The Killers balanced dark and light in a career-spanning set yesterday evening (December 6) at UBC's Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, putting on an engaging show in support of their latest full-length, Wonderful Wonderful. While only two members of the band still tour these days — frontman Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. — the large touring party faithfully adapted their songs for the stage.
Opening with the thunder and lightning rumble of Wonderful Wonderful's title track, the band weaved back and forth through their discography over the course of the night. The pomp and confidence of "The Man" was well received, but as with any Killers show, cuts from Hot Fuss and Sam's Town received the most joyous response. The crowd left their seats for "Somebody Told Me," singing along with passion, while Flower's rich vocals on Day & Age's "I Can't Stay" were soothing and just as rich as they've always sounded.
The expanded live band sounded cohesive and full, but Vannucci and Flowers still stood out. The former possesses a passionate, almost larger-than-life stage presence behind his kit, seemingly always enjoying himself while drumming with serious force, while the latter remains in total control of his voice, on top of having fun displaying the showmanship he's developed over the years (most amusingly during his shuffling, gold suit and shades-wearing rendition of Wonderful Wonderful's "The Calling"). Flowers grabbed a bass guitar on the fun and unexpected choice, "For Reasons Unknown," and manned the keyboards on several other tracks, even introducing an audience member, Alex, who played with the band on "A Dustland Fairytale."
"Shot at the Night" was shimmering, anthemic '80s pop, while "This River Is Wild" felt just as epic as it did in 2006 — although a heckler's request for "Bling (Confession of a King)," which interrupted Flowers' introduction to the song, didn't turn out very well (he decided that the band would not play the song). By the time the Killers reached the last songs of their main set, it all felt incredibly nostalgic, but in a positive way. "All These Things That I've Done" was a particular highlight, as the band's backing vocalists led the crowd though a sing-along of the refrain, "I got soul, but I'm not a solider."
Capping off the night with "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine," "When You Were Young," and "Mr. Brightside," The Killers gave audience members what they wanted, each mid-2000s classic invigorated by the enthusiasm of the crowd. The band struck a fine balance between playing the hits, deeper cuts, and introducing new material to fans, proving that Flowers and Vannucci are still capable of leading a band to impressive heights.