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Live Review and Photo Gallery: The Killers with Johnny Marr at United Center • Chicago

| September 22, 2022

The Killers/Johnny Marr

Wednesday, Sept 21

United Center

Chicago, IL

Review by Andy Argyrakis and photos by Chris Phelps

For nearly two decades, The Killers have consistently crafted dependable hits with one foot moving feverishly on the dance floor and the other planted firmly in the heartland. That juxtaposition couldn’t be more apparent on the Las Vegas-bred band’s last two projects, 2020s grandly produced Imploding The Mirage and 2022’s more organic, small town-themed Pressure Machine.

That meant there were a ton of newer tunes to choose from when frontman/keyboard player Brandon Flowers, drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr., recently returning guitarist Dave Keuning and their backers finally overcame numerous pandemic-related delays to sell out the United Center, surely bolstered by the support of Johnny Marr.

Even so, The Killers are no strangers to filling arenas and made a point to juggle the current with all the expected chart-toppers, accompanied by a video wall as giant as the group’s endless hooks. The excitement began building with “My Own Soul’s Warning” and “Enterlude,” but really kicked into overdrive come the surging anthem “When You Were Young.”

The guys dove back to their heralded “Hot Fuss” beginnings for the double synth pop punch of “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” and “Smile Like You Mean It,” alongside shining some much-deserved light on the optimistic power ballad “Shot At The Night.” Arms and phones kept waving for the smash “Somebody Told Me,” while the brand new “Boy,” presumably from yet another upcoming album, bounced in a similar club direction.

The always theatrical Flowers turned it up a notch for the epic “Runaways,” then kept right on cruising through “Read My Mind,” “All These Things I’ve Done,” and “The Man,” amongst others. Yet it all reached an apex when Marr came out to lend his scene-shaping guitar tones to The Smiths’ “This Charming Man,” followed by The Killers’ own career calling card, “Mr. Brightside,” as everyone bellowed each rousing chorus.

Besides Marr’s appearance on that aforementioned classic, he co-wrote with Morrissey, and the finale, a much-too-short but superb opening set featured a couple of solo selections off Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4, a nod to working with New Order’s Bernard Sumner in Electronic via “Getting Away With It,” plus transcendent takes on The Smiths’ “Panic,” “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” and “How Soon Is Now?” In the end, the pairing of the “elder” statesman (Marr appears 20 years younger) and one of the countless alternative acts he influenced couldn’t have been more fitting as it built a bridge between genres and generations.

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