Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

September 23, 2009
Killers bring big sound to Arco Arena

In the space between adolescence and middle age -- between jeans skinny and Mom -- exists The Killers.

The Las Vegas quartet bridges the gap between people who remember the '80s and youngsters intrigued by the anthemic sounds emitted by that magic instrument known as a synthesizer.

A bit of Roxy Music, a touch of Pet Shop Boys and even a dash of The Cult -- the Killers evoked them all Tuesday night at Arco Arena while keeping a modest but enthusiastic crowd of 6,000 on its feet.

That included people who stood only after Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers shamed them into it.

"The people who are sitting down -- you're killing me," Flowers told the crowd. "We are not The Fray."

Flowers and his bandmates definitely rock harder than The Fray. They're also more elliptical, musically and lyrically.

Some of The Killers' songs, such as "Human," from the 2008 release "Day & Age," are so lyrically obtuse that they might have blocked messages from audience members' brains to their feet.

"Human" has a beat you can dance to, certainly, but what do The Killers mean by the line "Are we human, or are we dancer?" (I ask this after about 50 enjoyable/perplexing listens over the past year.)

Two exceptions from "Day & Age" are "Joy Ride," with its self-explanatory lyrics and insistent beat, and "A Dustland Fairytale," which, like the excellent "When You Were Young" from the Killers' 2006 CD "Sam's Town," tackles the plight of the easily charmed woman.

Flowers' elastic tenor reached such emotional heights during "Fairytale" Tuesday night that you wondered if he knows the woman in the song who got sucked in by a "slick chrome American prince." The Killers' portrayal of romance among the have-nots can approach the poetic, and at some moments, even the Springsteen-esque.

Consisting on Tuesday night of Flowers (vocals and synth), drummer Ronnie Vannucci, bassist Mark Stoermer, guitarist Dave Keuning and two side players, The Killers created a sound at once big, elaborate and exceptionally sharp. The band sounded even better when stripped down to its core for comparatively straightforward songs such as "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me," both from 2004's "Hot Fuss."

The Killers' songs are credited to the whole band. One gets a strong sense, however, that Flowers runs the creative show. He certainly doesn't seem to be in it for the glory of being a front man.

Despite the effervescence he displays on stage, Flowers is no spotlight hog. He interacted with the Arco audience infrequently, and he even seemed a little shy while apologizing, during the encore, for what he had said earlier about The Fray.

The gesture showed that Flowers has manners to match his angelic face.

In other words, it wasn't very rock 'n' roll.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives