“Chicago, Illinois, we gotta make up for some lost time tonight, how about this,” said lead singer Brandon Flowers at the end of the Killers’ sold-out Chicago stop on the Imploding the Mirage Tour on September 21. “Covid has brought a lot of uncertainty. Covid forced a lot of isolation. Chicago, look around tonight – no one is isolated tonight. This is a Super Spreader Event – We Spread Peace. We spread love and we spread rock and roll. Come and get it.”
“My Own Soul’s Warning” started the setlist and “When You Were Young”, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” and “Smile Like You Mean It” provided encore-level euphoria at the beginning of the show. Chicago was lucky enough to get a special Christmas concert from The Killers – composed of Flowers, Dave Keuning (lead guitar), Mark Stoermer (bass – on tour hiatus), Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums) – during what was formerly known as the radio station Nights We Stole Christmas by 101WKQX in 2021 but this was the first post-pandemic stop at the United Center and the excitement of both the band and fans was palpable.
“I can’t believe it’s been four years since I had the opportunity to say those words in Chicago,” Flowers said with a huge grin. “We are the Killers and we are brought to you through fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.”
Keuning’s riffs dazzled all night with an exceptionally pretty outro on “A Dustland Fairytale” and a stunning solo on “Read My Mind,” on the latter of which Flowers shared a vocal snippet from “Lean on Me.” Vannucci was rock solid on every song, especially “In the Car Outside” with its distinctive automotive rhythms.
Whether it was saying a prayer on a Wednesday night (“Running Towards a Place”) or flaunting his tremendous singing talents with a classic cover (“The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”), Flowers was the definition of a rock star — running , hopping on the front stage podium and doing your best at every opportunity. He even conjured up Kraftwerk vibes with his humorous vocoder intro to “Human.”
Earlier in the night The Smiths legend Johnny Marr – who joined The Killers during the encore – opened the show.
“Hello Chicago. Nice to see you all again, nice to be back,” Marr said before introducing his band. “Thanks for making it so early. This is Ivan. this is james this is jack my name is johnny We’ll play some tunes for you.”
His brief setlist was equal parts solo songs and hits from his Smiths days. Marr’s performance of “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” drew enthusiastic acclaim and response from the audience, and he and his band produced menacing drama on “How Soon Is Now?”.
One of the many highlights of the night was “Runaways,” a song that should be sung at the top of one’s lungs in a sold-out stadium. Flowers and Company builds on the already epic nature of the battleborn Hit with an extended outro and calls to “line up”.
The Killers will continue the North American leg of the Imploding the Mirage Tour through October 12th. Do yourself a favor and click here to buy tickets to a live performance in a city near you.
For more information on upcoming shows at the United Center, visit UnitedCenter.com.
(Photos by Chris Phelps)