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Concert Reviews:
Killers Take State Theatre Crowd To "Sam's Town"

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2006

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DETROIT -- Just over two weeks old -- officially, at least -- "Sam's Town" is still a fresh burg for the Killers and their fans. But the multi-platinum Las Vegas quartet felt comfortable to inhabit this new sonic terrain for much of its concert Wednesday night at the State Theatre.

"Sam's Town" is, of course, the Killers great sophomore gambit, coming on the heels of the group's 2004 debut "Hot Fuss" and its five million copies sold worldwide. The new album's off to a good start (it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart), and 10 of the 16 songs the Killers played in its 80-minute set -- including the first three -- were "Sam's Town" inhabitants.

And if that wasn't enough, a large "Sam's Town" marquee above the stage hammered home the Killers' priority this time out.

It's a transition the band handled well, delivering both albums' songs in tight, energetic fashion under the direction of frontman Brandon Flowers, dressed like a frontier dandy in a vest and ascot. And the capacity crowd of about 3,000 responded in kind, its collective energy spiking for the hits ("Somebody Told Me," "Mr. Brightside," "All These Things That I've Done," "When You Were Young") and readily accessibly new material such as "Bones," and flagging during the more sophisticated new songs that aren't yet as well known.

That's the truly tricky part for the Killers -- evolving from a singles group to an album band. Much of the "Sam's Town" material has a depth and ambitious scope that demonstrates genuine, rather than gratuitous, growth and maturity. So it's understandable Flowers and company are properly proud of it. But at the same time it's playing to an audience that wants, and expects, to dance to the New Wave-influenced flavor coined on "Hot Fuss" -- except, perhaps, the ponderous bonus track "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll."

It's not an easy gulf to bridge, and the Killers will only accomplish it with persistence and a little help from time as fans acclimate themselves to the group's ambitions. Wednesday's show was a good start, with the sheer quality of songs such as "Bling (Confessions of a King)," "My List" and "Sam's Town's" title track more than holding their own alongside the hits. The stakes are high, but the Killers showed a strong potential to be a band worth turning out for regardless of whether it has anything high on the charts.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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