Let's talk for a hot sec about The Killers.
The Killers are one of those bands that music nerds love to say they hate. They've spent the last decade all over the place, filling up arenas, constantly on the radio. Guys in frat houses like them. "Woo" girls think reading the lyrics will make them deep. Sure, all those things may be true but deep down every 20-something Brooklynite wannabe with a keyboard could likely trace their decision to start an electro-pop band back to hearing the intro riffs of "Somebody Told Me" on a ride home from the mall.
My For me it happened in 2004 with "Mr. Brightside." Not that I wanted to start a band, but the song really clicked. That year I spent a lot of time in the student union at University of Hartford, running around being general manager of the student news station. MTV U was running a loop on the televisions in every hall, and the "Brightside" video was on heavy rotation. It got a little annoying at the time, but looking back now there's a certain fondness to it.
A year and a half later, at a yard sale the weekend before officially moving from Providence back to Hartford for work, I bought Hot Fuss for a dollar. It wouldn't leave my car's rotation for a year, but I always skipped "Somebody Told Me." Honestly, the track seems a little weak and really doesn't fit the vibe of any other song they've done.
That's why when The Killers played it second at their Mohegan Sun show Wednesday night I was happy. No sense in keeping it until later in the set. Dump the track because it's commercially necessary, and move on.
The entire set was basically a stream of singles, save for a few tracks from their latest, "Battle Born." From Spaceman to Human to Reasons Unknown, Here On Out, and many others.
While it would have been nice to hear a deep cut or two, the singles did the trick. Frontman Brandon Flowers commanded the audience's attention at all times, with nary a soul in the arena missing a word while singing along. Rhythm fell behind from time to time but overall the band was tight, delivering a solid rock show behind Flowers's true-to-recording vocals.
In fact it struck me a few songs in just how committed this crowd was. The arena wasn't sold out, but still packed to the brim for a Wednesday night. The arena floor was a sea of hands in the air and throbbing along to every chorus.
During "Bad Moon Rising" [a surprising good and completely accurate-to-tone cover of the Creedence track] it would be clear just how fanatical some fans could get. That was when I noticed the five guys across the aisle. Most likely fueled by inordinate amounts of alcohol and caught up in the energy cycling off stage, to say these adult gentlemen were going nuts would be an understatement.
At several points one of them, unable and unknowing how to contain his boundless energy, would rip his shirt up and over his head like a toddler so excited for ice cream that he couldn't contain himself.
The band would also riff on Psychedelic Furs's Heartbreak Beat, with Flowers heaping praise on the band's Richard Butler. It bled into "Read My Mind," followed by "Runaways" before closing their regular set with "All These Things That I've Done." The sea of throbbing hands would open up in a chanting chorus of the song's hook.
Again it would be a surprise when the band left the stage, as barely anyone moved from their seats. They would stay in place throughout the four song encore and well after the set closer, my nostalgic "Mr. Brightside."
House lights went up for the final song and the sea of hands grew far around the arena. The man to my right flipped up his shirt for ice cream again before ripping it right off. For a moment I wished I was excited enough to do the same, then remembered it wasn't 2004 anymore and just kept singing along.