Photos courtesy of Chris Phelps
Summer’s most difficult concert ticket to get may have belonged to Taylor Swift, But The Killers gave her a run for her money with a surprise performance at First Avenue last night. Announced just one week prior and selling out nearly instantly, the tickets to their intimate show became priceless. The band, being fully aware of their value, implemented a non-transferable ticket policy (much to the dismay of the usual scalpers hovering around the venue’s entrance). Once you secured a ticket – there was no turning back. It was a good call from the band. In comparison to the resellers pushing Taylor Swift tickets into the tens of thousands of dollars, who knows how much the tickets for The Killers surprise appearance would have gone for. For the lucky fans who got them – it was worth every penny.
Surprisingly, The Killers haven’t played the legendary Minneapolis club before. Outside a 2004 appearance at the attached 7th Street Entry, The Killers were launched into popularity quickly, returning to Minnesota to perform at much larger venues like The Roy Wilkins Auditorium, The Xcel Energy Center, and tonight’s show at the larger-still, Target Field, as part of the TC Summerfest lineup. However, their first ever, and sold out show in the mainroom, was enough to finally get them a star high up on the wall outside First Avenue. Many fans, including myself, were shocked they weren’t already there.
As big and common as their arena shows are, Frontman Brandon Flowers seemed to thrive in the smaller club, even if the stage seemed cramped with their usual stage plot. That didn’t deter Flowers from standing up on monitors and leaning into the crowd. Looking around for more opportunities, he at one point eyed the line array to his right to see if it was possible to scale it. He didnt, unfortunately.
What Flowers and his band did do, however, was a Prince cover. While a Prince cover is still a bit tongue-in-cheek at First Avenue, The special occasion and capability of The Killers was enough to warrant a great cover of I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man, The second song of their set. “That song (Sam’s Town, the first song of the night) is a tribute to my town. This one is a tribute to yours.” Flowers said before performing the song.
The show itself felt like one big party. Confetti cannons were even fired off on the first song, and again with streamer cannons toward the end of the night. There was hardly a moment that seemed slow, outside a few of the more calm tracks the band performed off of 2021’s Pressure Machine (Quiet Town, Runaway Horses) But even then, the crowd appreciated the breather in between all the other high energy songs.
The Band packed in 19 songs in just an hour and a half, with Flowers, ever the showman, hardly breaking a sweat. The smaller venue even allowed him to be a bit more personal with the crowd. After admitting he doesnt talk much in between songs during shows (which can be an impossible task surrounded by 40,000 fans) he took a moment to explain the meaning behind When You Were Young, the success of their first album and their trip to Europe that helped to inspire the track.
First Avenue seemed to be at arena-sound levels during their show. Not even my earplugs could dampen how loud the band, and the audience was. Switching to my noise canceling earbuds helped, but still left my ears ringing in between songs (RIP to anyone who was there without ear protection). Flowers seemed to tease an instrumental, slower tempo house-like remix of their biggest hit Mr. Brightside as their final song, Leaving the fans a bit confused, and wondering if almost 20 years of performing that song had led to the band reworking it. But, halfway through, The unmistakable guitar notes that opened the original song rang out, and the band launched into the proper version of Mr. Brightside to the loudest applause of the night.
Almost as a joke, as if they were a smaller band than they really are, Flowers signed off saying “We’re The Killers, from the fabulous Las Vegas Nevada!” before walking offstage. “We’ll see you tomorrow!” While there’s likely a big overlap between fans who will see them at both First Avenue and Target Field, the intimacy of the First Avenue show will likely remain a favorite for anyone who scored tickets.
Photos by Chris Phelps
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Prince cover)
This Is Your Life
Somebody Told Me
Read My Mind
When You Were Young
All These Things That I’ve Done
Under the Gun