Concert review: The Killers at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night

From the moment the roadies started setting up the stage, you could tell it was going to be an over-the-top concert.

Five palm trees? Check. One large urn loaded with fresh flowers? Check. A piano dotted with small square mirrors? Check. Oh, and let's not forget the neon trimmings, pyrotechnics, confetti and video screens.

The Killers brought plenty of Las Vegas flair to Merriweather Post Pavilion last night. They cranked through their high-energy, 80-minute show with business-like efficiency. The music was flashy and bombastic, and the set was filled with fist-pumping dance rock anthems.

Singer (and sometimes keyboardist) Brandon Flowers emerged sporting a black suit coat with feather epaulets. Thankfully, he discarded the thing after a couple songs and proceeded to stalk across the stage. ...

While guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer stayed put in their corners of the stage for most of the night, Flowers pranced around, waving his arms, hopping up on monitors and staring wistfully into the audience with an arm outstretched. Every once in a while, he'd hit a few keys on one of his synthesizers, or open a song with a few bars of piano. But it was clear he was there to sing -- not play.

For all his theatrics, Flowers didn't look all that comfortable on stage. But drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (how's that for a rock name?) worked it as much as any man who's stuck on a stool can work it.

The Killers tore into "Spaceman," a song from their latest album, "Day & Age," and followed it up with a fiery performance of their very first single, "Somebody Told Me." They started hard and only slowed the pace for "Smile Like You Mean It," which the band began as a surprisingly effective acoustic number and gradually turned electric.

Though the lyrics might sound good, it's often hard to pin down exactly what many of the Killers' songs are about. Take, for example, "All These Things That I've Done," in which Flowers sings, "I've got soul / but I'm not a soldier." Live, he had thousands of young fans chanting the line. What does it mean? Umm ... stop asking questions and just dance.

The four-piece closed out their show with "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine," and Flowers' opus, "When You Were Young." Flowers takes himself a little too seriously, but that's easily overlooked. What mattered was, the crowd wanted to be entertained, and The Killers delivered.

(Photos by Getty Images)

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