Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. One of the most potent I think and seeing the Killers live, about five feet from the man responsible for the anthems of my middle school days, was one of the most intense nostalgic moments of my life. They played every single song I could have possibly have wanted to hear (maybe except “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town” but that is a cover). Every time I was able to pinpoint exactly what song it was by the opening notes of the song sent shivers of joy down my spine and it felt like I was being doused with buckets of pure ecstasy as I lost my voice singing along to “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me.”
I couldn’t have asked for a better time honestly. With old memories mixing with the new ones I was creating, Brandon Flowers was the one constant, singing like it was his last performance on earth, instead of his first time in Albuquerque, playing for a half empty section of seating with the majority of his fans about 100 yards away in the grass. He didn’t care for one second that the people were tired from a day of music and that it was cold, he sang like his life god damn well depended on it. After that show, I knew why they made it big. Frankly, there are many songs that deal with teenage angst better than the Killers’ tracks, but what I realized that night is that the Killers bring something quite more to their formula. They bring true, pure emotion to their performances. Playing stadiums and large crowds must be one of the most difficult things for big bands, because the intimacy of music is lost, and normally the people closest are only the rich fans with parents who can afford to fork over a disgusting amount of money so their kids can see their idols. But Brandon Flowers and the Killers acted like we were in some coffee shop, that’s how genuinely happy he was. I just happened to be lucky enough to sneak down to the pit to experience this all up close, but I am positive this show would still have wowed me if I was in my original seats, about 30 feet back.
The exact details of the show are lost to me; all that I still really have imprinted on my brain is the feeling of bliss that was with me from the first notes of “Mr. Brightside” all the way to “When We Were Young” their last song. What I do remember though, is that they played a decent amount off of every album, tracks like “Human,” “Dustland Fairytale,” “Spaceman,” “Smile Like You Mean It,” “Read My Mind,” and “Shadowplay.” Knowing the lyrics to songs at shows is one of the best feelings in the world and I lost my voice very quickly attempting to out sing the gigantic PA system Flowers was using to amplify his voice. I felt like I was at a basketball game honestly, that’s how loud I was getting. I jumped up and down the whole time, attempting to move every second they played music. Some of the coolest moments of the show though had to be whenever they would blow off fireworks though. Right behind the drum set, there was a bunch of fireworks that went off twice in the show, once for one of their new songs that was ok, but the last time they did it, was the best climax of a show I have ever been to.
The last song they played before their encore was “All These Things I Have Done,” and it was probably one of my top three favorite songs I have ever seen live. It was the height of emotion for both the band and crowd and the ability for such easy crowd participation on the “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a solider” part created such a powerful feeling of unity I got goose bumps on the back of my neck as I roared along. Flowers allowed the crowd to go for about a minute straight of just yelling that back at him and no one ever missed a beat. It was such an accumulation of everything that had happened in my life, and everything that would it seemed.
Walking out of the Journal Pavilion that night, my own sentiments were reflected on the faces and in the conversations everyone else was having. The Killers are such an important part of music history for people my age, that seeing them live with that kind of energy really only has one available outcome: a god damn good time.