The Killers - V Festival 2012 Hylands Park review

'The Killers are made for big events like this'

The Killers - V Festival 2012 Hylands Park review

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

Chris Eustace - 20 August 2012

How's starting with 'Somebody Told Me' and 'Smile Like You Mean It' for a statement of intent? The Killers don't let up from there, with Brandon Flowers dropping to his knees dramatically during a pepped-up 'Spaceman', which segues into cinematic 'Day & Age' track 'This Is Your Life'.

Afer that, we get to hear a couple of tracks from forthcoming new album 'Battle Born', and it soon becomes clear that the band will be revisiting the neon highways of 'Sam's Town' with it. Lead single 'Runaways' is a brilliantly ridiculous romp through FM radio in eighties middle America, almost the band's very own 'Don't Stop Believing', while 'Miss Atomic Bomb' is a 'Springsteenian' ballad. In a recent interview, Brandon revealed that it was a prequel to 'Mr Brightside', and it even features the iconic guitar riff from it towards the end, the singer wistfully crooning "we were innocent and young" over the top, before he also takes bass duties on the underrated, driving, 'For Reasons Unknown' as the band bid to get everyone dancing again.

They most certainly are for one of the standout tracks of the night, the unapologetically stadium rock 'Bling (Confessions Of A King)', which has fists pumping for its "higher and higher" finale. A sweeping cover of Joy Division's 'Shadowplay' gives way via a cymbal crash to a towering version of 'Human', and as they push towards the end of the set, the end of a heartwarming 'Read My Mind' has guitarist Dave Keuning centre-stage. He's ready to pick out the opening chords to the deathless 'Mr. Brightside' for real this time, sending V into raptures in the process. 'All These Things That I've Done' finishes the main set, with an extra "I got soul..." put onto the end for the keen Chelmsford singers.

So what you put in the encore when your main set has already had so many big songs in it?

Easy - more big songs. "You can't get rid of us that easily." smiles Brandon, before 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' and a version of 'When You Were Young' so collossal it could well be wired up to the National Grid ends things in a shower of onstage sparks. The Killers are made for big events like this now, and given how enduring the 'Hot Fuss' songs are, perhaps they always were. It sounds like the new songs are precision tooled to give us more nights like this, something you imagine the huge crowd at V tonight will be very happy about.

The Killers setlist at V Festival Hylands Park

Somebody Told Me
Smile Like You Mean It
This Is Your Life
Miss Atomic Bomb
For Reasons Unknown
Bling (Confessions Of A King)
A Dustland Fairytale
Read My Mind
Mr Brightside
All These Things That I've Done
Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
When You Were Young


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