The Killers 6/11/17

(a) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    7. Human
    8. Run For Cover
    9. Somebody Told Me
    10. For Reasons Unknown
    11. A Dustland Fairytale
    12. Read My Mind
    13. Runaways
    14. All These Things That I’ve Done
    15. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • ughhh, love the feeling of knowing The Killers can headline any and all festivals even when they don’t have a new album, total babes
  • some found this set too short but I thought it was the perfect length for a Sunday night when I had work the next day and it was a million degrees outside
  • I love when the band opens with “Mr. Brightside,” especially at a festival – if only because most people think everyone sees The Killers just to hear “Mr. Brightside.” But nope. Everyone stays and the band keeps playing on.
  • “Run For Cover” sounded even better than the night before, if that’s possible. Brandon seemed lighter and looser, and I was into it. We’ve got a singalong on our hands, folks
  • the crowd was freaking massive at the BB&T Center in Camden and everyone was so into it; over 30,000 people were there and we were right there in the 4th row center. incredible.

(c) lowlights

  • #KILLSHADOWPLAY2017, I’M NOT KIDDING
  • it was SO. GODDAMN. HOT. no. like, really. Brandon had to change his outfit halfway through the set – something I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do. Dave wiped his face with his towel between every single song, it was nuts. I’m almost positive the show ended early because it was so hot. I felt hot, tired, and old, so I wasn’t complaining.
  • #KillShadowplay2017

(d) overall thoughts

 

In case anyone thought differently, New Jersey in the middle of June is hot. Attending a concert in New Jersey in the middle of June is hot. But attending a concert in New Jersey in the middle of June with 30,000 people in an outdoor venue is definitely goddamn hot. But, obviously, no one was going to miss The Killers just because of that.

The night was hot, the lights were hot, the crowd was hot, body heat packing everyone in, the distant rumble of thousands of fans standing behind me, and then the band came out. The fact that a band like The Killers can legitimately open a festival set with “Mr. Brightside” like it’s no big deal will never not amaze me. Recently, a flurry of articles have popped up questioning how it’s possible that “Mr. Brightside” has remained in the UK music charts for over a decade since its release. How is it possible? I don’t know, maybe it’s an incredible song that everyone instantly knows the words to and connects with because it’s catchy as hell, timeless, and uh, oh The Killers are phenomenal songwriters, and why is this a question again?

Even if you’re not interested in The Killers, or find them overrated, or annoying, or overplayed, or overblown, or uninteresting, or…whatever — I don’t think it’s unfair to recognize the effect they’ve had on generations of music fans. They haven’t promoted a real studio album with new music and haven’t played this particular venue since 2013 yet everyone around me knew every song for the most part. How many other bands can say that? Honestly. Who?

Most songs felt like business as usual – having seen a set like this many times – but that’s not a bad thing. I still feel like every time I’ve seen the band, they’ve grown as performers. Dave has been coming out of his shell again the last couple of years after an odd period of retreating behind his mane of hair, and genuinely looks happy to be performing again. Ronnie is P u l l i n g O f f those white pants and Brandon’s voice and energy feels stronger than its ever been. We miss you so much, Mark. “Run For Cover” sounded even better hearing it the second time live and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to hear it. The boys are cooking something special and I’m ready for a taste.

Bottom line: After seeing this show and hearing a taste of The Killers new music, I really feel like the band is on the precipice of something great. Over a decade of success, the delight of millions, and integrity in performance proves that all signs lead to a pot of gold for the guys from Las Vegas. Something special is on the horizon and I feel so lucky to be witnessing it.

The Killers 6/10/17

(a) setlist

    1. Human
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. All The Songs Have Been Written/One More Song (unclear title)
    6. Bling (Confession of a King)
    7. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    8. Run For Cover
    9. Somebody Told Me
    10. Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. My List
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. Shot at the Night
  2. When You Were Young
  3. Mr. Brightside

(b) highlights

  • NEW. MUSIC. FIN.A.LLY.
  • but seriously. aside from the brilliant “Shot at the Night” in 2013, we’ve gone 5 goddamn years without new music from these dudes, and I have no idea how I survived that long. this new music was so needed.
  • including “My List” in here was so sweet and heartfelt and made me so happy that the band is giving it another shot after the Sam’s Town shows; my recent wish is for it to replace “Smile Like You Mean It” in the setlist (don’t hurt me, SLYMI apologists)
  • I’ve heard “A Dustland Fairytale” live dozens of times, but it never hit me harder than at this show – I was in tears before the chorus even hit. so beautiful.
  • I can def jam with “Run For Cover” and the little piano ballad; I can’t wait to hear those at their most complete and feel so lucky to have seen them in Atlantic City
  • this show in particular felt like being at home with my friends; everyone around us were the best fans, the best people, and constantly bring so much joy into my life; I felt so terribly lucky to have been there with them, watching this band, hearing those songs, and living that night

(c) lowlights

  • #KillShadowplay2017
  • #KillShadowplay2017
  • #KillShadowplay2017

(d) overall thoughts

Some shows are really light and fun, and other ones hit you harder than you anticipate. Somehow, this show at the Borgata – literally the 4th time in 5 years The Killers have played this venue in the summer – ended up being a combination of the two. A pre-summer getaway to New Jersey after a predictably-delayed bus ride dropped us in a familiar casino only half-prepared for the unforgettable night.

Going to see The Killers at this point isn’t strictly about seeing the band these days. At some point during the Battle Born tour, traveling to shows turned into an event to see old friends, catchup with new ones, and chat about what was to come. But now, the familiarity runs so much deeper. Another trip to New Jersey means traveling home to see family. The faces of people you love so dearly, the faces of people you hate even more, and – on top of that – an unforgettable show by the boys.

The security guards remember you, the smell of the metal barricade brings back memories, you don’t need to reference signs in the casino to find your way back to the room even though casinos are strictly designed to confuse you, and everything feels just the same if not slightly changed. And that description fits the band perfectly. Brandon is still spry and in a dumb vaguely tropical-themed, sharp suit, though turning gray at the edges. Dave’s hair is curlier and he’s looking slightly older but in a refined way. Ronnie’s still got that cut-off metal-inspired tee on his tall frame and Mark is still gone. And everyone’s there, almost everyone you know and remember, and they feel those feelings too. We’re all home.

Kicking things off with “Human” and “Spaceman” instantly put me in a fun mood to dance, be happy, and have a great time with my friends. We were tucked in and surrounded by the best people and echoed all our “darlin’s” perfectly. The new piano ballad that may or may not be called “One More Song” or “All The Songs Have Been Written” turns out to be a sweet gem and “Bling” never stops being the song that resonates with me most. I audibly boo and fake vomit at Shadowplay (Brandon, please let Ian Curtis have a peaceful rest and let these laser beams lie next to him), but that’s to be expected.

When “Run For Cover” starts, I almost leave my body and realize that everything that’s happening is going to feel so portentous and meaningful one day, so I should simply bask in it as each moment passes. For the record, the song isn’t single material, but I feel lyrical resonance of “This River Is Wild” and Brandon’s “Diggin’ Up The Heart,” so can’t wait to hear that one on the album. “My List” is an unexpected sweet surprise that allowed for a much-needed stomp-clap combo.

Then, when “Dustland” started, something strange happened. Along with pretty much everyone in the crowd around me, I’ve seen that song live dozens of times. It’s always beautiful and meaningful and certainly a “moment” during the show. But for some reason, after hearing it for probably the thousandth time, I completely broke down before Brandon got to the chorus. I watched him sing along, watched Dave turn his face into the light, and watched Ronnie beat the skins in the shadows, and I lost it.

Isn’t it unbelievable to think that because of one band, a group of four guys, dozens of songs, and nothing but pure chance, my life managed to intersect with all these incredible people over a decade in such a way that we all stood in some event center in some casino in New Jersey right then and there? I met one of my best friends in the world on the sidewalk waiting to hear the premiere of “When You Were Young” 11 years ago. I met another one of my best friends on a message board when Sam’s Town was released. I’ve met people in California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Delaware, Connecticut, even Canada because of this band. And that doesn’t even include all the people who’ve come from elsewhere to meet me. San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Virginia, Seattle, London, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Texas, Utah, Las Vegas. And some of these people will remain in my life for as long as I live, all because of The Killers. It’s unbelievable. I love this band so much and I’ll never be able to repay them for the life they incidentally gave to me. Thank you to every Victim that’s been a part of it.

Bottom line: I’ve seen The Killers live a lot – probably too many times – but I never take it for granted. Every show is special because it’s like coming home. We all get lost in the music and the lights and the familiar hand gestures and drum beats and guitar licks and bass lines. It’s not an overstatement to say that The Killers truly gave me the life I have – I would be nothing without the friends that stand by my side and we’d all be nothing without the four guys from Las Vegas that brought us together. Cheers, Victims. I love you.

The Killers 7/22/16

(a) setlist

    1. Enterlude
    2. Change Your Mind
    3. Spaceman
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bones
    6. Losing Touch
    7. Bling (Confession of a King)
    8. Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
    9. Human
    10. Somebody Told Me
    11. Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll
    12. For Reasons Unknown
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done
    18. Mr. Brightside

Encore:

  1. Shot at the Night
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • The Killers are perfection, thank you and goodnight.
  • as someone who sees this band a lot…I really appreciate when they change things up; opening with “Enterlude” and “Change Your Mind” was definitely different and I loved it a lot
  • even though they aren’t my favorite songs in any way and I could name probably 20 Killers songs I’d want to hear before them, it was nice to hear “Bones” and “Losing Touch” for the first time in legit 8 years
  • for some reason, Brandon seemed really emotionally into “A Dustland Fairytale” and “Runaways” at this show, and that’s always a cool thing to see
  • Ronnie Vannucci continually dominates existence and all other dudes should pretty much just quit trying
  • the Elvis cover is probably the only repeated Killers cover that I genuinely really like and feel excited when it starts
  • the very confused yet earnest speeches before both “Losing Touch” and “Glamorous Indie Rock ‘n’ Roll” (“This is called Losing Touch. You can find it on the YouTube”; “I went to Dave’s apartment and we read on the computer…”)
  • “Shot at the Night” just might be in my top 10 favorite Killers songs; maybe even higher
  • being all the barricade with everyone I was with; sharing the experience with the people around you can really enhance the emotional setting and I won’t ever forget the feeling of being alongside my friends
  • Ronnie Vannucci threw me his drumstick just before the encore; air-drumming your heart out really pays off, people ❤
  • “Tell all your friends.” – Ronnie Vannucci Junior, savior, genius, poet

(c) lowlights

  • Mark August Stoermer, every show is incomplete without you, I hope you realize that
  • do we really need “Shadowplay” still in this set after literally 9 years? no, we do not need “Shadowplay” still in this set after 9 years
  • why was only one song from “Battle Born” played? that album was good enough for me, BFlow. it was more than good enough for me.
  • one day, this band will resurrect “Believe Me Natalie” and I will be there to see it, I swear to all that is holy this will happen

(d) overall thoughts

Oh, Atlantic City. For some reason, almost on accident, I’ve seen The Killers in Atlantic City three times in the last four years. And strangely, every time has been particularly great. Even though casino shows are usually a drag – whether because of the crowd or something else – this show at the Borgata was fantastic. It could just be that the last time I saw The Killers was at the very very rainy and very very massive Governor’s Ball Festival, but this Borgata show felt exceptionally intimate. You could see Brandon’s pores, you could see Dave’s gray guitar picks tucked into his mic, you could hear Ronnie laugh.

The set was an unusual one in that it was so heavy on both Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town songs, but I sort of loved that. Battle Born felt a little neglected, but it also felt like the band was having fun. There was a freshness to it all, which is a great irony considering nearly every song performed was released between four and 12 years ago. No one can say that The Killers don’t treat every performance like it’s their first time playing all those tracks. There’s passion, energy, excitement, and it never feels like they’re going through the motions.

The wonder of all these shows, the reason we all keep coming back, and the reason why I’ll never stop going is all the same. Because it’s home. Brandon’s showmanship, silly speeches, and equally silly jackets. Dave’s understated presence and flawless talent (seriously, have you ever heard that dude miss a note?). Ronnie’s playful energy and awe-inspiring performance. The songs. The lights. The feeling. That shit is home.

 

Bottom line: The Killers are my children, my heart, my precious angels, and the ones that welcome me home with every single live performance. How could I not love them for that?

Coldplay 7/17/16

(a) setlist

    1. A Head Full of Dreams
    2. Yellow
    3. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
    4. The Scientist
    5. Birds
    6. Paradise
    7. Always in My Head
    8. Princess of China
    9. Everglow
    10. Clocks
    11. Midnight
    12. Charlie Brown
    13. Hymn For the Weekend
    14. Fix You
    15. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
    16. Viva La Vida
    17. Adventure of a Lifetime
    18. Trouble (acoustic)
    19. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (acoustic)

Encore:

  1. Earth Angel (The Penguins cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  2. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  3. A Sky Full of Stars
  4. Up & Up

(b) highlights

  • seeing Coldplay for the first time was pretty cool, I guess!
  • ummmmm, Michael J. Fox came out and played two songs from one of the greatest movies of all time, Back to the Future, and apparently some people weren’t crying which is insane to me because I was sobbing
  • “Trouble”!!! “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face”!!! “Yellow”!!! “The Scientist”!!! Basically anything released before X&Y!!!!
  • seeing “Up & Up” was pretty cool, considering it’s my favorite track from Coldplay’s newest album, Adventure of a Lifetime (I swear that Noel Gallagher, who plays guitar on it, has something to do with it)
  • getting to experience a literal stadium of people singing along to a song like “Fix You” really is something you treasure forever, even if it’s a bit overly packaged up and wrapped in an over-produced bow; it’s still a beautiful song

(c) lowlights

  • ironically, a lowlight was literally all the light-up bracelets Coldplay is known for having at their shows; I get that they’re supposed to add something to the experience and that they “look cool” when all of them light up accordingly, but I personally found them really distracting; the best songs I found where ones where the bracelets weren’t implemented at all
  • why does Chris Martin have to be so annoying? it’s like – I know that he’s honestly probably not a bad dude, but there’s this strange self-righteousness about him that puts me over the edge. oh and he dresses like he shops at a store where Lisa Frank somehow sponsored clothing for grown men
  • getting to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey from NYC is literal. hell. on. earth.

(d) overall thoughts

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about Coldplay that can basically be brought down to this: I think their first two albums, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, are mindblowingly incredible records, and 75% of everything else they’ve put out is garbage. Now, I know that’s not really fair and maybe it’s not even true, but it feels real to me. To me, X&Y was ultimately a very disappointing album that included a couple of good tracks – “Talk” and “Fix You.” I hated Viva La Vida when it came out, but grew to really like about half the record a few years later. I thought Mylo Xylophone (I know it’s not called that but I swear I can’t ever remember the real name so I just call it that and honestly, does anyone actually care? no.) was overwhelmingly pop trash, but I could allow myself to relent to it and even enjoy about half of it. I thought their “stripped back” and “underproduced” album Ghost Stories was absolutely dull and worked like a sleeping pill, and believe their newest Adventure of a Lifetime is a midlife crisis album with little soul or heart save one or two songs.

All of that may seem harsh and confusing considering I went all the way to New Jersey to see them in a stadium, but the truth is this: I want to like Coldplay. I want them to win me over and blow me away. But they just don’t, in terms of recent album releases. So, I decided to give them a chance and see them live. And did they blow me away? No. Were they totally terrible? No. Do I still feel just as confused about them as before? Yeah, pretty much.

The moments I’ll remember most from the performance are Michael J. Fox joining the band to perform “Earth Angel” and “Johnny B. Goode,” and not just because Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies ever. I definitely won’t forget how everyone was singing along to “Yellow” and “Fix You,” and how it felt like everything in the entire stadium had stopped when the band played “Trouble” on a small side stage, only with acoustic guitars to accompany them. I’ll even remember everyone singing the refrain of “Up & Up” as the night came to a close. And I want to remember all those moments, because they were beautiful.

But you know what I wish I could forget about that night? I wish I could forget about the fact that fireworks – real fireworks, not just spark displays – went off four times during the performance. Four. I wish I could forget how those damn light-up bracelets made everyone scream with joy as if no one had ever seen shiny lights before in their lives. I wish I could forget about the gimmicks of the performance because, to be honest, they all felt a bit cheap despite the fact that they were clearly some display of overcompensation I’ll never understand. Truly, one of my favorite parts of the night was during “Yellow” – and that song isn’t even one of my favorite Coldplay tracks or anything. I mean, it is pretty great and definitely a classic, but it affected me so much because it was the first song without any damn fireworks or flashing lights or some big whole display. It was literally just the band playing their song on a stage. That’s all. That might not be what people want when they pay to see an internationally renowned band at a 60,000+ person stadium, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I was never meant to really see Coldplay in that setting because the Coldplay I used to love doesn’t exist anymore. And that’s okay! Because, despite all those flashing lights (“all those lights and all that sound,” ughhhh), the beautiful moments were still wonderful in their own right and that’s something strong enough to want to remember.

 

Bottom line: Seeing Coldplay didn’t really solve my conflicted feelings about them, but more settled the fact that human beings seem to really, really like flashing lights. Despite that, Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future reenactments aren’t something I could turn down and neither are Coldplay songs written before 2005.

Note: These pictures are either taken with my Canon Rebel XS, a Galaxy s5, or through a monocular….because I was literally sitting in the rafters, don’t judge.

The Killers 6/20/15

(a) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Human
    7. Somebody Told Me
    8. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
    9. The Rising Tide
    10. Shot at the Night
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. From Here On Out
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Be Still
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. Uncle Jonny
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • UNNNNCCCLLLLEEEE JJJOOONNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYY!
  • “Be Still” – “dedicated to the fans” – WOW
  • seeing “The Rising Tide” live for the first time; it’s a song rarely played live that really needed its moment to shine, and it definitely shined here
  • the entire show felt so special with so many unexpected moments; I constantly felt like my heart was going to burst
  • the part when I was having such a good time and going crazy that my phone in my pocket posted a Facebook status, called three people I haven’t spoken to in years, changed my clock to military time, and changed wifi networks
  • Ronnie Vannucci in tiny Atlantic City shorts, byeeeeeeee
  • did I mention they played Uncle FREAKING Jonny for the first time since 2007!!!!!

(c) lowlights

  • Borgata Festival Park is the worst place on Earth, never go there ever, please do not give them money; their security guards are pointless, rude, idiotic, and waiting for this show was one of the worst experiences e.v.e.r.

(d) overall thoughts

Saying the weekend of June 18th-21st was an adventure is a bit of, uh, an understatement. My friends and I spent the 18th and 19th in Delaware at the Firefly Festival, the 20th in Atlantic City in New Jersey, and went back to Firefly on the 21st. I would definitely not recommend doing that if anyone is considering it…

Anyway, the wait and line for this show was a nightmare beyond belief, but none of that ultimately mattered. It was so hot, so sticky, so New Jersey, but damn, this show was like a sneak attack in the end – no one saw it coming, but it ended up being one of the best Killers shows I’ve ever seen. Sometime toward the end of 2014 and for a lot of 2015, I mentioned time and time again to my friends (and anyone who would listen) that The Killers should play one of my favorite songs live, “Uncle Jonny.” They hadn’t play it live since 2007, but they did it. They freaking played it and I totally lost it. Before that, that played “The Rising Tide,” a virtually forgotten track on their last full album Battle Born. It was never forgotten by fans, so hearing it live made it so energized and brought another part of that album alive for me.

Perhaps the most emotional moment for everyone dropped with “Be Still.” For honest to God the first time ever, the band acknowledged the hardcore fans who travel from everywhere and have been following The Killers for a long time. Brandon dedicated “Be Still” to all those people – which obviously includes myself – so hearing one of my favorite Killers song ever along with that dedication was a truly meaningful and poignant moment for me and all my friends. And I will forever be incredibly thankful for that. The Killers were still technically on “hiatus” at the time, so seeing them without a real album to promote and just playing together at a random casino in New Jersey was unexpectedly wonderful.

Bottom Line: Pretty much the only reason I continue to drag my ass to Atlantic City to see The Killers is because, every once and a while, an incredible and memorable show like this one drops and makes everyone’s hearts burst.