Rick Keene Music Scene – The Killers; To Die For.

If you have never seen The Killers live, why the f*ck not?

The band were in Montreal last night as part of their ‘Imploding the Mirage’ tour. A journey which is touching down in six different countries.

Johnny Marr ( The Smiths ) opened the show with energy. Normally – the opener gathers as much attention as a homeless person begging for change. Habitually,  the opening act is an artist ( band) honing their skills and are not quite ready for prime time. Marr an exception rather than the rule. Johnny (and his mates) in mid concert form from the get -go.

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Marshall Potts and Justin Saladino

Marr is a guitar player. Starting with ‘Armatopia‘ and ending with The Smith’s  ‘How Soon Is It Now’ – everything in between laden with unique chords and powerful riffs. Half punk – half leaning towards the sounds Dick Dale made so famous. If there is any weak point in Marr’s set it is the vocals. Marr ( by no means) will fight Mercury or Jagger for the title of best frontman. Then again- not many could. Marr is above average along with a million others. Marr is more than above average as a songwriter which cancels out any shortcomings. After all, a life partner doesn’t have to be beautiful to ensure a wonderful life filled with adventures.


The Killers took the stage. Brandon Flowers had the crowd in the palm of his hand immediately. A feat in the world of music reserved for few. A remarkable achievement earned through a high caliber rythym section, catchy lyrics and endless passion. Motion grows Flower’s reputation year after year and last night was no exception for this born showman.

Photo Chris Phelps

Serious yet with Tom Cruise’ s grin periodically lighting the stage and arena – Flowers’ appeal and staying power is authenticity. Combined with a battery section second -to-none, Angels disguised as back up singers, a piercing guitar schooled in spacing and keyboards holding it all together in the form of a 90s version of Prog Rock – The Killers stalk and chase their victims in pleasure rather than horror.

Photo Chris Phelps

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Aside from Flowers, the essential ingredient of The Killers is drummer Ronnie Vannucci. If metronomes needed tuning – Ronnie would be the tech and teacher. Impeccable force,  timing and fills propel Dave Keuning ( guitar), Mark Stoemer( guitar, keys) and Dell Neal (bass) to levels of pure bliss. The punters, the ticket holders – recipients of a high octane journey. Indents of energy few – exclamation points plenty.


All the ‘hits’ were played and singalongs were the norm in not just the hits; the audience sang along to almost every song. A connection between the band and their fans seen mostly in Festivals such as Glastonbury. Every Killers show is a Glastonbury as the energy is contagious. The group’s fans loyal as man’s best friend on the porch.

Photo Chris Phelps.

Country music and a monumental cover were the only times the crowd listened. Runaway Horses, A Dustland Fairytale and a cover of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ gave the band a chance to rest and Flowers a chance to showcase his vocals. Appearance and energy can often camouflage talent. Brandon is talent on many levels and vocal range is at the top.

The evening came full circle as Marr – ‘ the legendary‘ Marr, joined The Killers for a pair of killer renditions. ‘Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’, (The Smiths) and ‘Mr. Brightside ( The Killers) ended the night with emotion, energy and of course – crowd participation. The Bell Center partisans as loud as if a Stanley Cup winning goal was scored.

If you have never seen The Killers live – why the f*ck not!

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