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Review: The Killers, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

BRANDON Flowers looks like Action Man. A taut, upright, black-costumed mini hero, he even sings about his eagle eyes in Mr Brightside.

Brandon Flowers of The Killers

BRANDON Flowers looks like Action Man. A taut, upright, black-costumed mini hero, he even sings about his eagle eyes in Mr Brightside. OK, it’s “eager eyes”, but don’t ruin the story and he does produce a show befitting an all-action saviour – relentless.

The Killers set the bar high with 2004’s Hot Fuss, an assured and irresistibly infectious debut album.

They followed it with more not dissimilar million-sellers. Have they developed? Do they care?

They’ve got a formula that works, especially in these big live shows, but will it make them great? I’m not sure. Listen to the giants of modern music and you’ll hear creative reinvention and gobsmacking leaps of faith.

Not that knocking out the hits, mainly rumbustious and anthemic, is necessarily a hardship for the packed crowd at an utterly delirious Arena.

While they’ve been selling records by the bucketload, they’ve also been picking up a reputation for their live shows and Brandon’s every bit as wired as when I saw them struggling to fit their big sound in the smaller confines of the Academy a few years ago.

Though the big sound doesn’t do much better here. Smile Like You Mean It sounds like what happens when you turn your tinny stereo up too loud.

The success of this show comes in shaking off such concerns and seducing us with wicked melody and dazzling backdrops, lights, lasers and indoor fireworks.

Spaceman sends us speeding through the universe, Bones has us watching skeletons shake a leg. And all the while Brandon bounces back and forth from his keyboard podium.

The visuals are crucial. Falling gold, films of lava exploding into real smoke on stage, fire, atomic bombs... you can tell they’re from Vegas.

Human is graceful and brilliant with its silly lyrics, Somebody Told Me is frenetic and breathless. Runaways and When You Were Young are mammoth.

But Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine is the show-stealer. Malevolent and with a foreboding bass line and crashing cymbals, the hall is suddenly full of lasers like wartime searchlights.

It’s a blast, thrilling at times but one-paced. I sense they’ve found a formula that works and they’re loath to change. Nobody’s complaining tonight, though.

 

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