I failed seeing The Killers twice back home, and thought I’d missed the opportunity forever. About a week ago, as Lisa and I were hunting out Indian food in the maze that is Beijing City, Lisa spied a small advertisement saying The Killers were playing on National Day (October 1st).
Third times the charm, right?
Instantly we planned out how we were going to travel during what happens to be China’s busiest week of the year (whoever decided The Killers were to play on the most important day, you fool). More travel plans were added and taken away, and at one stage it looked like we might have missed our ticket purchasing chances, but with three days to go we secured some middle-class tickets and were in with a grin and off to see those magical boys. The night of the 1st we navigated the Metro and headed towards Wukesong, and the Beijing Mastercard Stadium. The Metro is always a hit-and-miss insofar as judging how busy it’s going to be. We made it out of our final destination with ten minutes to spare, and after copious ticket and bag checks we entered the stadium to the unfortunate closing bars of Mr. Brightside. China is the only country I know who start their concerts on time (this we should have realised, as everything in China is countable down to the last minute).
The Killers are absolutely, undeniably, beautiful. Brandon Flowers spoke some cute, yet recognisable, greetings in Mandarin to which the crowd exploded. He also mentioned their eclectic dress sense was due to a market they visited (still fabulous in your cut off freedom star shirt there Mr. Flowers). They played a full 90-minute set filled with most of their successful back catalogue top hits, and left the crowd (including myself) filled with that rare happiness you feel when you experience a band who sound exactly as they do on album.
Because I witnessed The Killers in China (their first China appearance no less) I feel there were some outwardly Chinese aspects to it that are worth mentioning –
The tickets were all seat allocated. In China it seems you sit for any and all events. This would be okay if the seats were built in a layered formation, not flat on the stadium floor, as ours happened to be. We sped past our central located seats to stand in the side aisle next to the VIP section, and promptly piss off the Chinese security to no end as more and more people had the same idea as us.
Crowd interaction was a little lacklustre. Brandon tried to get the crowd to sing with specific pauses thrown into many of the songs, but I think the inherent language barriers were too strong to overcome, even with a large expat presence.
Overall I still regard The Killers as one of the best bands I have seen live. Read my mind was played to perfection, and the finale song of When you were young (which I called before the concert started) was an absolute killer song to end with (nothing is ever complete without a pun).