The Killers

support Juanita Stein
author MIN date 25/02/18 venue Royal Arena, Copenhagen, DEN

Due to the The Killers’ decision to leave behind key members Dave Keuning (guitar) and Mark Stoermer (bass) for the band’s current European tour, I’ll admit to having a certain skepticism prior to tonight’s show. The band’s latest album, ”Wonderful Wonderful”, left me with the impression that Brandon Flowers has been given too much creative control, and I can’t shake the feeling that the band’s show at Royal Arena might be marked by it. However, my experience of seeing the band live some five years ago convinces me that everyone attending is still in for a treat, as Flowers in particular is also known for putting on an engaging and energetic performance. Although one can debate if maybe the show should’ve been moved to a closed off Forum instead of Royal Arena because of the relatively sparse attendance tonight, the arena has done well by closing off certain areas of the place, adding a somewhat sense of intimacy nonetheless.

All photos courtesy of Rob Loud.

Juanita Stein

When I checked out a few songs by tonight’s support name Juanita Stein (formerly of indie-rock band Howling Bells) before leaving for the show, I was worried the Australian singer-songwriter might drown in the audience’s chatter. Thankfully, though, the soundguy’s turned the volume way up, and three additional musicians are supporting Stein on Royal Arena’s huge stage, gently filling the soundscape with organic, almost western-inspired rock music, judging by the first track. Although the actual sound quality suffers a bit from too much emphasis on the bass, a decent display manages to reach me all the way down in the second half of the venue, safely putting my initial fears to rest.

As Juanita Stein and her band ventures further into the set, they perform a variety of song-structures all rooted in the same slow, almost Courtney Barnett-like desert-rock: from bouncing rockers with short, fiery guitar solos to more fleshed-out, melodic ballades, each song is delivered confidently and sees Stein wail out her gorgeous voice atop the music whenever she wants to with admirable ease. The band’s performance reeks of years’ worth of experience, and I’m genuinely surprised at the passionate, sincere deliveries we’re treated to, nicely complemented by circling bows of light in ever-changing colors projected on the black canvas behind the quartet. The set ends with a performance of the title-track off Stein’s new album “America”, which I, due to my overall positive impression of the show, won’t hold against her; instead, I convince myself that some hidden, political satire must lie beneath the surface.


The Killers

As soon as the curtain drops and The Killers’ stage setup is revealed, it’s pretty hard not to get increasingly curious, as three enormous screens, a water tower (spelling “Copenhagen”), gigantic neon-arrows and, for some reason, gender-symbols (male by Brandon Flowers, female by the three choir singers) are unveiled. As the band takes off with “Run for Cover” and the hit single “Somebody Told Me” from the band’s debut album “Hot Fuss”, Brandon Flowers proves to be all energy, but unfortunately at the cost of his abilities as a vocalist. All of Flowers’ prancing around seems to keep him from letting his voice flow as naturally and beautifully as we’re accustomed to, resulting in a sub-par experience. Brandon Flowers sounds more worn down than usually, and only during the quieter songs, such as “Rut” and even “Miss Atomic Bomb”, we get a clear image of his full range, simply because he remains less mobile than otherwise. Tonight, it feels like Flowers tips the scale in favor of being a Las Vegas showman over being an interesting performer, and although the crowd in here seems to like the several extended choruses and “whoa-ohs”, it’s not enough to convince me and forget about the fact that this just doesn’t feel sincere.

Royal Arena and the Killers’ crew aren’t exactly showing off their best side tonight, as the sound mix is simply lacking any sort of middle ground. The ecstatic synths and organic guitars clash, and the rumbling rhythm-section awkwardly joins in on top. Add to this the fact that most of the lineup on-stage, however individually talented the members might be, simply aren’t as in-tune as other rock bands with this many years on their back are, and you have an ultimately disappointing show. Even the slower “Smile Like You Mean It” and “For Reasons Unknown” (in which Flowers awkwardly tries to join in on second bass) falls somewhat flat on their face, and as we reach the end of the main part of tonight’s set, back to back-editions of “Dustland Fairytale” and “Be Still” aren’t exactly spicing things up. Granted, “Tyson Vs. Douglas” manages to flow excellently through the mix, and it is, admittedly, always a pleasure to sing along to “All These Things That I’ve Done”, but it’s really a shame that I have to grasp for straws here.

However, it feels like something’s happened backstage that I can’t quite explain, because once the band return for a four song-encore, they feel somehow more vital than previously; “The Calling” actually sounds great, the heavy guitar and glorious outro in “Andy, You’re a Star” are revitalizing, and the double punch of “When You Were Young” and “Mr. Brightside” makes the crowd go wild, despite the latter’s questionable delivery and extended jam after Flowers leaves the stage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change my opinion that the past two hours with The Killers have both been heard and seen in much better shape. With Flowers being the sole whip of the show (and just about the only animate subject up there), it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on flashing lights and silver screens; I’ll take a sincere serenade to Juliet and Sam’s Town over these glorified extremities any day.



  • 1. Run For Cover
  • 2. Somebody Told Me
  • 3. Spaceman
  • 4. The Way It Was
  • 5. Shot At The Night
  • 6. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
  • 7. Miss Atomic Bomb
  • 8. Human
  • 9. Rut
  • 10. Smile Like You Mean It
  • 11. For Reasons Unknown
  • 12. The Man
  • 13. Tyson Vs. Douglas
  • 14. A Dustland Fairytale
  • 15. Be Still
  • 16. Runaways
  • 17. Read My Mind
  • 18. All These Things That I’ve Done
  • - Encore
  • 19. The Calling
  • 20. Andy, You’re A Star
  • 21. When You Were Young
  • 22. Mr. Brightside

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