On 1st November, Paul and I went to see the Killers live at LG Arena (the one at NEC). We were really lucky to even get tickets. The first night (31st October) sold out so they decided to do an extra night, and the email came through whilst we were in Corfu. In fact, I only knew they were touring at all because they were headlining at O2 and were mentioned in an email for that venue - they're playing there this weekend. It was only the fact that they were playing in London which prompted me to hunt for potential shows in Birmingham, and we booked it right there and then, skintness be damned.
Frankly? Best £50 I have ever spent.
The 2012 tour is mostly to promote the new album, Battle Born, which is so many shades of awesome I can't even begin to do it justice with mere words. FEELS, THERE ARE MANY. The album was released mid-September, and I'd pre-ordered on Amazon so it arrived brand shiny new on my doorstep about a day later. In the midst of new music insanity - new albums from Alanis AND P!nk within a month of each other, as well as belatedly buying the latest self-titled Evanescence album and the latest Noisettes album - I couldn't give Battle Born the attention it probably deserved, though I did manage to listen to it considerably more times than Paul before we saw the gig - he listened to it once through the night before. :P
Anyway, I was at work all day Thursday, which was probably a mistake. SO TIRED by the time I got home. On the train to NEC someone was playing Sawdust through their phone, then some other girls near us started playing Day and Age. It was pretty awesome, actually: a train full of Killers fans, the music playing and getting everyone in the mood. We did worry we might be the only grown-ups there, though, as everyone in our carriage seemed to be indiekids.
Thankfully, it transpired the indiekids were down in the moshpit, whereas the more sensible people in the seated areas were more our sort of age - including some with small children, which was quite a surprise. (Wow, though - if I'd been to a gig like that when I was that age, my entire outlook on music would have been totally different. One day they'll realise how lucky they were.)
The support act were Tegan & Sara, two sisters from Canada, who were really good. The PA system was a bit rubbish for them unfortunately, as it was set up for the Killers, but I suppose that shows how good they were if they shone through bad sound levels. We bought their CD afterwards, though some of the songs may well be from their back catalogue - will have to investigate.
As for the Killers? OMG SO AMAZING. They're the sort of band who really know how to perform live; Brandon Flowers works a crowd like a pro, and they have enough gig anthems to get the crowd going in between the newer, lesser-known stuff and the quieter/slower numbers. They did a lot from the new album - starting with Runaways, the first single - as well as some classics like Mr Brightside, Somebody Told Me, Spaceman, etc. Everyone remained seated for the first couple of songs but then they did something from the first album and everyone in the arena got to their feet. The old classics caused everyone to cheer and sing along.
The best moment BY FAR was the final song (pre-encore, anyway), which was All These Things That I've Done - and from what I can see of videos on YouTube from Wednesday night, our version was so much more awesome. Everyone was singing along, but just before the chorus kicked in, everything dropped out except for the bassist strumming away at the rhythm, then Brandon shushed everyone and patrolled the stage, jabbering on about complete nonsense and introducing the band members one by one - basically just putting off the inevitable for as long as possible. Paul had got his phone out to record it because he wanted to capture the entire audience chanting the chorus, so we do have this on video, all the way to the end of the song.
Anyway, after all this 15,000 people (approximately) started singing "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier" at the stage. So so amazing. Brandon basically let the audience carry the song for about a minute before joining in. At the end of the song there were fireworks and glitter. Best. Finale. Ever.
Other highlights were his one-verse acoustic rendition of Heart of a Girl (just him and a keyboard - it gave us a few moments to chill out), everyone joining in with Human, and the final song of the encore being When You Were Young, which is one of my absolute favourites ever since I saw SB connotations and couldn't unsee them. :D
On Wednesday night they did a completely different setlist apparently, opening with Bones (because it was Hallowe'en - all of the band were wearing skeleton ribcage t-shirts) and Brandon giving a little speech in the middle of The Way We Were (awesome, emotional rendition of that song, too - wish I could have gone on both nights!)
We finally got home around midnight, utterly exhausted.
The day after we were having our Hallowe'en party / bad movies night, whereupon we basically didn't stop all day - went into Bearwood for provisions, carved the pumpkin, tidied up, made pumpkin soup, etc., etc. We watched R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet, which was not as hilariously awful as we were expecting (if anything, intentionally tongue-in-cheek), followed by The Task, which was terrible. Paul somehow got ridiculously drunk, was annoying for ten minutes then took himself off to bed at around 11.30. Everyone else left just after 1.00, with just Lloyd and Ben stopping over.
Next morning I was up relatively early, having woken up with a headache. (In fact, the headache kicked in the night before after two bottles of cider: I never learn.) Paul got up shortly after me and made Ben some breakfast, then went back to bed again. Lloyd surfaced around midday and Ben gave him a lift home, then Paul got up again and I sent him out to the shop for some Migraleve because ibuprofen was doing nothing for the headache. The Migraleve knocked me out around 3.00pm for four hours, with the headache persisting basically all evening. Not the best day.
We were supposed to have been going to Dom and Lyn's joint birthday party (Andrea's nephew and mother), hence moving the party to the Friday in the first place, but I was too ill. Probably just as well, considering how busy we were, and how exhausted by Saturday.
Last week was just as insane, as before booking up for the Killers I'd already booked tickets for Evanescence with my mum on the 8th, for her birthday present. This time I was not stupid enough to spend the entire day at work, instead having a half-day and all of Friday off. Once I got home from work I copied three CD's for my mum, got changed, and David picked me up and dropped us both in town. We had dinner in O'Neill's - they do very nice steak, it transpires! - before heading off to NIA.
The two support acts this time were Lost Alone (who were okay) and The Used (who I'm sure are very good normally but they were awful live - the lead singer couldn't sing in tune). Evanescence themselves were awesome, though playing to a much smaller crowd than when I saw them back in 2003 at LG Arena. Oddly enough, they were a far more sedate affair than the Killers, with the seating areas remaining seated throughout!
Amy Lee is really excellent live. I took loads of photos (about 112, reduced to 97 non-blurred and then 45 posted to Facebook) because the stage and lights were gorgeous, and my mum took about 12 videos on her phone - mostly of the lower-key numbers that started with Amy playing the piano. :)
As with the Killers, most of the songs were from the new album, with a few classics thrown in. Going Under and Bring Me To Life were the biggest songs they did. Amy did two separate sets on the piano, alternating with full band songs in between, and after one of the piano sets she said, "Betcha didn't know I could do that, did you? Yeah, I made it look like that." ;) They ended on My Immortal, always a firm favourite.
Oh, and at the beginning she had her American pronunciation of Birmingham corrected by someone in the audience. :D
So, two very different gigs but both equally enjoyable. :) As much as I wish I'd taken the camera to the Killers, it would have been ultimately pointless because we were so far away. They were like tiny tiny ants and my zoom is not that good. :P (Next time, though. NEXT TIME.)
On Friday I went into Bearwood to get last-minute presents for Paul's mum (rather uninspired as I had to get them from Boots), as we were going over to hers that evening. Paul made me drag the box of fireworks out of the shed (fighting off two massive spiders in the process), only to find that the box was mouldy in one corner. Just as well because they were bloody heavy and I had enough to carry as it was. Unfortunately it started to rain just as I got on the 11, so we didn't end up setting off any fireworks, instead just sitting around and drinking. Still quite entertaining though. Noel was very impressed with our Nosferatu-themed pumpkin when I showed him the photo. :D
So, that's that. The Killers gig has basically made me go a bit crazy fangirl, repeatedly listening to Battle Born and appreciating it even more than before the concert. It's my favourite album by far - as addictive as Day and Age and Hot Fuss, but less hit and miss, with just as many potential classics. As a result, I want to get the album's logo - a lightning bolt - tattoed on my person. I already have plans for an ouroboros on my right inner forearm / wrist, and I want to get the lightning bolt underneath it. Paul has not helped by suggesting we should both get matching lightning bolts.
It would be much more than just a Killers reference, however: it would be a memory of the gig, a sneaky reference to Rocky Horror, and a symbol of my love of thunderstorms. The ouroboros is a symbol of rebirth; the lightning bolt is for battle born, the wording of which is taken from the Nevada state flag (I want to visit Las Vegas; in fact I want to honeymoon there). I love the sentiment of the two together, a brand to mark the turning point I seem to have reached in my life at the moment. Also, they're one of the only bands Paul and I both like (though we like different songs and different albums: in his head there is nothing to top Hot Fuss, in mine they just keep on getting better) and the first Proper Gig we've both been to, so it would be nice to commemorate that experience as well.
Not sure when I will get them done, but hopefully soon. I'm feeling the desire for new ink really badly right now: mostly to get the ideas in situ before they fizzle out on me, but also craving the pain/adrenaline to reaffirm my own aliveness.
In that vein: I totally need some Killers icons.
Next entry: fee earners waste our time with pointless tasks out of paranoia that could have been avoided in the first place by not being skinflints.
Over and out.