While thousands suffered heat stroke at Coachella, the Killers frontman remained comfortably, if tightly, ensconced in a hotel-casino. Indeed, Brandon Flowers kicked off a polished set on April 16 at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay with the most pretentious Vegas anthem ever recorded by a Las Vegan (or otherwise), “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.” The song’s live acoustic-guitar arrangement called to mind a Poison-grade power ballad, while the dry, cliché-ravaged lyrics (“Didn’t nobody tell you/The house always wins?”) suggest that Flowers desperately needs an editor. The rapt audience didn’t care, singing along with every word. To make amends for the tune’s dark tone, Flowers nailed “Viva Las Vegas,” followed it with Catholic penance rocker “Magdalena” (the lyrics of which are superb), then held the crowd in his Mormon mitt with his hit “Crossfire.” But a whip-smart cover of “Bette Davis Eyes” revealed his winning hand—a little bit cheese, a little bit ostentatious rock ’n’ roll. As Cat Stevens put it, the boy has the moon and star on his head.
Best of the City 2016
Our seventh annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best place to fix your speeding ticket to the best Bloody Mary.