When The Killers’ Brandon Flowers says, “I love Melbourne!”, you know he means it.
While Australia thoroughly embraced The Killers when they first came onto the scene, it was only 5 years ago when they perform on hallowed ground at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the 2017 AFL Grand Final. Their love for Melbourne was cemented back then, and after being kept at a distance for a while due to the global pandemic, The Killers finally returned to Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday the 13th of December for one hell of a concert!
From my experience attending previous The Killers tours and in comparison, Imploding the Mirage Tour is by far their most elaborate and biggest show to date. With a giant screen, lasers, fantastic lighting, fireworks, and the best touring band that money can buy, you can tell that they – to quote John Hammond from Jurassic Park, “spared no expense”.
Already on Leg 6 and show number 84 of their sixth concert world tour (which is insanely ongoing until September 2023 at present), Imploding the Mirage Tour is a well-oiled machine filled with fantastic songs from their sixth studio album ‘Imploding Mirage’, as well as iconic timeless tunes that helped shape their career.
Starting off with a bang (literally), the confetti canons were put to work almost immediately and the energy in the Rod Laver Arena venue went from 0 to 100 once The Killers took to the stage. It had been so long since I had seen The Killers perform, I had almost forgotten how spectacular they are live. At the time, I also couldn’t believe it was really happening. It turns out neither could Brandon, who asked for a touring bandmate to pinch him, because they were finally performing in Melbourne.
The energy in the venue was electrified tenfold when The Killers performed their hits including ‘When You Were Young’, ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, ‘Somebody Told Me’, and ‘Read My Mind’ to name a few. B-side tracks including ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine’ and ‘Running Towards A Place’ were also given a lot of love, despite not being single releases from the band. For diehard fans, ‘Enterlude’ made a rare appearance, and new songs ‘boy’ and ‘Dying Breed’ were warmly welcomed and played in Melbourne for the very first time.
Some of my personal favourites were also part of the setlist including ‘A Dustland Fairytale’, ‘Human’, and ‘Spaceman’. I thoroughly loved the way ‘Human’ was introduced with robotic sounds and vocals before kicking into the song itself. However, the ultimate and undisputable crowd favourite of the night was ‘All These Things I’ve Done’. Hearing an entire venue sing along in unison to the anthemic and iconic line, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” was incredible and it’s these unscripted moments with live music that make the experience even more special. Singing along to your favourite artist live in concert with everyone else at the same time is one of the purest pleasures of live music that is unmatched by any other medium.
One of the very few artists that I full heartedly believe give everything and leave nothing left in the tank after the concert has concluded, The Killers clearly fed off the energy of the crowd. The more energy you gave, the more they provided in return. I’m not saying it was a religious experience, but it sure felt like one with the entire Melbourne audience spiritually transported to a Las Vegas church of rock and roll and loving every moment of it.
Brandon Flowers is an incredible frontman. From the get-go, he already had the entire venue eating out of the palm of his hand. Commanding the stage with his captivating presence, Flowers was super interactive with the passionate and eager audience, inspiring sing-alongs, dancing, hand waving, and overall, igniting happiness throughout the venue. The stage consisted of platform-like catwalks for Flowers to elevate himself higher and higher (lyrical pun intended), and were an asset to his craft. He kept climbing them frequently to the point where I wondered how many steps he would have taken by the end of the show (if only he had a pedometer). He really worked that stage! The new strikingly lit infinity symbol on Flowers’ keyboard stand is also the perfect touch, evolving from the previous tour’s male gender symbol design stand that suited The Killers’ previous era.
Not to be outdone, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., the only other familiar face of The Killers original line-up that still tours, showed off his charisma and finesse. I was genuinely delighted that Ronnie had the chance to shine with his thunderous and foot stomping drum solo. His skills are fiercely impressive and I daresay that he gets better and better every tour.
Ending the concert with ‘The Man’ accompanied with money-like confetti in a cheeky lyrical nod to their own song, alongside ‘Bling (Confession of a King)’ and finally a unique and excellent rendition of ‘Mr Brightside’, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was shamelessly and passionately singing at the top of my lungs, and it looked like everyone else was on that same elated level.
Imploding the Mirage Tour is one tour that you should not miss. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going for the classic or for the new songs. All are good, The Killers don’t have any bad songs. Everyone on that stage is also superbly talented and the entire package is well worth throwing money at.
The Killers are in their element. After 21 years of being in the music industry and counting, this is honestly the best they’ve ever been.
The Killers have one more show in Melbourne before heading to Hunter Valley, and finally Sydney.
For more information and ticketing, visit:
Photography by Chris Phelps – https://chrisphelps.com