The band focused on finally showcasing their 2020 chart-topping album
Last night, the Killers strutted into South Philly and cranked out a hit-filled set with style. Fans packed into the Wells Fargo Center for the group’s large scale return to the city. Just over a year ago, The Killers performed in intimate show down the street at Franklin Music Hall. Now, the band is all warmed up and getting back to big rooms on their long-awaited Imploding The Mirage Tour.
Guitar legend Johnny Marr kicked things off with a solo set. He revealed two new tracks from his latest outing Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4 – “Night and Day” and the record’s lead single “Spirit, Power and Soul.” He also tapped into some material from The Smiths, wrapping up with their seminal song “How Soon Is Now?” Marr’s talent as a songwriter is rivaled only by his dynamic guitar tones. If there were any musicians in the audience, they were definitely taking notes.
To the surprise of the audience, it wouldn’t be Marr’s only appearance on stage that evening.
The Killers released their sixth studio album Imploding The Mirage back in August of 2020. Despite having to cancel the supporting tour, the album performed well. It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart. With live music at a standstill, the band uncharacteristically wasted no time getting to work on the follow-up. The result was Pressure Machine, which arrived almost exactly a year later to the day on August 13, 2021 and once again topped the Rock Albums chart.
They kicked things off with “My Soul’s Own Warning.” They wasted no time pulling out the theatrics. Shortly into the song, confetti canons blasted the crowd. There’s not many ways to start a show that are more fun that that. Just three songs in, the band broke out one of their all-time biggest hits “When You Were Young.” Flowers belted out the first line, “You is there in your…” Then he held the mic out to the crowd, and they screamed back, “HEARTACHE.” The moment confirmed the track’s legacy as one of the greatest rock anthems of a generation.
The “When We Were Young” performance kicked off one of the finest four-song stretches of any Killers show. The followed up “When We Were Young” with “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” “Smile Like You Mean It,” and “Shot at the Night.” It was an absolute master class in modern arena rock.
About halfway through the show, the band debuted their latest song “boy.” Written by frontman Brandon Flowers, the band debuted the track at Mad Cool Festival in Madrid back in July. Now, they are premiering the song stateside. The all-new “boy” was actually written before Pressure Machine and, says Flowers, the themes explored in the lyrics actually led him on the path to writing and recording that album.
Flowers elaborates, “This was the first song written after we had to cancel the Imploding The Mirage Tour due to the pandemic. I had recently moved back to Utah and started to make trips to Nephi, where I grew up. I found that the place I had wanted to get away from so desperately at 16 was now a place that I couldn’t stop returning to. I have a son approaching the age I was at that time in my life. With “boy”, I want to reach out and tell myself – and my sons – to not overthink it. And to look for the “white arrows” in their lives. For me now, white arrows are my wife, children, my songs and the stage.”
Next, they played “For Reasons Unknown” with a little help. The band brought a fan up on stage to take over on drums. “You look like you know what you’re doing,” Flowers said. The guy absolutely crushed it.
Other noteworthy moments included “Human,” “Somebody Told Me,” “A Dustland Fairytale,” “Read My Mind,” among others. The Killers focused on Imploding The Mirage and their watershed debut Hot Fuss. They played five tracks from each LP.
The Killers returned to the stage to begin their encore. The started off with “Spaceman,” arguably the finest cut from their 2008 outing Day & Age. Then, they invited the great Johnny Marr back on stage to the group for final two tracks of the night. They cranked out The Smiths’ “This Charming Man,” then the opening notes of “Mr. Brightside” hit. The arena damn near imploded. The crowd sang every word, and gave the group a huge ovation.
The Killers are pure slice of Americana. Just like music icons Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and others, their songs tell a story. One could close their eyes and actually visualize the pictures that the lyrics paint. There’s something to be said about a song that can take you on a mental magic carpet ride for a few minutes.
There’s a novelty t-shirt floating around that says, “I may be old, but I saw all the great bands.” One can only imagine that list includes the likes of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Who, Pink Floyd, Queen, and The Rolling Stones, among others. I can’t say for sure who all is included on the modern-day version of this list, but The Killers definitely have their place on it secured.