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From Vegas to Manila: The Killers, a life force

By: - Writing Editor
/ 07:06 PM September 28, 2013

Finally after four years of waiting since their 2010 “Day and Age” concert tour in Manila was cancelled, The Killers performed in a jam-packed Smart Araneta Coliseum for two hours on Thursday night, September 26.  On tour to promote their latest album “Battle Born,” the band did about 20 songs and the Filipino audience were left asking for more. Video by Ryan Leagogo/INQUIRER.net

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The close-to-two-hour show was inimitably grand and unrelenting. The Killers, as contemporary lingo would have it, killed it!

Fans of the American rock band were slow to fill up the Big Dome Thursday night—it didn’t look like the place would be filled. But by 9:15, every corner of the stadium was packed; they had come in time to catch the first number.

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Thunderous applause greeted the four-man band from Las Vegas, who kicked off the “Battle Born World Tour” concert with their mid-2000s hit, “Mr. Brightside.” The patron section was particularly animated; the seats had been removed for the show, giving audience members there room to jump and dance. A sizeable portion of the crowd took out phones and gadgets to record the energetic, coruscating opener.

The fans, mostly in their 20s and 30s, sang along to the anthemic “Mr. Brightside,” about a jealous, frustrated boyfriend. Vocalist-songwriter Brandon Flowers was visibly elated with the warm welcome. He let the audience sing some parts while he moved around the stage.

The band followed this up with the similarly fast-paced “Spaceman,” Flowers’ impassioned vocals conjuring up less pained and more abstract imagery.

The Killers, whose name was inspired by a fictional band in a New Order music video, proceeded with a slew of New Wave-inspired and heartland rocker ditties. The charismatic singer’s voice sounded like a cross between The Cars’ Rick Ocasek and The Cure’s Robert Smith.

CHARISMATIC frontman Brandon Flowers reaches out to screaming fans. INQUIRER/RAFFY LERMA

Invigorated

Currently sporting a cleaner, more dapper look (as opposed to his semiscruffy style circa 2010), Flowers was characteristically invigorated, air-punching while singing, intermittently hopping on elevated parts of the stage.

“Sa wakas (finally),” he said, “The Killers are here … thank you for not giving up on us!”

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The songs were sequenced just right, the band playing songs from the latest album “Battle Born,” then returning to more familiar songs: “The Way It Was” was followed by “Smile Like You Mean It,” and so on.

Dazzling flashes from the backdrop, the blinking lightning insignia onstage … heightened sensations.  During a trippy rendition of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” a fantastic light show erupted, with laser-like lights projecting from, and intersecting above, the stage.

Flowers briefly alluded to the band’s origins. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” he said, immediately adding, “Our motto is b***s*** because The Killers are here, in Manila, tonight!”

From the nearly 20-song set, several numbers stood out: “Miss Atomic Bomb” was a swooping and bittersweet arena hymn; “Runaways” had the audience jumping to its gradually ascending melodies; “All These Things That I’ve Done” was just so spectacularly done (and Flowers and fans merrily sang the “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” part); there was even a surprisingly powerful cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” originally by Tommy James and The Shondells (later popularized by Tiffany in 1987).

All told, The Killers’ music—pulsating, permeating—is a life force.

THE KILLERS treats Manila fans to a vigorous performance, and gadgets were hard at work all throughout to record it. INQUIRER / RAFFY LERMA

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TAGS: Entertainment, Oliver M. Pulumbarit, review, The Killers
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