The Killers began their 2009 North American tour at the University of Denver's 8,000-person capacity Magness Arena Saturday night. And though the show was plagued by sound issues and got off to a shaky start, the night ultimately proved the tour will be remembered for its dazzling production and the Las Vegas quartet's anthemic tunes.
From the first notes of their set-opener, recent single "Spaceman," it was apparent the band -- frontman Brandon Flowers, guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer, and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. -- was suffering from the same muddy sound that had destroyed a potentially strong opening set from French electro rockers M83
As the engineers tinkered with the setup and the Killers struggled to find their footing on the huge palm tree covered stage, the crowd around the arena remained mostly seated. It wasn't until the first notes of the show's fourth song, "Somebody Told Me," that the audience began to move and sing along.
Muddy sound aside, the production quality of the show was top notch, and it was immediately clear why the Killers are on the arena circuit. A massive curtain of lights that functioned as a giant video screen hung behind the band and displayed images ranging from maps and globes during "The World We Live In" to shots of the group in their hometown of Las Vegas during "Sam's Town." The impressive display was augmented by machines that pumped out thousands of soap bubbles during "Joy Ride," a tune off their latest album, Day and Age, about driving across the desert to escape your problems.
Once the crew ironed out the sound issues, the band owned the arena and cranked out spot-on renditions of hit after hit for the final 45 minutes of their set. The recent single "Human" was followed by "Read My Mind" and "Mr. Brightside," before canons filled the air with confetti and the show climaxed with "All These Things I've Done," off their 2004 debut Hot Fuss, as the crowd sang along to the refrain: "I got soul / But I'm not a soldier!"
The three-song encore that wrapped up the 90-minute set was highlighted by "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and a blinding shower of sparks that rained down on the arena during "When You Were Young." The resulting smoke set off fire alarms in the building as the crowd filed out.
If the second half of the set was any indication, the Killers are on the road with what will be remembered as one of the definitive stage shows of the year.
"For Reasons Unknown"
"Somebody Told Me"
"Smile Like You Mean It"
"This Is Your Life"
"I Can't Stay"
"Bling (Confessions Of A King)"
"The World We Live In"
"Read My Mind"
"All These Things I've Done"
"Jenny Was a Friend of Mine"
"When You Were Young"
Guitarist Dave Keuning