The Killers stuck with their hits and paid tribute to Fats Domino at Voodoo for loyal fans Sunday night.
Continuing in the Voodoo tradition of striking a nostalgic chord on Sunday, The Killers performed at the Altar stage in the final time slot of the weekend. Before the show started, it was clear that Le Plur headliner Dillon Francis outdrew The Killers, and those who came for the band were rather homogenous in demographic and commitment to the band. The neon-wearing, entire-concert-filming teenagers and twentysomethings were nowhere to be seen, and there was plenty of room to stand, all the way up to the front. Even close enough for a great view, one could easily stand with space around or dance. Families with kids, and adults clad in flannel a decade older than the average Voodoo attendee milled about waiting for the show.
The Killers wasted no time jumping into exactly what the crowd of loyal fans wanted. One traveled from Australia to hear “Mr. Brightside,” and he got his wish when it kicked off their set, followed by “Spaceman” and “A Place Like This.” The band released Wonderful Wonderful this September, but The Killers knew that the fans were not here for new music. The Sunday crowd wanted to hear the hits, and for the most part they did. The band doesn’t shy away from the songs that made it famous. As lead singer Brandon Flowers said in an interview with Jonathan Heaf for GQ, “I get a buzz when I see ‘Mr. Brightside’ coming up on the set list. It’s the single that made us. It would be unchivalrous to start being snooty about our biggest hit.”
The first break in this pattern of older music came six songs into the set with the first release from Wonderful, Wonderful, “The Man.” Then they returned to he classic Killers, for “Human” before another song off Wonderful Wonderful, “Run for Cover.” This shift was welcome as it moved the concert past the initial, shameless, sing-a-long throwback fest the show was at the start. “The Man” featured a heavier, trance-like electronic opening, and backed by three female singers Flowers delivered the lyrics with his a sleekness that made it decidedly different from earlier music: “I know the score like the back of my hand / Them other boys, I don't give a damn / They kiss on the ring, I carry the crown / Nothing can break, nothing can break me down.”
The whole show presented a cohesive, cool aesthetic that fit down to Brandon Flowers' jacket. There was no attempt to compete with Le Plur’s sensory overload as The Killers kept the lights blue and purple and steady throughout the set. The screen behind the band presented mostly low-key, black or white designs that didn’t draw attention to the technical aspect of the show at all. The show avoided pyrotechnics until the final moments when fireworks launched behind the band. Confetti showered the stage three times to create dream-like states for Killers fans, who knew the words to every song. They and the band were clearly comfortable and satisfied by the music without any fancy wrapping.
The star of the show was, without question front man Brandon Flowers. The singer has played a variety of instruments for the band in the past, but this time he only occasionally went over to a keyboard. For the most part, he simply sang and danced around. His stage presence was captivating, and his utterly charismatic persona could be felt all the way in the back of the crowd. Flowers' theatrical style embodies the cocky nature described on “The Man,” and his keyboard was set up behind a giant male gender sign--a nod to the same song. After solo work outside the band, Flowers knows he is the center of attention and seems to like that.
After “Run for Cover,” Flowers paused to address the crowd. He shared a story of driving around in his father’s Buick, and always turning up the music when they heard Fats Domino. With that, they launched in to a cover of “Ain’t That a Shame” with help from The Dirt Dozen Brass Band, which joined them on stage. Flowers delivered the song passionately, and seemed to cement a specialness to his performance in New Orleans.
The band and the audience lost some steam with “Read My Mind” and then “Runaways,” but after “Runaways” the lights went wild and the frantic instrumental riffs seemed to indicate it was their last song. Although twenty minutes of set time remained, drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. threw his drumsticks into the crowd, which felt final. The band exited the stage and took a break before returning with their cover of Joy Division's “Shadowplay.” Next came “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” which took the show full circle back to the shameless sing along vibe, which continued through “When You Were Young” and the fireworks that marked the real conclusion of the concert.