I’m unsure the world needs another Brandon Flowers review, least of all by me, but …
It’s hard to know what Killers fans made of tonight, at least those who mistook the band’s initial love of new wave pop for irony. As there was plenty tonight, with Flowers mining Hall & Oates, Steve Winwood and his inner statesman; rolling vowels like the finest evangelical preacher.
He’s stopped wearing road kill, and is such a pin up you can see the folds; the sort of star who enjoys making videos. It was easy to imagine him backstage telling himself not to stand on the speaker stacks until at least the fourth song, which lasted all of five seconds, as he jumped up to greet the crowd relishing the a-Ha riffs of Untangled love. He’s a natural front man, and his own biggest fan, endearingly mouthing along to the lyrics he should be leaving to his gospel backing singers
Another newie, Can’t deny my Iove grows with each airing; an 80’s hairbrush in the mirror classic unwritten at the time, while Crossfire from Flamingo hits FM drive time with laser guided accuracy. He introduces Magdalene like we’re queuing for baptism, before the sleek lullaby of Hard Enough. Sounding like an off-cut from Springsteen’s underrated Tunnel of Love album, its late night reassurance (‘‘Been telling myself that I can roll with the changes,’), as he braces for the morning he fears may never come.
The Killers’ Shot at the night, (reminiscent of Starship’s Nothing’s gonna stop us), would have slotted in perfectly, instead we get Digging up your heart, which he’s more pleased with than he will be in 5 years time. And despite a brilliantly subdued Jenny was a friend of mine, things flagged a little, until the synths of Mr Brightside, magnified to Duke Dumont levels, conquered once again.
Only a week after the release of The Desired Effect, his fans had done their homework, greeting the Italo-disco of Lonely Town with the enthusiasm of Only the young. Due to her appearance the previous night, the surprise was not Chrissie Hynde, but her singing Don’t get me wrong like she’d never heard it before. She’s not quite the Patti Smith she thinks she is, although was better suited to the duet on the tightly programmed Between me and you.
It’s followed by the all-conquering, I Can Change with its synth line of Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy, which Flowers pays respect to by dropping in the original’s ‘Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away…’ It’s a defiant slice of pop perfection. He closes with the gospel of Still want you, as the crowd sing back the words to a man so on top of his game it’s unlikely he needs validation.