We’ve been spoiled — spoiled with rock ’n’ roll, songs about jealous ex-lovers, and illuminated keyboard stands.
Seriously, when was the last time The Killers played five shows in their hometown in the span of just eight months?
You have to go back to 2004 — at least — the year the band’s smash debut, “Hot Fuss,” hit shelves en route to worldwide sales now approaching 10 million copies.
But in 2022 The Killers made up for lost touring time due to the pandemic with a three-show stand at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in April and a sold-out concert at T-Mobile Arena in August, which bookended some massive Latin America and Europe dates that saw them play to 65,000 fans in Mexico City and draw over 110,000 concertgoers for a pair of stadium gigs in London.
Now The Killers are returning to The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan for a New Year’s Eve gig that marks one of their busiest Vegas show schedules in nearly two decades.
(They also played a private gig at Caesars last month as part of the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix launch party.)
The Killers have been touring in support of their two most recent records, 2020’s kaleidoscopic “Imploding the Mirage” and 2021’s more stark, stripped-down “Pressure Machine,” as the band has been introducing a number of fresh tunes to the set list.
“It’s scary for us sometimes to sort of unleash a new song to an audience. You never know how it’s going to go,” Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. told the RJ in an interview before the band’s T-Mobile show. “It’s very sobering sometimes. You’re like, ‘Ah s—, I knew this should have been faster.’ Usually, it has a lot to do with tempo. I think we’re also at that point where we have recognized a need for a certain emotional arc within a set list — and even within songs themselves — so we’ll do different live versions of songs.”
So, even if you’ve heard the band play a given tune several times, you still might hear it a bit differently next time around.
“We’ll put them together with another older song sometimes, and we’ll put breaks in there. We’ll sort of augment them and trim and curate them to fit a live scenario,” Vannucci explains. “It’s also fun for us to mess with the songs a little bit, to not play them verbatim, the record/album version. It also helps us get by with playing a song for the 7,000th time.”
Well, according to online concert archive site Setlistfm.com, the band has played signature hit “Mr. Brightside” a mere 950 times (the site doesn’t have the set list for every single Killers gig, though, so it’s likely a good deal more than that).
Expect The Killers to add to that tally Saturday.
Here are nine other Vegas concerts going down this New Year’s Eve weekend:
Tenacious D, 9 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday, The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
This is not the greatest New Year’s Eve concert ever; this is just a tribute — to borrow a line from Tenacious D, the world’s finest acoustic metal comedy duo featuring the star of “Nacho Libre.” Yes, Jack Black and Kyle Gass are back to “Rock Your Socks” into piles of useless thread while simultaneously making you head-bang and do spit takes of your Bud Light.
Tickets start at $49; axs.com.
Gwen Stefani, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Venetian Theatre
She ain’t no hollaback girl — but she is back, at least. Gwen Stefani is a familiar face in these parts — or any place with MTV in the ’90s and early aughts — thanks to her former residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort. She returns this weekend for a two-night engagement in the more intimate Venetian Theatre. Maybe her husband, Blake Shelton, will also show up? We know where her ex-hubby will be …
Tickets start at $139.95; venetianlasvegas.com.
Time of Your Life Festival, 6 p.m. Saturday, Fremont Street Experience
Party like it’s 1999 once again when Gavin Rossdale-fronted grunge-era radio staples Bush headline the Time of Your Life festival, also featuring fellow ’90s breakouts Sugar Ray in addition to rockers The Struts, hip-hop pioneers the Sugar Hill Gang, reggae greats The Wailers featuring Julian Marley, R&B troupe All for One, turntablist extraordinaire DJ Skribble and rap duo Tag Team. Whoop, there it is, chief.
Tickets are $50; vegasexperience.com.
Bruno Mars, 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dolby Live at Park MGM
On the subject of throwbacks, Bruno Mars may have soared to fame in the past decade, but his sound and showmanship — the synchronized dance moves with his backing band, those funkified liquid grooves abetted by straight-from-the-’80s keys and buttery harmonies — are indebted to precursors like the Jackson Five, Morris Day & the Time and Prince. It’s proof that the good old days don’t have to get old, necessarily.
Tickets start at $395; ticketmaster.com.
Adele, 8 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday, Colosseum at Caesars Palace
Technically, you only need a single kidney. So, clearly now’s the time to hawk that useless, loitering other one black market-style and maybe, just maybe you’ll come up with enough scratch to be able to afford a resale ticket to Adele’s Vegas residency, which returns this weekend for more sold-out shows. Need to borrow a scalpel?
Resale tickets are available at axs.com.
Jackpot NYE, 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Downtown Las Vegas
In the past decade, Las Vegas-based electronic dance music event company RVLTN has gradually built itself into a major player in the local EDM ranks, which is no small feat considering that this is a destination market for said music. Now it’s hosting its biggest event ever and first NYE production with the two-night Jackpot NYE, headlined by superstars Deadmau5, Porter Robinson, Rezz and RL Grime along with Ghostrydr (Ghastly b2b Joyryde), Marauda, Versa, Kill the Noise and Black Tiger Sex Machine, among others. Speaking of the latter …
Single-day tickets are $99.99; two-day passes are $149.99; jackpotnye.frontgatetickets.com.
NYE after-party, 12:30 a.m., A-Lot at Area15
When the party’s over … the party doesn’t have to be over. This is, after all, Las Vegas, not Cleveland, where they have things that we have no use for, like last call and snow. Hence, masked, metal-lovin’ Canadian EDM trio Black Tiger Sex Machine will follow its appearance at Jackpot NYE with a late-night/early morning set at Area15. Hey, that hangover can’t start if the revelry doesn’t stop, right?
Tickets start at $29.95; area15.com.
Kevin Hart, 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Resorts World Theatre
He was the first comedian to sell out a football stadium and once moved a million concert tickets in six months, also a record. Yet Kevin Hart’s appeal remains rooted in everyman concerns despite his celebrity, from the pratfalls of raising kids to getting in fights in the Best Buy parking lot. Happens to us all, you know?
Tickets start at $89; axs.com.
Durand Jones & The Indications, 8 p.m. Saturday, Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq
These soul revivalists sold out their Brooklyn Bowl debut back in May. They return for an encore this weekend. What to expect? Come-hither falsetto vocals, assertive bass lines, wah-wah guitar (naturally) and tunes with eyes on both the dance floor and the bedroom.
Tickets start at $45; brooklynbowl.com/las-vegas.
Contact Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @jbracelin76 on Instagram.