The Killers Rock Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

The Killers in action in the Phoenix Park

Last year, a series of concerts were held in the Phoenix Park consisting of acts such as Stone Roses, Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg and Snow Patrol. As we all now know, the second night which hosted the aforementioned Swedish House Mafia and Snoop Dogg was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. Several audience members suffered stab wounds and were hospitalised before the concert had concluded, others died from drug related incidents. The promoters shirked as much responsibility as possible, but as someone who attended the Saturday and Sunday night gigs last year I can say that the organisation was absolutely horrendous. Nobody was searched in any adequate fashion, I myself was in fact not searched at all. The stewards on site were children with no power to stop the violence, violence everyone but the organisers seemed to know was possible well in advance of the gig. What was more blatant was the difference the next day, when Snow Patrol and Florence + The Machine played to another packed Phoenix Park and no incidents were reported. Thankfully, The Killers last night ran more along these lines and has helped to re-establish the Park’s potential as the summer venue for concerts in Dublin.

The Killers have had a funny career path since their explosive debut album “Hot Fuss”. I was scarily reminded last night that it has been nearly ten years since I first saw them live, on the New Band Stage at Oxegen 2004. A year later saw them on the main stage midday and after that they returned to Oxegen as headliners. They have been getting progressively bigger from a live act perspective, yet they seem to be fading somewhat from the airwaves. That isn’t to say they have stalled or stagnated, their last two albums have produced some solid hits, but “Hot Fuss” came at a time when other bands like Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian and Razorlight were also dominating the airwaves and a new wave of mainstream rock was inbound. Fast forward to now and the dominance of hip hop and electro pop has somewhat sidelined these groups, and this was no more in evidence than when looking at a half empty Phoenix Park last night. And it was a crying shame, because those who didn’t turn out missed one hell of a gig.

Ably supported by Two Door Cinema Club, less so by the somewhat underwhelming Frank Ocean, The Killers took the stage about nine, and proceeded to race through two hours worth of their finest material. They kicked things off with their breakout single “Somebody Told Me” and, as always, it’s nearly worth the admission by itself. “Miss Atomic Bomb”, “Human”,”For Reasons Unknown” and an impromptu segue way into “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” were some of the stand outs in a stellar set, but the true highlight of any Killers gig post-“Sam’s Town” is always of course, “Read My Mind”. Ringing out through the Phoenix Park it sounds like a clarion call to all and sundry. Is it calling for a rally, a break or a war? Who cares, it is the pinnacle of this band’s career and the absolute highlight of any of their gigs.

The barrage of hits didn’t end there, with the encore bringing us “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”, “When You Were Young” and the epitome of a modern classic “Mr. Brightside” to finish of proceedings. Credit must go The Killers for their overall performance too. Usually one of two things happens when a band is aware of poor ticket sales. Either they arrive on stage and give it socks regardless, or they grow somewhat petty and phone in a show that may as well be on CD. Thankfully The Killers fit into the former category, Brandon Flowers especially putting on an absolutely fantastic performance that was miles departed from the shy, introverted young front man he has been at previous gigs.

The long haul out of the park may be slightly painful, and the thoughts of doing it again tonight makes me shudder, and the security was a little too lacklustre regardless of the “nicer” nature of the acts on (I wasn’t checked entering the venue in any form, simply waved in which was shocking given what happened last year). But all of these aside, it was a fantastic gig and once again, it entirely reinfornced the status of the Park as a more than adequate summer venue. The only crime this year, was the attendance.

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