Brandon Flowers @ Riviera Theater [Chicago Nov 23] - OurVinyl
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Brandon Flowers @ Riviera Theater [Chicago Nov 23]

Concerts

The setting is nothing fancy at the Riviera Theater, just five lights and a curtain—Vegas style. Brandon Flowers steps out on stage, gets his bearings amidst the multiple screams from the ladies (and the men!), and starts the evening on a slow note. It’s a great beginning to calm the rowdy crowd that frankly wants to rip off his clothes the second he appears. He has such control over the entire place, its dark and quiet and everyone is just waiting for the energy to build.

And the lights slowly reveal him and the band. And he greets the awaiting crowd with a “Good Evening Chicago” and his hit song “Crossfire”. He moves. He sings. He’s entranced in his own music—it’s amazing, he can’t stay still.

It’s almost as if he is doing Karaoke to his own songs, in the best of ways. His performance was a constant surprise based solely off the crowd and what he felt like doing. He covered the majority of his solo album, Flamingo, but also threw in some “oldie but goodie” covers from the Killers. Of course he covered the Killers, most of the time he is the Killers.

A big highlight was when he took an 80s turn and covered “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. Fucking brilliant.  (The video is below—not great quality but the sound is perfect)

Smoke, lights and shadow consumed the setting when he performed the last song before the encore, “Playing With Fire”. It was intense, even for him.

The best part of Brandon Flowers is his ability to draw you into the entire concept of the show. He explains some songs before he starts to just belt them out. There is nothing repetitive to the songs for him—even if he’s played them thousands of times.  His last song, “Mr. Brightside”, was sung as if it was the first time—it was written in 2001.

Flowers brought with him a fantastic band as well as the addition of two female background vocalists. This worked brilliantly to fill the spots Jenny Lewis took care of in Flamingo, namely the song Hard Enough. The only disappointment was Flowers, a very talented pianist and guitarist, played no instrument while on stage.

Wait. That is partially untrue—for the encore Flowers came out with a mini keyboard and played to accompany his slow version of Human, which consisted of the beginning verse. Well done, Brandon. Well done. Guess you can’t do everything.

Brandon Flowers is a magnet with electric stage presence. He is immensely talented and should always be heard live. The album, Flamingo, was only received as lukewarm by critics. Most complain it was a bit too melodramatic and a little cliché. Seeing Flowers play live puts an entirely new spin on the album. The “lackluster” studio versions of the songs have taken on an entirely new spin after witnessing the emotion brought to life where Flowers obviously belongs—on a stage in front of a huge crowd.

Written by Natalie Kontur (Note: the setlist is below the video)

Setlist:

On the Floor

Crossfire

Magdalena

Bette Davis Eyes (Kim Carnes cover)

Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts

Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas

Was It Something I Said?

Hard Enough

Losing Touch (The Killers)

Swallow It

Playing With Fire

Encore:

Human (The Killers- partial)

Only the Young

Mr. Brightside (The Killers- Jacques Lu Cont Remix)