Live review: The Killers at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

They kicked off their first Newcastle show for five years with the title track of their latest album, Wonderful Wonderful, and there could be no doubting that the Killers were doubly wondrous throughout.

Saturday, 11th November 2017, 11:16 am
Updated Friday, 2nd March 2018, 5:15 am

That made for a slow-paced, moody opening to their set at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena last night, November 10, but it offered a few moments of calm before frontman Brandon Flowers cranked up his trademark hyperactivity.

Flowers, 36, might have been fronting one of the biggest bands in the world since 2001 and is currently celebrating having notched up a fifth No 1 album in a row, but he still exudes the excitability and restlessness of a child on Christmas morning every second he’s on stage, and his enthusiasm was infectious, taking no time at all to get the 11,000-strong capacity crowd at the arena jumping up and down or, in the case of the seated sections, standing up and swaying awkwardly.

“It doesn’t get any better than this for us,” he told the crowd later on, and his sincerity was clear to see.

Second on the setlist last night was another new song, The Man, possibly not their strongest single ever but, that said, it’s up against very stiff opposition – and, for reasons unknown, it was given a spoken-word reprise later on – but it also received a warm welcome.

It was song number three, their second single, Somebody Told Me, that switched things up a gear, however, still sounding every bit as fresh and urgent as when it made it to No 3 back in 2004.

It was one of four songs from the US alternative rock act’s 2004 debut album, Hot Fuss, to be given an airing during a 22-track set lasting just short of two hours, the others being Smile Like You Mean It, final encore Mr Brightside and main set closer All These Things That I’ve Done, the last prompting singalongs by fans of its exuberantly nonsensical refrain of “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier”, soulfulness not being top of the list of qualities sought by armed forces anywhere in the world as far as I am aware, all the way back to the city centre.

Its follow-up, 2006’s Sam’s Town, also accounted for four songs – For Reasons Unknown, This River is Wild, Read My Mind and a joyous rattle through When You were Young second from the end – as did 2008’s Day and Age, with Human, Spaceman, A Dustland Fairytale and I Can’t Stay.

Their fourth album, Battle Born, only got a token look-in in the form of a belting rendition of the single Runaways, but it was one of the highlights of the night, Flowers often being at his best when in storytelling mode.

Wonderful Wonderful, its follow-up, was given more of a showcasing, as was to be expected, the other four of the six of the 10 songs making up its standard edition to be played being Run for Cover, Rut, The Calling and Tyson vs Douglas, the last two in particular getting the sort of rapturous reception generally reserved for old favourites despite only having been out since the end of September.

The rest of an excellent set consisted of their 2013 single Shot at the Night and fine cover versions of Joy Division’s Shadowplay and, in acoustic form, Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet, the latter’s writer, Mark Knopfler, formerly of these parts, being one of the guest artists featured on the new LP.