Despite the similarities between the hot, gambling town of their hometown of Las Vegas, and the hot humid city of Singapore, it’s taken over ten years for The Killers to finally make it here.
While not perhaps in the upper ranks of pop stadium acts of last years F1 headliner Katy Perry, or Sunday night’s Rhianna, there is a warm if not quite hysterical welcome as they take to their stage, and launch into a 90 minute set of confident, glam tinged rock, finely honed through almost constant touring since the band formed ten years ago.
A large part of their appeal lies in the charismatic, and handsome persona of lead man Brandon Flowers. Despite being in many ways the antithesis of the front man of a successful rock band – trim, squeaky clean, and son of a Mormon family – any doubt on his ability to command a field of exuberant Singaporean’s is quickly put to rest. Jumping onto the stage, in trademark black leather jacket, soon dispensed as he gets into his energetic performance, his vocal delivery soars over the fiendishly humid night, bringing songs of Las Vegas broken dreams, teenage runaways, jealousy and heartbreak to Singapore.
The core of songs that made their debut, Hot Fuss, such an instant commercial success, dominates the set. Bringing together elements of English indie rock, with a bright, confident sheen, the songs from their debut still have the power to impress, ten years, on. “Mr. Brightside”, receives an ecstatic reception, along with “Smile Like you Mean It”, “All these Things That I’ve Done” and penultimate set closer, the epic “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”, which is accompanied by an enthusiastic sing along by the audience.
Five years on since Brandon Flowers laid down their ambition to displace U2 as the biggest band in the world, it feels for all their success, that they’ve not delivered the goods. For a still relatively young band, they sound dangerously close to becoming a nostalgia act, content to be able to ride on previous triumphs.
Despite backed by an incredibly tight band, with the muscular drumming of Ronnie Vanucci helping propel the songs, the rest of the set is decidedly patchy. Choice tracks from more recent offerings “Runaways”, “Human”, as well as less well known fare, including their cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay” stand up well, but patience begins to strain when they play a cover of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone now”, and the songs from ballad heavy album “Battle Born” lack the melodic punch and grandeur of their greatest songs.
For tonight though, these minor shortcomings are forgiven, and to the delight of the Singaporean fans thronged in the steaming hot Padang, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay in Vegas.