Isn’t it unbelievable to think that because of one band, a group of four guys, dozens of songs, and nothing but pure chance, my life managed to intersect with all these incredible people over a decade in such a way that we all stood in some event center in some casino in New Jersey right then and there? I met one of my best friends in the world on the sidewalk waiting to hear the premiere of “When You Were Young” 11 years ago. I met another one of my best friends on a message board when Sam’s Town was released. I’ve met people in California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Delaware, Connecticut, even Canada because of this band. And that doesn’t even include all the people who’ve come from elsewhere to meet me. San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Virginia, Seattle, London, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Texas, Utah, Las Vegas. And some of these people will remain in my life for as long as I live, all because of The Killers. It’s unbelievable. I love this band so much and I’ll never be able to repay them for the life they incidentally gave to me. Thank you to every Victim that’s been a part of it.

Bottom line: I’ve seen The Killers live a lot – probably too many times – but I never take it for granted. Every show is special because it’s like coming home. We all get lost in the music and the lights and the familiar hand gestures and drum beats and guitar licks and bass lines. It’s not an overstatement to say that The Killers truly gave me the life I have – I would be nothing without the friends that stand by my side and we’d all be nothing without the four guys from Las Vegas that brought us together. Cheers, Victims. I love you.

The Killers 5/14/14

(a) setlist

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


  1. Shot At The Night
  2. A Matter of Time
  3. When You Were Young
  4. Mr. Brightside

(b) highlights

  • loooooooool, this setlist, who do you think you are opening with “Spaceman,” covering both CCR and the Psychadelic Furs, closing with “WYWY” and “Mr. Brightside” (we all nearly passed out) AND playing “A Matter of Time” for basically the first time in 5ever.
  • the energy of this show was next level; it’s always great to see the band for the first time in a long time because the crowd feels starved, the band wants to perform at level 11/10, and everything feels familiar and new all at once
  • I don’t think of us (including the band??) realized Mohegan Sun was an arena, so we were shocked at the reception of it all; hearing “Shot at the Night” echo against arena walls is bone-shattering
  • I say this after pretty much every show, but this night, in particular, was a great one for Ronnie Vannucci Jr. There was, uh, some magic sparks flying around that venue and that’s all I’ll say about that. P.S. I caught his drumstick that night. Always a treasure.
  • I freaking LOVE that the band decided to give “A Matter of Time” another chance; for some reason, it – along with “Deadlines and Commitments” off Battle Born – became neglected during the proper tour. The band has a habit of playing deep cuts in the UK, getting a lukewarm reaction, and then shelving those tracks before they hit the US. This shit irritates me to no end because 1. why does the UK get to decide what the US hears, 2. the US has a history of liking songs the UK does not (e.g. “Midnight Show”), and 3. the situation has never happened in the reverse where the US dictates what the band takes abroad. It’s a small point, but an important one. “A Matter of Time” needed, uh, time to ruminate and grow with audiences; every victim was freaking ecstatic the moment it began. Side note: it looked like Brandon’s forehead was going to pop during the final verse like, whoa.
  • the “From Here On Out” drum solo gave me life the entirety of 2013 and 2014, and the only reason I allow that song to exist in my memory and occasionally on my iPod.
  • I literally never say this at Killers shows, but Joywave was probably the best opening band I’ve seen in years. Well done.

(c) lowlights

  • if you’re wondering what it’s like to wait in line for over a day and half, sitting in a casino in the middle of Uncasville, Connecticut and arguing with everyone from the stupid security to British fans, I assure you – it’s not fun.
  • I had JUST finished writing my Masters’ thesis this week and was on serious meds from a crappy as hell sickness that I was still getting over. How I survived this show, I’ll never know.

(d) overall thoughts

This show was a bit of a surprise. First of all, it should be sort of surprising to anyone that a band can have a great show in somewhere called Uncasville, Connecticut, especially in a casino. Second of all, it’s sort of shocking that a casino – again in a place called Uncasville – would actually house a full-fledged arena with a legitimate setup. Third, Brandon Flowers openly admitted somewhere during the beginning of the show that the band themselves didn’t even realize they were playing an arena that night. No one should have a great show in a casino in nowhere Connecticut, but The Killers sure as hell did.

The week of this show was strange and more emotional than usual for me. I had quite literally the day before turned in my Masters thesis that I had spent over a year working on and was graduating the following week. This tour was devoted to Direct Hits, a best-of compilation for my favorite band who somehow managed to keep capturing my heart after a decade of official releases, and I was somehow seeing them at this crossroads of my life, all approaching the 10-year anniversary of the album that sold me and the world on this brilliance, Hot Fuss. In Uncasville. What a topsy-turvy experience.

To put it simply, this surprise of a show was an awakening. To delve deeper, it was an awakening for me not just as a fan, but a fan who’s been around since the very beginning. People always, always ask me and my friends: how can you see them, how can you see a band so many times, hear the same songs, the same speeches at the same places, over and over again? Because of shows like this one. They surprise you. The band surprises you and they surprise themselves. I remember feeling like this show would be a one-off stop, an obligatory show for this compilation album that no one really asked for, and something to keep us hanging on until the next real release. And it was, but it wasn’t. Sure, Battle Born had been released nearly two full years previously and that album and tour felt very much over, but it’s only when tours are over do some songs get the chance to shine. “A Matter of Time” was a pleasant surprise, and the band played it with a bit of a fuck-you attitude – a stance that very much conveyed, “See? This is a GREAT song. We told you.” I didn’t mind the aggressive way it was played, though it was a bit confusing for Brandon Flowers to try to prove something to an audience that never claimed they didn’t want to hear it. (Note: See point about the UK ruining everything for US fans above.) A part of me wished they had also played “Deadlines and Commitments” – another virtually ignored song from Battle Born I wished since Day 1 was regularly rotating in the set. But I digress.

It’s because of “A Matter of Time” and CCR (who doesn’t love CCR??) and the Psychedelic Furs and hearing “Shot At the Night” in all its glory why being a fan of The Killers is so great. Yeah, they’re going to play the same 12 tracks always – sometimes even in the same order! – throw in some covers, and maybe a sneaky song or two, but it’s in the presentation of those songs that we thrive.

I remember the band being very connected that night. Brandon talked about his dancing shoes (as always), Dave was a bit more fired up than usual, Mark was pleasantly present, and Ronnie was exceptionally engaged. It didn’t matter that they openly had been so checked out that they didn’t even know they were playing an arena, and openly admitted that Direct Hits was label-mandated; it mattered that they knew they had to perform in every sense of the word. They had to show up, they had to perform, they had to surprise. And they did. At the end of the night when they all bowed together, the smile they had across all their faces suggested they even surprised a bit of themselves.


Bottom line: Approaching the 10-year anniversary of Hot Fuss, The Killers could’ve easily put out their best-of Direct Hits, half-assed a couple of shows, and called it a night. But they didn’t. They played a solid as hell show in goddamn Uncasville, Connecticut and sold it like it was their first time. Huzzah, Brandon, Dave, Mark, and Ronnie. That’s why we love you.


Photo by Sana Masood

The Killers 7/22/16

(a) setlist

    1. Enterlude
    2. Change Your Mind
    3. Spaceman
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bones
    6. Losing Touch
    7. Bling (Confession of a King)
    8. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    9. Human
    10. Somebody Told Me
    11. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    12. For Reasons Unknown
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done
    18. Mr. Brightside


  1. Shot at the Night
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • The Killers are perfection, thank you and goodnight.
  • as someone who sees this band a lot…I really appreciate when they change things up; opening with “Enterlude” and “Change Your Mind” was definitely different and I loved it a lot
  • even though they aren’t my favorite songs in any way and I could name probably 20 Killers songs I’d want to hear before them, it was nice to hear “Bones” and “Losing Touch” for the first time in legit 8 years
  • for some reason, Brandon seemed really emotionally into “A Dustland Fairytale” and “Runaways” at this show, and that’s always a cool thing to see
  • Ronnie Vannucci continually dominates existence and all other dudes should pretty much just quit trying
  • the Elvis cover is probably the only repeated Killers cover that I genuinely really like and feel excited when it starts
  • the very confused yet earnest speeches before both “Losing Touch” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” (“This is called Losing Touch. You can find it on the YouTube”; “I went to Dave’s apartment and we read on the computer…”)
  • “Shot at the Night” just might be in my top 10 favorite Killers songs; maybe even higher
  • being all the barricade with everyone I was with; sharing the experience with the people around you can really enhance the emotional setting and I won’t ever forget the feeling of being alongside my friends
  • Ronnie Vannucci threw me his drumstick just before the encore; air-drumming your heart out really pays off, people ❤
  • “Tell all your friends.” – Ronnie Vannucci Junior, savior, genius, poet

(c) lowlights

  • Mark August Stoermer, every show is incomplete without you, I hope you realize that
  • do we really need “Shadowplay” still in this set after literally 9 years? no, we do not need “Shadowplay” still in this set after 9 years
  • why was only one song from “Battle Born” played? that album was good enough for me, BFlow. it was more than good enough for me.
  • one day, this band will resurrect “Believe Me Natalie” and I will be there to see it, I swear to all that is holy this will happen

(d) overall thoughts

Oh, Atlantic City. For some reason, almost on accident, I’ve seen The Killers in Atlantic City three times in the last four years. And strangely, every time has been particularly great. Even though casino shows are usually a drag – whether because of the crowd or something else – this show at the Borgata was fantastic. It could just be that the last time I saw The Killers was at the very very rainy and very very massive Governor’s Ball Festival, but this Borgata show felt exceptionally intimate. You could see Brandon’s pores, you could see Dave’s gray guitar picks tucked into his mic, you could hear Ronnie laugh.

The set was an unusual one in that it was so heavy on both Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town songs, but I sort of loved that. Battle Born felt a little neglected, but it also felt like the band was having fun. There was a freshness to it all, which is a great irony considering nearly every song performed was released between four and 12 years ago. No one can say that The Killers don’t treat every performance like it’s their first time playing all those tracks. There’s passion, energy, excitement, and it never feels like they’re going through the motions.

The wonder of all these shows, the reason we all keep coming back, and the reason why I’ll never stop going is all the same. Because it’s home. Brandon’s showmanship, silly speeches, and equally silly jackets. Dave’s understated presence and flawless talent (seriously, have you ever heard that dude miss a note?). Ronnie’s playful energy and awe-inspiring performance. The songs. The lights. The feeling. That shit is home.


Bottom line: The Killers are my children, my heart, my precious angels, and the ones that welcome me home with every single live performance. How could I not love them for that?

The Killers, HAIM 6/4/16

(i) lineup

1a. HAIM
2b. The Killers

(1a) (HAIM’s) setlist

    1. If I Could Change Your Time
    2. Don’t Save Me
    3. I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover)
    4. Forever
    5. Honey & I
    6. Give Me Just a Little of Your Love
    7. My Song 5
    8. Nothing’s Wrong
    9. The Wire
    10. Falling

(1b) highlights

  • pretty cool seeing HAIM for the first time
  • I’d only heard a couple of HAIM songs before this and didn’t know what to expect – they were definitely more high energy and enjoyable than I thought!
  • it’s stupid that I even have to say this, but it’s really awesome to see a modern rock band entirely composed of women who actually know how to play their instruments
  • there’s nothing I love more than watching a musician get lost in their own music and Este Haim’s bass face epitomizes that so hard

(1c) lowlights

  • it started raining maybe 4 or 5 songs in – just a little rain at first and then the sky.opened.up; the rain was so bad that I had to open my umbrella and duck down so the hardcore HAIM fan behind me could see…which means I watched the rest of the show from underneath the umbrella and staring at the barricade – it sounded good, I guess
  • no, seriously, that rain was freaking awful, you don’t understand

(1d) overall thoughts

As I mentioned, I had very little knowledge of HAIM’s discography before this show, but I had heard good things about their live show. I always thought their band story was pretty cool – three sisters who grew up in my hometown and ended up getting huge with cool tunes. Into it. I had heard about their live show and schtick through osmosis, so I was intrigued to actually see them.

Their Fleetwood-Mac-with-an-edge vibe was cool, made sense, and definitely enjoyable. HAIM’s live performance definitely elevated their otherwise merely adequate songs. The girls’ energy, audience interaction, and occasionally coordinated dance moves made for a good show, but couldn’t hold up in the rain for me. A large part of me wishes it had never rained so I could give my full attention to them, but….yeah, that rain was bad and I was there for The Killers, guys.


Bottom line: It’s no surprise that HAIM is as big as they are; it’s awesome that they’re cool chicks doing their hippie-chic thing, if only it hadn’t started rain so intensely, they might’ve won me over completely.

(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. Shot at the Night
    7. Human
    8. Somebody Told Me
    9. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    10. Obstacle 1 (Interpol cover)
    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


  1. This Is Your Life
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(2b) highlights

  • it rained for two god awful hours and then stopped exactly 5 minutes before the band went onstage; g o d  b l e s s
  • Obstacle 1!!!! Interpol!!! Killing it!!!
  • Damn, “Shot at the Night” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll,” sounded so good; sometimes songs you’ve heard a million times hit you just right
  • Ronnie Vannucci’s face, Dave Keuning singing “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” into Brandon’s mic, and pink blazers are best; Ted Sablay’s guitar work on “Obstacle 1” was top-notch, as well
  • that Elvis cover is so beautiful, it’s almost obnoxious; like when something is so sweet and wonderful that it destroys you
  • fun fact: the “This Is Your Life” hand wave can cure almost any illness
  • the crowd didn’t suck, no one crowd-surfed, and 25,000 people stayed through the rain – I was shocked and so, so proud of the crowd for sticking around

(2c) lowlights

  • two. hours. of. constant. rain.
  • everyone was soaked, multiple friends lost their phones to rain damage, and people were seriously crying out there in the rain – a lot of my stuff was ruined and everyone was so miserable before the set started, but we stayed; it would’ve been nice of the band to say something along the lines of “thanks for staying” or “sorry you’re all wet,” but it’s okay
  • I miss Mark Stoermer, I need Mark Stoermer, I want Mark Stoermer, please someone anyone bring back Mark Stoermer, you are the light of my life and your absence is the size of Nevada in my heart </3 I respect his wishes to take a break, but I miss him so, so much </3

(2d) overall thoughts

Picture it: it’s around 7 pm, the sun has disappeared behind gray clouds, and the sky opens up like a monsoon. It wasn’t even supposed to rain that day. In less than 10 minutes, everything you own is soaking wet and there’s nowhere to go, nothing to put on, nowhere to hide. And there’s still over two hours until The Killers come on-stage. More. than. two. hours. Then, around 9:10, the rain stops. And at 9:15, The Killers come out with Mr. Brightside – it felt like a goddamn baptism, I swear to God.

The show was great – it always is. The crowd was overwhelming in a good way, the band had their usual raw, festival-level energy, and the sound was great. Brandon came into a few lines late and Ronnie missed a few beats, but almost no one noticed. Dave looked happy to be there and it felt like such a treat to hear “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” live at a festival for the first time in like 8 years. I’ve been an Interpol fan for as long as I’ve loved The Killers, so it was awesome to hear “Obstacle 1” in that setting – the cover itself felt so developed and clearly not thrown together at the last minute (a couple of TK covers have felt this way…). The lights were cool and I appreciated that TK paid tribute to Interpol and the NYC music scene while still definitely making the song their own.

I won’t lie and pretend like it wasn’t completely devastating to see The Killers perform without bassist Mark Stoermer. I was in the front and closer to Mark’s usual side of the stage, so his absence was even more obvious to me. I absolutely still had an incredible time and will always love this band so much, but I never forgot that Mark wasn’t there. I hope he comes back soon and knows how much people care about him. I hope he’s happy.


Bottom line: Rain can crush souls, but The Killers are particularly good at reviving them. We miss you, Mark Stoermer.