Review: The Killers at Manchester Arena

  • The Killers take to the stage at the Manchester Arena for the second time as part of their Wonderful Wonderful World Tour. 
  • NQ reporter Sophie Hollands reviews the highly anticipated performance.

A sea of old and young filtered into the Manchester Arena on a chilly November evening to watch Las Vegas born rock band The Killers perform. As the milling throng did their best to avoid the puddles of warm beer forming on the floor, the lights eventually dimmed and the stage was set for what everyone hoped to be a wonderful, wonderful evening.

In a slow procession, each band member took their position on stage for the second straight night at the Manchester Arena, and in a sudden flash of colour, Brandon Flowers in a pink blazer joined his band to the haunting melody of Wonderful, Wonderful from their latest studio album.

Another new song, The Man swiftly followed, seemingly a little weary. True to Flowers’ iconic, if somewhat aloof style, there was little interaction with his admiring crowd. At this point I couldn’t help but wonder if, like me, everyone was waiting for something a little more well known as the majority of the crowd gently swayed to the beat of their new material.

Right on cue, a sterling effort from drummer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr, injected a dose of much needed energy. Crowd sways turned into passionate fist pumps as, with some relief, it was at last time to, Smile Like You Mean It. The upbeat tempo didn’t end there as the band’s home town teenage anthem The Way It Was, from their fourth studio album Battle Born found a resonance amongst Manchester’s finest.

From there, we saw a pattern of the band’s more popular songs, Somebody Told Me and Rut were often accompanied by colourful images and lighting, contrasting sharply with the lesser known new material, which was played to a backdrop of Mohave desert tumbleweed projected onto the cavernous stage walls. This appeared to encapsulate the mood of Flowers’ adoring fans who, as a result, were moved from ecstasy to the beer queue with regularity throughout the set.

For reasons unknown, there was an extended intro to Read My Mind. The echoing sound of a gentleman shouting “Come on!” betrayed the crowd’s impatience and thankfully it wasn’t long before they burst into the original version of the track, which didn’t disappoint.

Among the high points, All These Things That I’ve Done followed, with the crowd chant I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier’ echoing around the arena as Flowers bounced excitedly to the glorious guitar riff. With the recent history of the venue never far from our thoughts, it was a poignant moment as I looked around to see Manchester unified by a simple sentence. Flowers’ vocals were impressive and the crowds effort was finally rewarded with a spectacle of flashing lights and a sudden drenching in confetti that decorated the arena in an instant.

We didn’t have to wait long before The Killers were back for their four song encore and into their biggest hit, Mr Brightside. Once again Brandon and the band went for an element of tease before please as they first tested our resolve with a re-mixed version of the song. Again, the response to the extended intro was muted because people wanted the good stuff.

It was a gig that got better throughout the night, thank you The Killers (but enough of the remixes.)