BRANDON FLOWERS FLAMINGO TOUR, THE WILTERN LOS ANGELES 11/10/10
Brandon Flowers took The Wiltern stage this past Wednesday night in support of his first solo album, Flamingo. And he didn’t disappoint. He never disappoints. I’m repeatedly amazed that a man so compact could house such a powerful voice. He’s like a travel-sized rock god, someone I just wanna put in my life carry-on and take with me everywhere.
And that smile. That smile could melt Antarctic glaciers in an instant. Even when he’s belting out his sometimes tortured lyrics, he has that smile on his lips, that sparkle in his step. He is genuinely having a great time, so thrilled to be up on that stage performing for his loyal following. His joy is infectious, and you just can’t help but smile right along with him.
Dressed in a sharp tweed vest and stone-washed jeans, Flowers was rugged yet polished. His commitment to style is part of his overall charming package. Not only does he put effort into wearing fantastic jackets and vests, he also pays attention to bringing a theme to his albums. His Flamingo album cover is of Flowers standing in a Vegas hotel room, surrounded with champagne curtains and an antique desk. He mirrors that look on stage by using similar curtains as his backdrop, as an antique dresser that looks as if it could have been taken from that very hotel room sits quietly on stage with him. He delivers a complete look, a feeling, a conceptual land of Flowers.
He performed new hits like Crossfire, Playing with Fire, Magdalena, an acoustic version of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts, and my favorite new Flowers song Only the Young. He also performed a spectacularly serene version of Losing Touch, which is off the latest Killers’ album Day and Age. He even sprinkled in a little eighties with a cover of the Kim Carnes hit Bette Davis Eyes.
But the journey back in time wouldn’t end there. He told the crowd that we were in for a special treat, and it would be a treat for him as well, because Andy Summers from The Police was coming out on stage to perform with him. Flowers, Summers, and the rest of the band knocked out the timeless Police hit Roxanne. It was nostalgia utopia.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Flowers share the stage with a legendary musician. Possibly one of the greatest concert experiences of my life was watching The Killers perform Pretty in Pink with Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs at The Hollywood Bowl in 2009. Being there for live performances of favorite songs from my childhood is like having my 14-year-old music obsessed teenage self holding the hand of my current music obsessed thirty-something self, as we both sway to the fusion of past and present. And you could tell just how excited Brandon was to perform with Butler back then and with Summers now. He couldn’t stand still or stop beaming. It’s that enthusiasm, that connection and deep appreciation for groundbreaking music, that makes Brandon Flowers a star. He embraces his roots and influences and performs sonic CPR on old classics, breathing fresh new life into the music of our youth.
He ended the show with an acoustic version of The Killers’ hit When You Were Young, exactly the same as he performed it on the Jimmy Kimmel stage a month ago, with only his guitarist and Flowers jamming out to the familiar hit, as the crowd cheered and sang along.
And so my unrequited, long distance, only in my mind love affair with Brandon Flowers continues. His music makes me feel like I’m floating along on an undiscovered galactic plane, suspended in a time that has not yet begun but will never end. His words inspire my own creativity, giving me the enthusiasm to make my own life richer and better and MATTER. He is my spiritual caffeine. Now excuse me while I plug in my headphones, watch footage from the concert, and float away.
The Killers performing Pretty in Pink with Richard Butler, Hollywood Bowl, 9/16/09: