Alt-rock band “The Killers” bring Las Vegas flair to Pittsburgh

Written By Ana Bellamy, Staff Writer

The Killers, after years of cancellations, finally played the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh this past weekend. The Killers concert was full of nostalgic and heartfelt songs, four different types of confetti, and fireworks. The show was worth the wait. 

The band is touring to promote their 2020 album “Imploding the Mirage” and their 2021 album “Pressure Machine.” These shows have been postponed a total of three times, once in 2020 and again in 2021. They had planned on coming last October during their 30-date tour, but they had to postpone that show last minute, without much of a warning for the fans or a reason behind the cancellation. Fortunately, people who bought tickets to the original two shows were able to get their tickets reinstated for the show this past Sunday. 

Johnny Marr, the guitarist for the classic 80s alternative band The Smiths, opened for the band in 2022 and was on the posters for the 2023 shows, however, due to miscommunication errors from the band’s press, Johnny Marr was not present. Ted Williams, touring guitarist for the Killers, and the Lemon Twigs served as openers instead, much to the audience’s dismay. 

The first opening act was just Ted Williams and his guitar. A backing band was not needed, since his guitar provided a steady rhythm for him to sing along too. 

The Lemon Twigs are an American band that screams 60s-70s hyper-pop, rock, and Baroque pop. The fast, nine-song set consisted of rebellious guitar solos, impressive vocal harmonies, and skillful, yet playful drumbeats. The crowd was much more interested in this act and started to dance along to the songs. Even though these openers were not Johnny Marr, some of the crowd made sure to give the artists their attention. A few attendees were verbally upset about the openers and made attempts to heckle during the show. Luckily, they went unnoticed by the opening acts. 

The Killers performed an incredible two-hour long set. Brandon Flowers is meant to be a frontman who thrives off of the energy from the rest of the band and his audience. He came out on stage in a bright fuchsia jacket while the rest of the band was wearing dark clothing. This is a callback to classic Las Vegas acts, and it allowed for the frontman to be visible from the furthest points in the arena center. The lead singer charmed and interacted with the masses the best that he could. He ran to the ends of the stage to sing to the attendees in the seats  adjacent to the stage. During “Somebody Told Me”, Brandon Flowers got so excited that he jumped across the expensive camera track so that he could engage and sing with the people in the pit. He would point and command everyone, from the close pit to the nosebleeds seats way up high against the back of the arena, to participate and sing along. This was done frequently throughout the show, but it was most impressive during the bridge for “All These Things That I’ve Done.” The amazing backup singers could not compete with the passion and vivacity of the crowd in front of them. 

The setlist itself could have been arranged a little bit differently. The set started off strong when the band immediately started the set with a song from their newest album, the single “When You Were Young” from the 2006 album “Sam’s Town,” and two songs from their breakout debut album from 2004 “Hot Fuss.” More singles and fan favorites followed. Towards the middle of the set, most of the songs were slower and more emotional for both the attendees and the performers on stage. For the song, “Runaway Horses,” a more intimate relationship between The Killers and the audience was created when the band turned  off the giant LED video screen behind them; yellow lighting and spotlights highlighting Flowers and his band replaced the screen. This part of the two-hour-long set seemed to be dragging until “Runaways,” “Read My Mind,” and “Caution” perked up the crowd for the final part of the show. Beautiful waterfall fireworks went off behind the band during the song “Caution,” which woke up the crowd and got them ready for audience participation during “All These Things That I’ve Done” and the encore. The Killers’s final songs of the night were disco-esque 2017 single “The Man” and their debut single “Mr. Brightside.”

Surprisingly, Flowers’s singing was never compromised by his spontaneous gestures to the crowd. He sang every song with the same style, grace, and enthusiasm he’s had in the last 20 years. The rest of the Killers were remarkable as they performed every song as it was performed on the album.