WARNING: This post is less about The Killers and more about music and the idea of “show.” What makes a show magic? What kind of shows move you rather than merely entertain?
There’s something to be said for stadium shows. Having frequented more smaller venues lately, I had forgotten the energy that is sacrificed for intimacy. The sheer numbers, all gathered to sing along to the same lyrics, dance to the same beat, make for an entirely different experience than seeing your favorite indie band at the Observatory.
On Wednesday night at the Honda Center, The Killers toyed with the stadium setting by opening with Mr Brightside, house lights blaring.
They kept up the theatrics with some pyrotechnics, and even ended the show with a confetti blast over the audience during “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Killers. I’ve never been a super-fan, but I enjoy hearing them here and there, and “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” is easily one of my top 10 favorite lyrics of all time. But special effects aside, the strongest feeling I got from their show was a desire to see more bands I really am passionate about. It’s like being on a date with a perfectly nice person, but all you can think about is your ex. In this case, the ex I can’t stop thinking about is Incubus. When they perform, you know there’s a reason tens of thousands of people are standing there, transfixed. Clearly I’m obsessed. But some bands deserve obsession.
Unfortunately, The Killers and I just don’t have any chemistry. I’m sorry, Killers. You’re a really nice band, but I already have a Brandon in my life. I’m sure there are plenty of other fans out there for you.
One band I look forward to seeing on a big stage one day is The Devious Means. Great in an intimate venue, this is a band whose shows would improve exponentially with a huge audience to “scream and shout it out so the world knows that they’re alive!” And the thought of an entire stadium going quiet to hear the whisper “Mama’s gonna light a match and burn down the house tonight”? Oh my.
So that’s what I’m after. Festivals, stadiums, tiny nightclubs. They all have the potential for magic with the right band, or even just the right audience. Red Rocks in Colorado is one of the most beautiful venues out there, but the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco always promises an eclectic and friendly crowd for an exhilarating collective experience.
What’s the best live show you’ve ever witnessed? What venue are you dying to visit again? What band has left you speechless?
Photograph by David Brendan Hall Photography