As soon as I walked into The Xcel Energy Center and saw the stage on Tuesday night, I was intrigued. It just felt so small and so understated compared to the previous two shows I had recently seen at the giant arena. There wasn’t a giant stage with offshoots into the audience and no extravagant lighting structure hanging from the ceiling. There was just a stage, a weird track thing in front of the said stage (which I will explain later), and some confetti cannons. I was excited to see what all of this would create for me so I found my seat, got comfy, and let the music do the talking.
Opening up the Tuesday night show was Johnny Marr. My friends who I had met up with prior to the show and I agreed that the name was familiar but couldn’t place it until we looked Johnny up online. Johnny’s name sounded familiar because he is the guitarist and co-songwriter of The Smiths. He has also performed in The Pretenders, Modest Mouse, The Cribs– the list goes on and on. What I’m trying to say is that I was about to see a true legend on the stage right in front of me and I was excited.
As suspected, Johnny’s set was understated but absolutely flawless. At fifty-eight years old, Johnny’s talent has not faltered at all and his voice and guitar work was impeccable through and through. We got a little bit of everything from Johnny throughout his eight-song set. It started with his solo track “Armatopia” and moved throughout his expansive career including tracks from The Smiths. Although I couldn’t name you my favorite song that he performed on Tuesday, I can tell you that I was oddly enthralled by his performance. There really wasn’t much to look at as it was just Johnny and his band powering through the set yet somehow my eyes never left the stage and it all seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.
The arena was far from full as headlining act The Killers took the stage but that didn’t seem to phase the band or anyone else in the audience. Without hesitation, the band jumped into their opening track “My Own Soul’s Warning” with a blast of confetti kicking the night off right. That track I saw in front of the stage ended up being the track for a camera that buzzed from side to side catching amazing visuals of the entire band that were then shown on the giant screens hanging down on either side of the stage. My seat was in a weird spot where I really had to crank my neck to see the screens but the few times I checked out the screen, I was shocked at the quality of the video being shown to the rest of the audience. It was truly movie quality and made the show really have this special vibe about it that I was not expecting and really didn’t get unless I was looking at the said screen.
I stand by what I said about The Killers’ set being understated. There really wasn’t much smoke and mirrors but that’s what made it feel so impressive and larger than life. The band relied solely on their talent and their brilliant songwriting capabilities. If you’re one of those people that only know The Killers as the “Mr. Brightside band”, I truly urge you to check out more of their material. Their style is all over the place and it was all put in the spotlight on Tuesday. From swooning crooners that made you just want to sway back and forth while taking in the old soul side of vocalist Brandon Flowers to the infectiously addicting bangers like “Somebody Told Me” that made you want to jump up and down with your arms in the air, there was a little bit of something for everybody.
Although I loved every moment of the show on Tuesday night and thoroughly enjoyed all twenty-two tracks that were performed, it was those older tracks that really got me going. I hate to admit but The Killers are one of those bands that I just didn’t stick with. There’s really no reason for that other than I just never really went out of my way to keep track of them but, after sitting there and hearing some of the newer songs, I definitely think I need to go back and check out more than just their monumental 2004 album, Hot Fuss.
Overall, it was a stunning night of music with the focus on just that, the music. It was super refreshing and left me feeling somehow more energized and rested than I thought I could be at this point in time.