Hard and Fast: The Killers Come To Santiago

With brass bands and pounding drums in almost every plaza around the city, it seemed only natural that a band like The Killers would pick up the baton for the night-time boogie. On the final date of their South American tour, the four boys from Vegas arrived at Santiago’s Movistar Arena to finish things up with a bang.

Stepping into the great dome, there was hardly an empty seat in the house with everyone waiting anxiously for the indie rockers to arrive. To a neon display and cracking backdrop video, The Killers jumped straight into crowd-pleaser “Human.” However much the song may have suffered from radio overplay, the great acoustics of the venue were able to turn an otherwise mediocre hit into a danceable euro-pop anthem. It was from this fantastically jumpy start that the Killers proceeded to throw out classic after classic with the crowd chanting every word.

Apart from the illuminated grandeur of the place, the stage itself was something to behold, complete with palm trees, bright lights and a beautiful mosaic piano as its centrepiece. Although lead guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Mark Stoermer and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr all looked quite distant at times – if not bored – everyone was keenly focused on lead singer and practising Mormon - Brandon Flowers. Dressed like an extra from Sgt Pepper’s and pulling it off like only he can, Flowers looked cooler than the other side of the pillow.

The Killers’ third album Day & Age has been dubbed by many as their weakest effort and so most people might not have wanted to hear it, but the crowd all knew they were here to prove how good it could sound. What a joy then, when they played new track “The World We Live In” followed by Flowers’ lone acoustic “Human,” both together positively sending a tingle down your spine. The applause to such tracks echoed round the dome like a spoiled child crunching down on his morning’s cereal.

It couldn’t all be highs though, as the foursome erroneously rearranged one of their favoured party tracks “Smile Like You Mean It” into a soppy violin number. They then chose to blast out the original arrangement, hold out a fan’s Chile flag and then play weak pop track “Spaceman,” all to which the crowd, who were just happy to have something to jive to, danced manically.

Things were brought back down with Keuning and Flowers sharing the spotlight on a cover of “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” After a nostalgic trip through “Mr Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done” ended brilliantly with a confetti finish, the quartet promptly left the stage to screams from all extremities of the dome.

Back for their encore, the band wasted no time. Following a brightly lit version of “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine,” Flowers steamed things up with one of the only laughs of the night by asking if the crowd were ready to receive the next offering as hard as they could, since he was ready to give it as hard as he could. They then proceeded to crack out “When You Were Young” to a mass of mushroom cloud and rain pyrotechnics.

It was so hot in the audience that you couldn’t help but wonder if The Killers’ eyebrows had been burnt off since, as quickly as they had returned on stage, they dropped their instruments and left. A fittingly anticlimactic end, it seemed, for a band that didn’t completely look like they wanted to be there in the first place and would have rather rushed home before the Sunday traffic got too heavy.

November 29, 2009
Movistar Arena
Santiago, Chile

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