In an interview in this month’s Q Magazine, Killers frontman and member of the Mormon elite Brandon Flowers declared that he is the true epitome of rock and roll. Now, you don’t have to be that well-informed to know that Flowers isn’t some drugs hoover or has hollow legs. Instead, he puts down this rock and roll attitude to being somebody who does what they want, when they want. This includes going to bed early and attending to his faith. Well, it’s the thought that counts anyway.
On the basis of last night’s hastily aborted show at Manchester’s Evening News Arena, the decision to haul the band off after four songs might stand as a real test of nerve and support that rather grandiose “rock and roll” statement. Not long after opener Mr. Brightside (performed with the house lights on; an annoying trait of arena-level bands), Flowers’ on stage patter was conducted with a noticeably hoarse voice. One track from the disappointing Battle Born, Smile Like You Mean It and Spaceman followed before it all fell apart. Not even halfway through Bling (Confessions Of A King), Flowers made the hand across the throat motion to an invisible stage-hand and ordered the band to wind it up. To those watching the outcome was inevitable, but Flowers felt we should hear it anyway: “I’m sorry. I’ve never had to do this before but we’ve gotta stop. I can’t sing…I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m sorry. I know it’s frustrating for you and I’m sorry. I promise that we will come back” Flowers told the crowd.
The usual and inevitable boos and jeers rose up. They are justified, of course. People will have spent a fair amount of dough to get to the gig and consequently, frustration is simply a by-product of having the rug pulled from under your feet. However, let’s review a number of issues and possibilities:
- Had Flowers continued, his voice would more than likely have degraded to a dry whisper. The result? A half-arsed show and the cancellation of more dates. Those in attendance would have taken to THE INTERNET to voice their displeasure and accused him of phoning it in and other tired rants.
- If the show had resumed after half an hour or more, the venue would have been starkly emptier and the atmosphere completely flat. Turning on the house lights and addressing the audience as a real person and not a performer can really destroy your suspension of disbelief. Maybe it’s a poor excuse, but the art of illusion counts for a lot in showbiz.
- The lad’s a professional singer. His voice is his trade. Would you send a pro-driver out for the long haul in a rickety car? Well, some might but the more sensible of us wouldn’t.
The Killers, for whatever faults they may have, are hardly a group that carries with them a reputation for slack attitudes towards their music and supporters. Brandon Flowers, for all of his verbal posturing, is hardly Axl Rose. We all have our off days. It’s just a shame Flowers had one in front of 15,000 or so people.
There is, naturally, a very real possibility of a more sinister reason for this. Maybe if he hadn’t spent so much time gassing with Mitt Romney over some fine, luxurious lunches then his voice might have been saved. Maybe this was Romney’s suicide pill; the young’uns don’t like you, so take the fight to them instead. Damage one of their idols. Maybe those magic tablets do have some worthwhile advice on them after all.
|PICTURE NOT EDITED: SOLD AS SEEN|