On Tuesday, I greeted my new students by leading them through a variety of activities all around the school building. Then, if that was not enough, I drove 45 minutes to pick my niece before driving another hour to Milwaukee to see the Killers perform along with the Violent Femmes. Then, I had to drive over an hour to get home before getting about two hours of sleep to actually teach the new students the next day. To say that I’m tired now would be an understatement. The first week of school is always rough. I’m out of practice as I forgot how much I’m on my feet and how much I have to talk in class. And I definitely added to my exhaustion by going to this show. That said, I don’t regret it.
I have to admit that it was a hoot to go to the show with my niece. Before this, there is little opportunity to go to show with her (or her sister). She grew up in a completely different region of the country. So I felt like I could not let this opportunity pass me by despite the crappy timing. When I asked my niece if she wanted to join me, she enthusiastically answered with a yes. I knew that she was a fan of the Killers even if her fan status might not be as serious as my fan status with them. As for the Violent Femmes, I doubt she had any clue about them. No matter. She is someone (unlike her aunt) who goes in with a positive attitude and works hard to always enjoy herself. The show just confirmed this as she sang, danced and clapped throughout both bands. It was fun to see as she reminded me just to let go and take in each and every moment. My favorite moment with her was at the very end, when both bands played a song that represented Milwaukee. What did they choose? You might imagine…Needless to say, my niece did not have a clue what the song was!
The show was great! I had seen both bands before but this was a brand new venue that holds 17,000 seats. Needless to say, I was thrilled that we could get actual seats as I might have died in general admission. Violent Femmes impressed my niece to no end. I think she appreciated the variety of what they played. They performed many/most of their classics but also busted out a polka and a bluegrass song. She laughed a lot as she texted the rest of the family to declare that they were “awesome”!
The Killers, as always, put on a tremendous show. That said, I could not help but to compare the show and my experiences to what I’m more used to–Duran shows. I noticed I was doing this right away, from the very first song. They started with a bang by playing Mr. Brightside. I found this fascinating. Some might argue that this is their biggest, most well-known hit. If that is so, is that a good strategy? I started to think about Duran’s opening song. I have seen a few different ones. Typically, it is a track on the latest album like Paper Gods or Before the Rain. I have seen them play a hit to start the show like Wild Boys. But I don’t think I would say Wild Boys is their biggest hit. After thinking about this, I paid attention to the rest of the set list, which actually turned out to be pretty routine from there.
Then, there were a few really explicit moments during the show that screamed Duran to me as they, too, used confetti and asked the crowd to use their cell phone lights as you can see in this video:
Now, I suspect that there are lots of bands/artists who use these concert extras. Nonetheless, when they were used, I immediately thought of Duran and all of my various concert memories flooded my mind. That said, on one hand, I welcomed this show in its ease. It didn’t take long to plan and didn’t need a lot of special travel arrangements. There was no drama at all (other than the one scary moment on the way home in which we were passed on the road by a high speed chase). I didn’t ponder what I was going to wear much and didn’t plan on partying hard. That said, there was a part of me that found myself almost aching with missing Duran and everything that goes along with a Duran show.
As I continued to ponder that emotion for the rest of the week, I think about the song, Run for Cover, from the most recent Killers’ album. The concept of running for cover, or hiding from something, for whatever reason feels fitting. Attending this show felt a little bit like running away from the reality that summer was ending and more. Unfortunately, as memories of other concerts washed over me at the show and as sleep deprivation became real, I acknowledge the fact that I cannot really run or seek out cover. Reality is reality.