Almanac Music – Nostalgic Rock ‘n Roll: The Killers Melbourne Concert Review

The lights dim.


Wild screams engulf the crowded and eager Hisense Arena, with piercing shrieks accompanying already-hoarse yells. If you closed your eyes and heard it, you’d most likely expect the incessant clambering to be about a Justin Bieber, or a Little Mix, or maybe even a Drake. Refreshingly, what follows this is a throaty guitar bass growl, ringing out over the cosy venue. And that changes the mood of the room instantly.


Following this extended introduction to the stage, older and not particularly attractive males slowly waltz on, assuming humble positions behind instruments that they have perfected to the point of it being an extension of their body. This is different too, yet not in a negative way. In an intimate, playing-at-your-local-bar way. Enter Brandon Flowers, the smiling pin-up boy of one of the premier 21st century modern rock bands still performing. And for the next two hours they prove to the music-loving Melbourne why they are a vital cog in stabilising the runaway music industry.


With deft instrumental skill and a comradery that oozes understanding and instinct, the initial songs are banged out with ease yet gusto. Flowers immediately introduces his energy to the crowd, constantly jumping onto the speakers that line the stage during Sam’s Town classic ‘Read My Mind’ and giving the audience a chance to belt out lines that epitomise lyrical genius. By the time ‘Spaceman’ and ‘The Way It Was’ sent the 6,000 strong crowd into raptures of dancing and yelling of lyrics, the passion that engulfed Flowers and his band was evident. He always had a smile on his face. They all seemed to love what they did- despite prior difficulties surrounding the band breaking up, all members of The Killers, including the back-up singers, exuded excitement and humble gratitude at what they were a part of at that point of time. And it was infectious.


The Killers are a seasoned collective. Yet they also understand modern times, as they still manage to survive and thrive in a contemporary environment with older hits. There’s the usual calls for crowd involvement, the effortless jokes and swagger that Flowers must’ve learnt from the likes of Springsteen and Jagger. But then there is the awareness and subtleties of Sheeran and Adele, mixing up the set list on the middle night of the three day Melbourne bender that the ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ leg covers. This includes a surprise performance of ‘Jenny Was A Friend of Mine’, along with covers of Joy Division’s ‘Shadowplay’ and an encore performance of Men At Work’s famous ‘Who Can It Be Now’ with support act Alex Cameron.


But the money sellers that everyone wanted didn’t lack any enjoyment or effort- they may have been playing these songs for over a decade to larger crowds, but for all Melbourne knew it was a debut performance full of adrenaline and downright pride in their own music. The second half run of songs that included ‘The Man’, ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ and ‘When You Were Young’ was absolutely astonishing in highlighting the cohesiveness and ultimate success of this unassuming Las Vegas band. They aren’t just limited to ‘Mr Brightside’.


Underpinning the night, the encore included indie hit ‘Human’, and one last welcome surprise occurred with their most famous song being introduced by a remix. All this did was warm up the crowd’s vocals for ‘Mr Brightside’, as the lights soon came on and the instruments were attacked with a vigour that sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy that surpassed all parties or Jack Riewoldt performances. It did what all good concerts did- it left you with a satisfied grin on your face and a dazed wander out of the arena. And for that reason alone, this is why The Killers are caught in the neutral zone of nostalgically reminding us of the beauty of past rock while also intelligently moulding modern ideas to create a mind blowing experience.



  1. I didn’t see them Tuesday when they were in Adelaide Sean, but I reckon their grand final set was as good as I’ve seen given the less than ideal circumstances this implies. All These Things That I’ve Done is a great song for mine- rousing, anthemic and utterly compelling.

    Thanks for this.

  2. Joe De Petro says

    Thanks for this. I’ve always loved the Killers and after the magical 2017 Grand Final they became my new favourite band for a while. Easily the best performance at an AFL Grand Final, notwithstanding that the bar was set incredibly low until they came along.

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