The Killers mesmerize Vancouver fans in a very intimate setting

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      At the Commodore Ballroom on Friday, July 15

      The Killers played an (obviously) sold-out show at the Commodore on Friday night. A last-minute move by the band, as the show was announced on Tuesday, tickets went on sale on Thursday. There were no scalpers, no Craigslist kerfuffle, no need to drive out of town, and most importantly no bullshit.

      Being that the four-piece played Pemberton on Saturday, it was surprising that they managed to squeeze in a Vancouver gig within such a tight radius of the festival. Nonetheless, this was one for the fans. No tickets, will call only, and that’s the real beauty.

      For those who were able to get though the doors, it was instantly electric, with the crowd counting their lucky stars and incredibly happy that they were there. Once the lights went down, you would have thought Elvis had entered the building with the reaction of ear-piercing shrieks, screams and chants of “Killers” by the audience. The set-up was scaled back, with only stage lighting illuminating the band, but it didn’t matter. It was the Killers.

      Pulling a wide range of songs from their four-album catalogue (five if you include the 2007 Sawdust compilation of b-sides and rarities) they too knew this was for the fans. Opening up with “Change Your Mind” from their debut album Hot Fuss, and then launching into “Spaceman” from 2008’s Day and Age, the stage was set that this was going to be a really great night.

      About four songs in, singer/keyboardist Brandon Flowers said “Thanks for coming on such short notice. It’s official now!”. Then the band powered through “Bones” and “Bling” from their critically acclaimed 2006 album Sam’s Town. The boozy crowd was mesmerized by the sheer force of everyone singing along to each song.  

      Unlike the audience, the band itself showed no signs of age, and had as much energy as they did playing their set in the very same venue some 12 years ago. Guitarist Dave Keuning played each note masterfully, and though Flowers is the chief songwriter, you can’t deny how much of their sound is crafted with Keuning’s guitar work. Drummer Ronnie Vanucci is still a powerhouse on the drums, accenting each beat with his animated facial expressions. With original bassist Mark Stoermer taking a break, touring bass player Jake Blanton had the right amount of hair and beard to fill the part, and didn’t miss a note until Flowers took on bass duties for “For Reasons Unknown”.

      Even a few b-sides were thrown in for the fans, including their bold cover of “Shadowplay”, originally a Joy Division classic, redone in a way only the Las Vegas-based outfit could. The end of the set was a bruising of hits, with "Read My Mind", "Runaways", "All These Things That I’ve Done", and of course their two biggest singles, "When You Were Young" and "Mr. Brightside".

      All in all, a fine performance by a band that has sold over 25 million albums worldwide and are supremely bigger than the Commodore is known for, usually playing stadiums and huge festivals. Vancouver Killers fans knew they received a special treat and gave the band as much love as they possibly could. One can only hope more bands do unexpected shows like this in the future. With the elimination of scalpers due to credit-card entry only, a few lucky fans were able to witness one of the most popular mainstream rock acts of the 21st century in a very intimate setting.