The Killers @ PNC Bank Arts Center

HOLMDEL, NJ—Walking to a venue most people would feel excited to get a chance to hear some good live music, or at least that’s what they’re paying for. Some get there early; others make it just in time to see the main act. I’ve wanted to catch a Wolfmother show for maybe three years now, so I was one of those who got to PNC early. Well, not early enough.

Having to park about a mile away my eagerness got turned into anger and frustration hearing vocalist Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother come on stage. I’ve done the walk before and I knew there was no chance I was making it inside without missing half the set, which I did. I managed to hear them the whole way there so I guess that’s better than nothing.

Last year the band started from scratch with only Stockdale remaining in the group. Wolfmother went from being a three-piece band to a quartet with the addition of a rhythm guitarist. With that said, the new members of the band have done little in the ways of missing a beat. The fusion of old and new songs in the set made it clear that the new members meshed in perfectly.

With the release of their second studio album, Cosmic Egg, weeks away the band previewed four songs off of it. They’re looking to maintain that unique sound of theirs, mixing old school riffs reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath with new, more modern keyboards and vocals.

They opened up with a couple of new songs and went into “Woman” for those looking to sing along. For the fan-faithful, “White Unicorn” was definitely a treat. The short set was capped off with “Joker And The Thief,” it’s a rock n’ roll song to say the least. Watching it live you would expect a little guitar smashing, maybe even a little amp destroying—it’s that kind of song. Good openers leave you wanting more and this time it was no different.

The dismantling of Wolfmother’s physical set revealed what I could only describe as an oasis on stage. Palm trees were lined up all around wrapping behind the two drum kits. A giant bouquet of flowers highlighted the silver and white piano as a giant “K” was placed center stage.

Being that The Killers aren’t in my CD collection or even on my iPod, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ll admit I’m not completely oblivious to their music, before the night was over there were several songs I recognized.

Brandon Flowers took the stage in an all-black outfit with some peacock feathers sticking out which only added to the exotic feel of the stage. Going into their popular song “Humans,” the amphitheater looked more like a night club than a concert hall. The wide array of fans were indicative of what The Killers have managed to do since first getting together in 2001. Their music has been appealing to all age groups and it even got the tough guys, who sat there for hours with their arms crossed, to loosen up.

I’ll admit I couldn’t help myself. I, too, wanted to move my hips a bit, maybe shuffle my shoulders around; I don’t know if that would constitute dancing but that’s as close as it’s getting for me. With a 17-song set list it’s either you get with it or it’ll just be a long night. They played a balanced set, five songs from Hot Fuss, Sam’s Town and their latest album, Day & Age. Along with those they played “Move Away” and a cover song from The Animals, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”

Though I wouldn’t consider The Killers to be one of my favorite bands, their stage presence, their occasional fireworks (which definitely caught me off-guard) and their eclectic fans do make them a force to be reckoned with. Hearing single after single it was getting hard to believe they had anything else left. After a solid 20-minute break their encore featured two songs I’d never really heard much of, “Move Away” and “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine.” I’m sure that was a tribute to the diehards who stayed that long, which was pretty much still everyone. From the second I heard the opening riff all I could think was, “Oh yeah!” “When You Were Young” closed off a night I’m sure a lot of people will end up looking back to.

Photo Credit: Torey-Mundkowsky