In Las Vegas there aren’t too many opportunities to cheer for the hometown band. This could be why the Killers, with their platinum albums and Billboard No. 1’s, hold such a place in the city’s collective heart. On Dec. 28, the foursome ended a three-year absence from the Las Vegas stage with a 90-minute set filled with hits from their four albums.
Sweeping anthems are the name of the game at any Killers concert. Laser-light shows, glittering backdrops and raining confetti gave the sold-out crowd visual stimulation to match the heavy buildups of old-school favorites “Mr. Brightside” and “Smile Like You Mean It” and new tracks such as “Miss Atomic Bomb.” Brandon Flowers’ brand of arena-rock-meets-new-wave may have come off as indulgent at times, but the crowd ate it up—singing along and dancing.
Since he last played Vegas, Flowers has transformed into a well-rounded showman, commanding the stage by pounding the keyboard and strapping on a bass guitar, and the boisterous persona matches the larger-than-life material. Between songs, the frontman spilled anecdotes about meeting his future wife at Buffalo Exchange on Flamingo Road, and lovingly spoke of his mother, who died in 2010, before crooning “A Dustland Fairytale,” a song depicting his parents’ courtship.
Flowers often professed his undying devotion to Las Vegas—the inspiration for a bevy of Killers’ song titles and album names. If we were from any other city, this lovefest would’ve grown tiresome, but hearing him call out Charleston Boulevard (“I grew up off that street”) and Sam’s Town (“my grandma played bingo there”) pulled on the local subconscious. The guys even paid tribute to Old Vegas glamor with a rendition of Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You.” For us locals, hearing the band play a rollicking set of familiar tunes was like coming home to a place we never left. “We’re from the jewel of the Mojave Desert,” Flowers boasted. “And we’re not ashamed of it.” Neither are we. ★★★★☆