After seeing the fabulous band from Las Vegas, Nevada rock a fully-packed United Center in the blistering cold month of January, goosebumps ensued as I walked into the Forum's ground level floor for what would turn out to be once again, another blow out show for 2018.
There was certainly excitement in the air around the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus, and even in the Downtown Milwaukee area as fans were spotted earlier in the day with t-shirts. I happened to catch a conversation with two couples going to the Cubs vs. Brewers game where they mentioned a few individuals they saw with Killers' shirts.
The local opener for the evening was Violent Femmes, a small three-person group, joined by an accordion player from Barenaked Ladies, who I couldn't make out his name, and a saxophone player Blaize Garza. Although I've heard music by Alex Cameron (the opener from The Killers at the United Center), Violent Femmes was the hometown opening hero, and much better as an opener. Even Brandon Flowers himself requested two songs of VF to play: "Gimme the Car" and "I Held Her in My Arms." I am more than positive Flowers had zero requests of Cameron, then again, he produced the album for him…so I'm in arms.
Let's start with the introduction before the band made their way on stage. They managed to modify and reproduce the Wayne's World, Alice Cooper scene, which had me cracking up the moment they started it. If you happened to be near the sound mixers and see a tall, big butt guy cracking up, yeah that was me. From that point forward we were delivered 18 beautifully performed songs – with less of an emphasis on the "Wonderful, Wonderful" album than in January. Was I a bit salty they didn't open up with "Wonderful, Wonderful?" Slightly, but who cares? It's The Killers in Milwaukee, in front of my very eyes, a crowd full of eager eyes and ears!
I ended up taking notes about some particular moments in the show this time, which I haven't been doing as much, but I wanted to this time, and it paid off, ten-fold. So, let's get to them. Brandon Flowers shared two quotes with the audience that were quite breathtaking and hysterical. The hysterical one happened early on where he shouted "We've been playing in that dingy-ass Eagles Ballroom for 15 years. Can you believe this?" Sad to say, I've never been to the EB. I've only heard stories.
You could see Flowers took in every moment of the show last night in awe. The more breathtaking remark, he made, "I think a lot of us get our light from our moms. The trick is never to let it go out." There was a moment there where I went through a massive flashback of memories with my mother over these 27 years of life on earth with her and my father. That is something I have never experienced in the middle of a concert, and I know I will cherish it for many years to come. It was special to me.
Speaking of special, how special for mega fan, George, to get invited on stage to play the bass guitar during "For Reasons Unknown?" I've only seen The Killers do that once, and it was for Tony, the drummer. If you've never seen the video, I've got you covered. It's seriously a spectacle and the kid shreds.
The absolute best song combination of the night comes at tracks nine and ten, my all-time favorites, "Smile Like You Mean It" and "For Reasons Unknown." How those songs go into each other is perfect for a live concert. Most importantly, hearing the crowd roar as the first synthesizer note goes on "Smile Like You Mean It" shows the true fan following that attended the show. Seeing Flowers and his big smile at the very end of the song; at the end of each song; For all the things The Killers have done; it makes any live experience with them a real winner. Maybe I'll be lucky enough and catch them for a Vegas residency next year. One can hope, right?