The Killers are starting to look a bit like Vegas 

It’s almost impossible not to see the stamp of Las Vegas all over the Killers.

The band’s onstage look has changed from the gleaming metallic costumes and sets used on tour for their 2004 debut album, "Hot Fuss," to something evoking a midway, complete with oversized light bulbs, circus flags and lead singer Brandon Flowers as a carnival barker with slicked back hair. The sound on their current album, "Sam’s Town," likewise, has also shifted from the jittery, uneasy disco of hits "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" to something more bombastic and keyboard-heavy.

What hasn’t changed, however, are the insistent pop hooks, showmanship and slick production values of the Killers’ live show. They may sing about "Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll," but the effect is pure Vegas. This was evident at Saturday’s sold-out show at the Bill Graham Civic Center Auditorium, from the powerful polished sound to the blasts of glittering confetti that punctuated the performance as regularly as the Killers’ hits.

There is nothing subtle about the Killers, and nothing improvisational, either. The band maintained an efficient, relentless pace from the opening drumbeat, with no extended jams and barely any pauses between songs. Flowers, an intense yet oddly stiff performer whose melodramatic voice easily filled the barn-like auditorium, spoke little during the set, aside from one yelp of "San Francisco!"

Live, the songs remained faithful to the recorded versions, with a stronger rock sound that added an anthemic edge to mid-tempo singles such as "Can You Read My Mind?" and "When You Were Young." During the slower numbers, Flowers emerged from behind his keyboard to jump on to a platform and pump his fist or brandish a microphone.

Although their Britpop influences, including Blur and Oasis, have been widely noted, the Killers owe their most obvious musical debt to ’80s synthesizer pop. They channeled a darker side of the ’80s in an encore version of Joy Division’s "Shadowplay."

With characteristic confidence, the Killers burned through their biggest hits rapidly, saving only "All These Things That I’ve Done" from "Hot Fuss" for their show-stopping finale. The audience sang along enthusiastically, as they had all night, to the song’s cathartic chorus of "I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier." But not even that moment was allowed to build or linger long before the band hit its final drumbeat and quickly left the stage, pausing only to toss drumsticks into the crowd. Time for the carnival to pack up and leave town.

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Sara Gaiser

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