It's a fairly cold Monday in Birmingham. But that hasn't stopped a capacity crowd from coming out to the Genting Arena tonight. Even as I arrive at about 7:45 (just in time to watch the support act), there's still a huge queue outside the entrance to the arena.
As I walk in, I find a vast array of humanity lining the walls from the forum to the arena, where I find my seat and settle down to watch Alex Cameron kick off the proceedings and "grease up the stage" for the headliners "to knock it out of the park." And I'll be honest, I really enjoyed it. There was something refreshing about Alex Cameron and his ilk. An elegant, simplistic style, with the substance to match. And they genuinely seem to be overwhelmed. "Marlon Brando" is a particular highlight, as is "The Comeback" and "Taking Care of Business". There's a certain je ne sais quoi about the band, who are a joy to watch, even if the dancing leaves a little to be desired...
Taking the stage following Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" (which garnered a quiet mumble along), a giant triangular screen descends from the rafters, and a dried out riverbed illuminates the masses, showing you the extent of the crowd in the arena. "Wonderful, Wonderful", the opening track from the new album of the same name opens the show, and leads into the barn storming, confetti explosion that is "The Man". And it is incredible live.
Brandon Flowers' voice is majestic. It's a voice that has matured with each record, and you'd think it was only a studio voice. But no, it's incredible live too. Even more so some might say. Each note, no matter where it is, he can reach.
Yeah, there's a trio of ladies singing the back up lines, who are also an incredible addition to the show, but Flowers' voice is something else.
It's "Somebody Told Me" that is the first 'oldie' that comes out, and you feel the atmosphere ascend to a frenzy. Fists are pumping, lungs are emptying, and the noise level rises. So yeah, the new songs aren't as well known yet, but they're very well received, and next time they're played over here, will be as well known as some of the other 'oldies' in the set.
There's such a balanced setlist, and it's almost perfectly done, slowing down where it needs to, and seriously exploding everywhere else. But let's talk about the showmanship. Confetti cannons have already gone off during "The Man", but there is such production on the stage. There's a miniature Water Tower on the side, an enclosed video wall, and arrows on the other side that light up and really just bring everything together. And then there's a change at the front of the stage. Rising out of the stage floor, the illuminated K has changed to the male symbol, a la Austin Powers. Well and truly, The Man. The video wall is perfectly timed, and fits the songs perfectly, from the neon cowboys of Las Vegas, to the helicopter shots of the Nevada deserts and canyons.
Basically, without spoilers of the night, I'll say this: If you miss out on this tour, you're seriously missing out. Get yourself a ticket, get yourself to a show. You need to, you'll kick yourself for missing such an incredible show.