Review—The Killers at Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, Dec 03 2012
– by Christine Redmond
Opening with loud, thundering storm sounds and a stage in complete darkness, Vegas rock stars The Killers performed to an excitable, screaming crowd Monday night at the Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver. Unfortunately their captivating opener “A Matter of Time” was not to dictate the rest of the night’s performance.
Theoretically, The Killers check every box on the how-to-be-a-rock-band list but in the flesh they fail to deliver the goods. Sure, frontman Brandon Flowers knows how to wear a tight leather jacket, get fists pumping and romance an audience but the rest of band leaves much to be desired. Guitarist Dave Keuning has the hair of a throwback rockstar but all the stage presence of a waxwork. The same can be said for bassist Mark Stoermer. The only member with visible credibility and sweat-drenched passion is drummer Ronnie Vannucci Junior.
Flashy background visuals including landscape projections, swirling galaxies (cued for “Spaceman”), animated hearts (cringe) and music videos did little to save the show. However, the awkward but revealing ramblings of Flowers between songs was a small saving grace. From first dates and true love to the death of his mother Flowers’ personal insights into his lyrics seemed to really resonate with the audience who knew just when to switch from their rock ‘n’ roll fingers to their swaying lighter-apps.
Judging by the unrelenting screams and sea of hands in the air, however, the show went down a treat with the band’s fanbase from start to finish. They played all the hits including “Smile Like You Mean It”, “Human”, Somebody Told Me”, “Mr. Brightside” and ended with the obvious favourite “All These Things That I have Done”. During the latter the swaying crowd stole the limelight with their chant of “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” back at a smiling Flowers. And to top it all off: a confetti explosion! Predictable, but a crowd-pleaser nonetheless.
Honestly, the entire performance was predictable. With the exception of a Barbara Lewis cover – “Baby I’m Yours” – the set was not a huge departure from a Killers best-of. At this stage of their career it’s a given that they know how to play their instruments. Concertgoers deserve more than a band adequately playing guitar to churned-out hits; they deserve a passionate performance from a band that cares about their music. Regrettably, it seems that The Killers have lost their passion, or at least it looked that way from where I was sitting.
Support act Tegan and Sara were on familiar ground in Vancouver and attracted a large crowd to their opening set. Charming as always, the pair flew through their set which sounded much more electronic than usual and finished with their latest release “Closer” from their forthcoming album Hearthtrob. It’s not often you hear an audience screaming in excitement for the opening act but the duo knew just how to get the crowd going. They could easily give the headliners a run for their money. But based on The Killers’ performance that night, so could a lot of bands.