When word came out that longtime guitarists for The Killers Dave Keuning and Mark Stoermer would not take part in the band’s “Wonderful, Wonderful” tour following the release of its fifth studio album of the same name, critics began to speculate about the future of the renowned rock group. Yet when lead singer Brandon Flowers took the stage of The Anthem last Wednesday night, donning skintight black pants and a silky shirt, he let his audience — and all his critics — know that he and The Killers are here to stay.
The band launched its show with “Run for Cover,” a hard-hitting escapist anthem. An explosion of pink confetti marked the transition to the next song, “The Man,” which samples the 1975 song “Spirit of the Boogie” by Kool & the Gang, and set the tone for a concert characterized by juxtapositions of playfulness and serious emotion.
Following the disco dance hit, Flowers threw the bandwagon fans in the audience a bone with the third song, “Somebody Told Me,” one of the band’s more popular tracks from its 2004 album “Hot Fuss,” which landed on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for two Grammy awards.
After the song’s notably abrupt guitar finish, Flowers took a moment to quote daredevil Evel Knievel’s message nothing that fans expect effort, not perfection. Possibly referencing the hesitation and doubts surrounding the tour, Flowers promised that he and his fellow bandmembers would give The Anthem their best.
From there, the already dynamic lead singer turned up the heat, delivering song after song with an athletic intensity absent from many live shows today. Flowers took the opportunity to showcase his other musical abilities by assuming lead guitar on “For Reasons Unknown,” a 2006 track that discusses the fear and sentimentality associated with getting older.
Whether it was the power of his guitar or the back-and-forth with the audience toward the end of the song, the performance rejuvenated Flowers, prepping him for a sing-along of the band’s most beloved hits, including “Runaways,” and “Read My Mind.”
Flowers switched up his setlist by introducing Maryland musician Joe Pug to the audience. He proceeded to sing Pug’s country-rock song “If Still It Can’t Be Found,” proving that his sultry vocals work for just as well for softer folk melodies as they do on his rock-rooted repertoire.
The Killers teased an ending to the concert with “All These Things That I’ve Done,” featuring a prolonged chorus of “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” But instead of waning, the audience’s anticipation and energy grew stronger with each repetition. The song’s pleading lyrics, “Is there room for one more son,” echoed hopes that the band would return to the stage and perform for just a bit longer.
After a few suspenseful minutes, the band reappeared, Flowers donning a shimmering gold suit reminiscent of fellow rock legend Elvis Presley. Once again, The Killers subverted the audience’s expectations, performing lesser-known tracks “The Calling” and “Andy, You’re a Star” for the first half of the encore. For the penultimate track, the group performed “When You Were Young,” the Bruce Springsteen-inspired lead single from The Killers’ second studio album “Sam’s Town.”
Flowers set up his final track with the words, “I know life can be tough; sometimes that’s the way it goes. But, you got to remember — sometimes it goes the other way too.”
With a smile, Flowers began belting the lyrics to “Mr. Brightside,” a classic that has graced college parties and alternative rock radio stations since its 2004 release. As red, white and blue streamers fell from the ceiling, Flowers used his remaining energy to lead the breathless concertgoers in chanting the lyrics. With the ending notes of his salvation song, Flowers cemented The Killers’ role as one of the most influential and beloved rock groups of our time.