The Killers at Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, PA, May 15, 2014 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Killers

The Killers at Sands Bethlehem Event Center, Bethlehem, PA, May 15, 2014,

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Back in November, to the disappointment of a huge fanbase, The Killers announced it was going on hiatus. Guitarist Dave Keuning had disclosed to British music magazine NME his exhaustion and growing displeasure over touring, and although talk swirled that the band was breaking up, the truth was The Killers was only taking a break. Frontman Brandon Flowers expressed desire to record a solo album to follow up 2010’s Flamingo. Drummer Ronnie Vannucci was said to be planning the same thing, working on a sophomore album with his own side project, Big Talk. Rumor had it that the band would be out through 2014, maybe longer.

So when The Killers announced Thursday night’s show at Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, it was undoubtedly greeted by a sigh of relief from the faithful. Flowers addressed his band’s not-so-extended time off midway through the band’s 90-minute set, telling the sellout crowd, “Sometimes when you take a little time off, you worry people will forget about you,” then adding, “but you’re still here!” to a raucous round of applause.

Seeing the band amid a sea of their biggest fans provides ample evidence as to why The Killers might have truncated its hiatus. Flowers and company are gods to these people. Among attendees of crying 15-year-old girls with their mothers, 20-something drunken bros, a few older fans, and more than a couple women in flowing garments and flower garland headdresses, it was often hard to tell what segment of the audience was loudest in its yelps of joy.

Through the band’s 17-song set, which covered tracks from all the band’s four studio albums, Flowers, Vannucci, Keuning, and bassist Mark Stoermer were in top form. Flowers owned the stage, sauntering from stage left to stage right, singing behind the E-shaped lighting bold at center stage, and hopping on the monitors more than a few times to oversee his domain. Not a song seemed out of place, except for an ill-advised cover of Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” for which, despite its best intentions, the band doesn’t have the Americana-rock authenticity to successfully pull off. [The verse of The Psychedelic Furs’ “Heartbreak Beat” that served as an intro to Sam’s Town‘s “Read My Mind” fared much better.]

The Killers didn’t leave out one hit in its valiant return and were greeted as prodigal sons for it. But some of the evening’s best highlights were newer tracks, and one very old one. An extended spoken intro where Flowers repeatedly questioned fans and members of his own band as to whether their “dancing shoes” were on preceded the not especially dance-y, slide guitar-filled “From Here On Out,” from the band’s newest album, 2012’s Battle Born. “Runaway,” from the same, was absolutely electrifying. Yet for perhaps the best performance of the night, the penultimate track of the evening, the band reached back to its debut for that album’s opening cut, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” a song rendered with positively Flea-esque bass-heavy groove, prompting some of the most exuberant crowd dancing of the evening.

After the band’s final song, the smash “Mr. Brightside,” The Killers left the stage, all but for Vannucci, who took a moment standing behind his drums taking in the deafening applause. Stepping down from his riser, Vannucci approached center stage, still mulling the moment, and before walking off uttered the most delightfully portentous words of a band returned: “Tell all your friends.” (


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