Williams + Hirakawa The Killers have been forced to cancel three shows this…
- Posted on Dec 3rd 2010 10:30AM by Kenneth Partridge
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
"I know it's Thursday," Flowers, born just outside of Las Vegas, said Thursday night at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, where he played what figures to be his final US show of 2010. "Let's pretend it's Saturday."
Flowers is good at pretending. As both the frontman for the Killers, the synth-pop group he's led through three albums, and as a solo artist, the singer carries himself as a kind of swashbuckling cowboy dandy poet -- Bruce Springsteen crossed with Morrissey, dressed in Han Solo's skinny slacks and vest. It's a role the singer and songwriter reprised Thursday, as he played a 13-song set heavy on tunes form his solo debut, 'Flamingo,' released earlier this year.
The main difference between Flowers the Killer and Flowers the solo artist is instrumentation. Thursday night, he and his band -- six strong, including two female background singers -- favored guitars over synths, making such standouts as 'Crossfire' and 'Magdalena' sound more like '80s-era Boss or U2 than Depeche Mode, New Order or any of the New Wave influences the Killers never quite abandon.
The evening's pre-show mixtape included songs by the Cars and Dire Straits, and lest anyone fail to grasp what era of rock music Flowers meant to reference, he covered 'Bette Davis Eyes,' a Kim Carnes hit from 1981, the year he was born. His was a faithful, loving version, and he might just as easily have opted for Quarterflash's 'Harden My Heart' or Stevie Nicks' 'Stand Back' -- similarly cheesy tunes he'd have had no trouble owning.
Flowers has been on the road since August -- his tour wraps this weekend with a pair of Canadian shows -- and he's clearly reached a level of comfort with the 'Flamingo' material. He's recast 'On the Floor' as a spur-jangling country number, ditching the faux-gospel simmer of the record, and as he introduced 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,' he gave his best wizened-troubadour rap, explaining the city "is not always as fabulous as they make it out to be."
Throughout the tour, Flowers has been working several Killers songs into his show, and he tends to close his encores with either 'When You Were Young' or 'Mr. Brightside.' New York City got the latter, and it was glad it did.
Although Flowers plays a remixed version, pinning the melody on a club groove stripped bare of dynamics and the familiar chord changes, fans sang along with every word. They love Flowers, but they wonder when he'll start Killing again.