Still “The Man?” The Killers Wonderful Wonderful Tour Without Founding Members

by Madi Martin

I’ve been a victim since high school: The Killers’ music helped me get through teen angst and Brandon Flower’s lyrics were soothing to my soul. As such, it was a priority to see them in concert, and see them I did at Lollapalooza 2013 and Hangout Fest 2014.

College has happened and music tastes change and (hopefully) refine. The band’s tracks are no longer the only tracks I turn to when I need a pick-me-up, but even so, here I am, going to see them a third time at the United Center in January as they promote their new album, Wonderful, Wonderful.

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A lot has changed for the band, something any casual fan without prior knowledge could see during this particular tour. Unfamiliar faces sprinkled the stage, to make up for the two that were sorely lacking: Dave Keuning, the lead guitarist from day one, dropped the band to spend time with family; and bassist Mark Stoermer decided to go back to school.

Of course, the stars of the show were always whimsical singer Brandon Flowers and the energetic Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. drumming in the background. No longer is Flower’s synthesizer obscured by their classic retro-bulbed lightning bolt; instead, a fluorescent-pink Mars symbol stands centered on the stage. Three new female background singers similarly chime in to tracks while standing behind three Venus symbols.

Even so, Brandon was as vibrant as ever. Fun costume changes, short knowing asides to the audience – the man is a natural performer. Ronnie gave it his all in the background, those same soldiering-through facial expressions I’d delighted in during their hard sets in the past. I sang their music from previous albums with fervor all the way through by myself. Hey Brandon, put me up on that stage – I’ll be another Venus.

The main single from the 2017 album, “The Man”, was outrageously fantastic, and felt like it’d been a part of the show all along. The other new and strangely slower material, though? Unfortunately, not so much. I think much of it is going to be something even loyal fans will need to get used to.

It was different, and unfortunately not in a good way, but I’m glad I had a notion of this coming in. It seems that the days of anthems and bangers from Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town may be spent for the boys.

Wonderful, Wonderful and its tour may not be as wonderful as I would have wanted for the band at this stage in their career, but I still hold out hope that whatever may come up in their unsure future, they move with magic and dignity, and not fizzle out like their iconic bolt.

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