The Killers: Thunderously Electrifying
When the lightning bolt was finally set up at the middle of the stage, shouts of joy echoed in the audience. The Killers were really here. They were finally in Manila. True enough, just like a real lightning bolt out of the sky, the band gave Manila a concert that was so electrifying, it induced a frenetic energy among the thousands who were there.
This year, it was The Killers’ first time to set foot in Manila for their Battle Born World Tour. Their one-night concert was so thunderously electrifying, they left a trail of victims in euphoria and astonishment at the end of it.
“Mabuhay, Manila! Sa wakas, The Killers are here! Thank you for not giving up on us!” Brandon Flowers, the band’s frontman, joyfully proclaimed at the beginning of the concert, pronouncing the Filipino words in an awkward yet amusing accent. He said it right, though. Three years after the cancellation of the Day & Age Tour in 2010, many of their fans were downtrodden. Still, they managed to hold on as proven by the magnanimous presence of the audience at the Big Dome on the evening of the September 26.
Our very own experimental rock band, Sandwich, officially opened the evening. Raimund Marasigan, Myrene Academia, Mong Alcaraz, Diego Castillo and Mike Dizon were thrilled to play for the crowd, heated up the Dome’s ambiance nice and well by performing “Fat, Salt and Flame”, “Procrastinator” and “For Your Consideration”.
The Killers’ stage was all about Battle Born. During the unveiling of their stage, the large backdrop showed the image of the road in the middle of a desert, much like the one in the cover of their latest album. At the middle of the stage was a glowing lightning bolt shaped as the ‘E’ at the split of the album’s title. The backdrop was removed afterwards, revealing the humongous logo stating: Battle Born: Nevada, marked by a star at the middle. There were no LCD screens showing the band up-close.
Setting things off in the brightest of notes (quite literally), the band climbed up the stage, playing their most recognized hit from 2004 “Mr. Brightside” with the whole stadium fully lit up. With every member of the crowd visible to the band, the band saw the uproarious reception at once. They played “Spaceman” and “The Way It Was” after.
The original lineup of The Killers include Brandon Flowers on vocals, Dave Keuning on guitar, Ronnie Vannucci on drums and Mark Stoermer on bass. Stoermer couldn’t participate in the Asian leg of the tour because of a back injury. He was temporarily replaced by touring member Jake Blanton. Brandon revealed a surprising fact as he introduced every member: one of them is Filipino. He declared, “I don’t know if you noticed or not, but we bring a little bit of the Philippines with us everywhere we go. Theodore Sablay – his father is from the Pampanga province and he’s a badass musician.”
The Killers’ setlist was a great mixture of the best tracks off their four studio albums. You can always leave it to Hot Fuss tracks such as “Smile Like You Mean It”, “Somebody Told Me” and “All These Things I’ve Done” to get the crowd partying. “Bling (Confessions of a King)”, “ For Reasons Unknown” and “Read My Mind” from Sam’s Town proved to be solid anthems among the Filipino crowd. From Day & Age, the upbeat dance track “Human” and the dreamy “A Dustland Fairytale” were played. Of course, from Battle Born, there was “Miss Atomic Bomb”, “From Here On Out” and “Runaways”. The band also played their cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay” and Tommy James & The Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now”.
The energy of the crowd was very much propelled by Brandon Flowers’ naturally overflowing charisma. Dressed in his characteristic blue short-sleeved polo decked with white stars, he was a sight to behold as he stood on the ledge, prancing and singing around like he owned the stage. He also had a very engaging way of connecting with the crowd – the way he spoke was sincere, never failing to draw the crowd into a frenzy with his words. Even more commendable is his effort to learn a few Filipino words, including his recitation of the national motto right before playing “A Dustland Fairytale”: “Maka-Diyos. Makatao. Makakalikasan. At makabayan. For God, people, nature and country. This is a very nice motto.” He then continued, “Now, we come from the Jewel of the Mojave Desert in Las Vegas, Nevada. And our motto is: ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.’ But our motto is bullshit, because The Killers are here in Manila tonight!”
For the encore, the band played the Hot Fuss track “Change My Mind” followed by “Jenny Was A Friend of Mine”. Before the final song, Brandon teased, “Is that it? We’re taking requests tonight. What do you think it’s gonna be?” As it turned out, the anthemic “When You Were Young” officially closed the evening.
With The Killers finally making their stop here, the Filipino crowd got exactly what they had waited for throughout the years. The Killers brought the Dome down with their music, leaving the audience exhilarated and content. In time, we can be sure that Manila is again willing to become victims of The Killers.
Written by Sandra Mae Laureano
Photos by Cen Sulit and Sandra Mae Laureano
The Killers Battle Born: Live in Manila Setlist
- The Way It Was
- Smile Like You Mean It
Human (piano) – introduction only
- Bling (Confession of a King)
- Shadowplay (Joy Division cover)
- Miss Atomic Bomb
- Somebody Told Me
- I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James & The Shondells cover)
- For Reasons Unknown
- From Here On Out
- A Dustland Fairytale
- Read My Mind
- All These Things I’ve Done
- Change Your Mind
- Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
- When You Were Young
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