The Killers, Auckland New Zealand, 2022

The Killers

21st November 2022
Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand.

Review by Sarah Fleming. Photography by Chris Phelps.

To say that The Killers highly anticipated show last night was a religious experience would be an understatement, in far more ways than one…

From the thousands who flooded through the doors of Spark Arena to bear worship at the altar of their favourite band to the awe-inspiring opening visuals of ‘My Own Soul’s Warning’ complete with artistic imagery of heavenly bodies, dramatic bolts of lightning and a giant confetti bomb, this was a show that Aotearoa would not soon forget.

Despite having released their album Pressure Machine in 2021, this tour was firmly promoting their 2020 offering Imploding the Mirage, the virus that shall not be named placing a temporary hold on the band actually being able to promote it through the usual channel of touring.

But front man Brandon Flowers is no fool, he understands what their fans desire, to not just hear a broad selection of songs, but to be part of something truly special. And no one could deny that that is exactly what he and his band of merry men delivered in copious amounts.

Dressed in matching suits, Flowers himself cutting a svelte figure in a delicious velvet jacket in the deepest of blues, the band flourished their instruments as the crowd roared in delight at being treated to such a mind-blowing opening; one and all happy to lend their voices to Flowers as he stood behind the giant illuminated infinity symbol adorning the front of the stage to play his keyboard neatly tucked away behind it while delivering ‘Enterlude’.

This would turn out to be the calm before the storm as waves of joy rippled through with each track bestowed upon them. ‘When You Were Young’ undoubtedly one of the biggest singles from sophomore album Sam’s Town, saw the crowd sing with jubilation to every line, the smile on Flowers face as he swiftly moved from one side to the next, encouraging their vocals to soar to the very rafters saying it all.

As vocalist and leader of the band, Flowers is a force to be reckoned with. Never once faltering, his vivacity is intoxicating; calling to the audience to throw their arms in the air during ‘Shot at The Night,’ they complied without hesitation, Spark Arena momentarily transforming into a giant living creature made up of thousands of limbs that reached out to the heavens above them.

This feeling was only intensified moments later as ‘Human’ entered, accompanied by a montage of hundreds of dancers moving both individually at times and at others in beautiful synchronicity across the screen, a wonderful reminder of how the physical form can communicate so much through movement, touch and of course the joining together as one to celebrate music such as this.

Flowers led his flock through chants of “Amen!” before hurling them into the starry sky for ‘Spaceman;’ ‘Somebody Told Me’ bringing them back down to earth with renewed vigour as they bounced about to the infectious beat, neon laser lights illuminating them as they danced.

Proud of their home Las Vegas Nevada – and “don’t you forget it” Flowers reminded all, “A Dustland Fairytale” illustrated the juxtaposition of such a place, with distorted images of the infamous Las Vegas lights, intertwined with those of the Mojave Desert.

The concert itself moved at a fevered pace, with little room for banter. This may have been in part due to the fact that The Killers were playing a second more intimate show less than a few hours later, however it also felt that this is exactly how The Killers wanted it to be. A cathartic encounter for both them and their fans, to let it all out and declare that it is indeed good to be alive!

Supported by a trio of exemplary back up singers, one in particular who played not just acoustic guitar but violin, The Killers moved as one tight unit, the occasional guitar solo from Dave Keuning and of course the inimitable drumming from Ronnie Vannucci Jr. only elevating the evening to beyond most attendees’ wildest dreams.

A breathtaking cover of the Ewan MacColl track ‘The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face’ was a momentary chance to be still for a moment and take it all in, before ‘Runaways’ reminded one and all of the glorious feeling of freedom; ‘Read My Mind’ and ‘Caution’ with a sweet ‘Rut’ segue leading the show into what was soon to be a bona fide miracle being performed in front of an audience of thousands.

Catching the eye of Flowers with a sign that he had held up dutifully in the front rows for most of the night, a Wellington fan by the name of Taylor was gifted the chance of a lifetime as he was invited up to play drums during ‘For Reasons Unknown’. With a strong right foot and stick twirls that would even make Vannucci raise an eyebrow, Taylor delivered a performance worthy of international acclaim, Auckland celebrating with him as he left with a smile that could have made the moon itself step back in awe.

At this point, The Killers had already pulled out all the stops, the music itself enough to have carried the show into the stratosphere, but flourished regardless with showers of sparks and red, white and blue streamers that fell from above onto those below who grabbed at them with glee during ‘All The Things That I Have Done’.

However, The Killers were not finished just yet, as dramatic images of Greek statues loomed above the stage, and pink confetti shot into the air for ‘The Man’ that strutted through the venue with a decidedly Motown feel. A cover of The Smiths ‘This Charming Man’ was brilliant, however it may have been lost on those not familiar with their work.

But hands down it was ‘Mr Brightside’ that brought the arena to its very knees, Flowers himself threatened to be drowned out by his Kiwi devotees who only grew louder as Vannucci leaned upon the drum kit and gestured to them to cheer louder as he delivered a short but powerful solo to bring both track and show to a close.

Two decades on, and The Killers proved unequivocally why it is indeed good to be alive.

Bonus Gallery: The Killers performed a special extra intimate show after the Spark Arena concert to a lucky group of fans at the Auckland Town Hall – Chris Phelps was also at this gig and has supplied this small gallery below.

Were you there at Spark Arena for this great rock gig? Or have you seen The Killers perform live somewhere else? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Setlist:
  1. My Own Soul’s Warning
  2. Enterlude
  3. When You Were Young
  4. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  5. Smile Like You Mean It
  6. Shot at the Night
  7. Running Towards a Place
  8. Boy
  9. Human
  10. Spaceman
  11. Somebody Told Me
  12. A Dustland Fairytale
  13. The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face [Ewan MacColl cover]
  14. Runaways
  15. Read My Mind
  16. Dying Breed
  17. Caution (with Rut segue)
  18. For Reasons Unknown
  19. All The Things That I’ve Done
  20. The Man [encore]
  21. This Charming Man [The Smiths cover] [encore]
  22. Mr. Brightside [encore]

Note: Ambient Light was provided passes to review this concert. As always, this has not influenced the review in any way and the opinions expressed are those of Ambient Light’s only. This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a product using an affiliate link, Ambient Light will automatically receive a small commission at no cost to you.

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