The Killers @ The Emirates Stadium
Last night, The Killers performed their second date at the Emirates Stadium – exactly two years after its original date. After an epic performance on Friday night, spirits – and expectations – were running high for their second London date. And they certainly didn’t disappoint.
The support: Sam Fender
First of all, Newcastle’s finest Sam Fender ascended onto the stage. Performing a setlist that featured an excellent mix of backlist crowd-pleasers and more recent relases from his 2021 album Seventeen Going Under, the energy – and that good ol’ cheeky charm – that Sam brought to the stage was very infectious. Sam kicked off the gig with ‘Will We Talk?’, the sweet-sounding track from his excellent 2019 LP Hypersonic Missiles. From the same album, he also got the crowd going with the sentimental song ‘The Borders’. He also performed ‘The Spit of You’, the contemplative song Sam wrote about his faltering relationship with his father. While using multiple opportunities to interact with the crowd, which was appreciated by all who attended, Fender concluded his set with ‘Seventeen Going Under’, where the musician looks back on his tumultuous teenage years. Sam looked like he was having so much fun on-stage.
There was a raucous cheer when The Killers had appeared on-stage. Seeing the look of sheer glee on Brandon Flowers’ face was enough to make even the the most bitter person smile.
They commenced their almost 2-hour-long set with the Imploding the Mirage pick ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’, before following on with ‘Enterlude’ before the very first ‘classic’ of the night: ‘When You Were Young’. This was truly the first of many highlights: the energy was electric and everyone became animated when the chorus kicked in. Up until this point, the setlist had followed in a similar line to the band’s previous gigs on this tour, but then ‘The Way It Was’ started blaring out from the stadium. I absolutely love this song, so I was very happy to see it as one of the night’s additions.
More hits and live favourites followed, including ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, ‘Shot at the Night’, ‘Spaceman’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’. It is truly astonishing that one band, in only a span of under 20 years, has so many hits.
In the second third of the gig, a very special moment occured where a crowd member was invited on stage to play drums on ‘For Reasons Unknown’. Last night’s pick was a lucky guy named Josh from London, who completely soaked up the moment and played like an absolute pro – a complete natural, despite the pressure he must have felt while performing on such a stage.
The first cover of the night, ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, was beautiful. It almost seemed as if the whole world came to a crashing halt for this very special moment.
To top off an excellent gig, the encore was another layer of magic. Wonderful Wonderful favourite ‘The Man’ kicked off the encore with the kind of swagger and magnetism that only The Killers could exude. Then, the stage went all quiet, and an unfamiliar electronic tune can be heard. This was the lead-up to ‘Human’, one of those songs that gives me goosebumps. Even listening to it digitally, in its almost angelic vocals and keyboard melodies, puts you under a very unique spell. This is amplified tenfold when performed live. I know it sounds stupid, but I felt like I was floating while ‘Human’ played. And of course, the true cherry on the cake was the final song, ‘Mr Brightside’ – a.k.a. the soundtrack to my university years, a song which the UK has truly adopted as one of their own.
The Killers’ set at the Emirates Stadium had everything you could possibly want in a live performance: a cracking setlist, bucketfuls of energy, passion and swagger, and stadium-wide singalongs.
Often opting for attending evening gigs alone in indoor venues, I had never been to an outdoor gig or festival. And I didn’t think it would be that different – but especially in the summer, going from day to night during the space of one set was pretty magical. It was almost as if the character of the gig transformed, with the intensifying of the lights and added pirotechnics in the latter third of the gig. As silly as it sounds, the gig became more beautiful over time. And in terms of the setlist, this gig had it all – floorfillers, sing-a-long hits, encore covers, flashlight moments and a charming handful of setlist surprises.
Seeing The Killers perform live is on a lot of people’s music bucket lists. I’m so glad I got to tick it off mine.
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