Like a mirage in the distance, four figures skulk onto the stage but anyone beyond the sound desk could barely hear a note. Due to a change in stage times unbeknown to most, the rush to the main stage was expected yet now appeared poorly advised. For those who had noticed The Killers own performance they easily warmed to their hosts when they triumphantly opened with 'Human'. Even if lead singer Brandon Flowers still had the air of someone ill at ease with this whole front man malarkey.
After being granted festival headline status, the band still cannot fathom how to compile a working setlist. The hits are all present and correct, as 'Somebody Told Me' reminded the crowd exactly why they fell in love with them in the first place. Even For Reasons Unknown proved popular with a slight lyrical change to “As easy as a beautiful Spanish girl’s hair falls across her shoulder”. The alteration should have been endearing yet no-one seemed to tell Flowers that he may well have been in Spain but the gesture fell flat on a largely British crowd.
Despite the charm offensive there was a notable respite from the crowd whenever a track from the band’s last two albums was played. Better known as ‘nipping off to the bar time’ but there were simply too many excuses for a single set. For the likes of 'This Is Your Life' and 'A Dustland Fairytale' the air of anticipation was gone, only inquisitive looks were exchanged as many tried to work out the song title. As for 'Losing Touch?' You better believe it as the only bodily crush to be seen was not in front of the stage, but in the drinks queue.
When the reserved hits were finally performed they were performed with an admirable exuberance including a frenetic rendition of 'Spaceman' which saw Flowers bounding between microphones and the onstage foliage. The vocal performance was certainly there and by this point his showmanship had become convincing. Whether or not it was convincing enough remained to be seen as the sound problems persisted. For such a high profile set, the continual let-ups in song choices proved damaging but the band themselves could hardly be blamed for the noise output. Just as at Glastonbury two years ago it appeared that the rear speakers were at fault, alas the band would barely have known.
Then there is 'Mr Brightside', dropped for maximum impact to add some gravitas to the final part of their set. A stirring performance of 'All These Things I’ve Done' had a similar effect; dragging out the breakdown as the band strolled offstage. For the encore it seemed that lessons had been learnt with an ecstatic rendition of 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' before 'When You Were Young' and a wall of pyrotechnics brought their set to a close. Sound problems and poor setlist choices yet The Killers should be glad they at least got to perform.