Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Killers at T in the Park 2013

T in the Park spanned three days, and The Killers were the final act on the last night. I'm doing things backwards again, so here are my thoughts on The Killers' show, stay tuned for the first two days, plus the rest of day 3... coming when I have the energy. 

I'm sure I'm good at a lot of things in life, but going to festivals is just not one of them. I braved camping at Reading last year (it's an experience everyone should have at least one - if nothing else, it makes you appreciate how soft and warm beds are...), but I was certainly not doing the same for this year's T. Luckily accommodation in Edinburgh was easy enough to find, and I'd take a 40 minute bus ride over a tent any day.

So day 3 arrived, and unlike the campers, I was still clean (imagine being able to leave the mud behind each night and have a shower, plus 7 hours sleep in a real bed - heaven!), well-rested, and in good spirits.

Day 3 was by far the busiest day: running from Earth, Wind and Fire (mom's choice) to the beginning of Bastille's set, then leaving halfway to get a barrier spot for Hurts, mad dash back to Two Door Cinema Club, quick break before Johnny Marr, and one Foals song before trying to sneak into the Stereophonics crowd for a good spot for TK, I really had my work cut out for me!

So it's mid-afternoon, and I find myself in King Tut's tent watching 1/4 of The Smiths, and thereby increasing my coolness factor to over 100, when I spot a familiar face: it's none other than Ted Sablay: touring guitarist/back-up vocalist/all-rounder with The Killers. Now before you tell me how cool that is, picture me wearing the following: my Victims t-shirt, lightning bolt necklace and earrings, a K and lightning bolt on each cheek in pink eyeliner, and a scarf (draped like a cape) bearing the same pattern as Brandon's starry shirt. Oh, and a feathered crown. I attempt to make myself look slightly more normal, which translates into whipping my 'cape' off and turning it into a belt instead. Hey, it's something. Anyway, after the set I went over to say hi to Ted and get a photo, and ended up walking with him for a few minutes - I told him how I'd come over from SA, and we chatted about Johnny Marr, Bernard Sumner, and the rest of the tour. What a cool guy!

The Stereophonics crowd was packed tightly at the front, but contained some huge gaps, and many people simply milling around. For the sake of tradition, I was headed for Mark's side, because that's just where I go at Killers shows. We managed to get right up to the front ... behind the metal fence on the side, where we couldn't even see the screens, let alone the stage. Luckily a lot of people cleared out after the Stereophonics' set, and we managed third row, just to the right of Mark, with a perfect view.

The show started late, and I began to panic that the set would have to be cut short, but the rest of the crowd was unconcerned. Now, maybe it was just the people around me, and not the crowd in general, but unfortunately it was one of the worst crowds I have ever been in. For example: girl at barrier sits down to pee on the spot; her friend slips in it and both fall over laughing; said friend of pee-ing girl offers drugs to girl to my right "it's not really drugs, you just put it on the inside of your lips..."; pee-ing girl asks me to move to let her friend get to barrier - I am left balancing on one foot because I have no space left; young girl to my left nearly bursts into tears when man next to her vomits on her and her friend; girl behind me is being held upright by her boyfriend, as she is literally unconscious from alcohol consumption. As I'm shoved from behind into the poor young boy in front of me, I growl "The Killers only have one song. It's called Mr Brightside. It's not that good. Please go see David Guetta [on the other stage] instead." This gets an uproarious laugh from the few people around me who are still possessed of sobriety.

Moving along...

Our flawless band bursts onto stage with Somebody Told Me (cue massive crowd reaction), Brandon decked out in his starry shirt, and all grinning from ear to ear. Looks like they LOVE Scotland. Next up is Spaceman, one of my favourites, but the number of people jumping is sadly low. Smile Like You Mean It excites the crowd again, and they break into a chant of what is apparently 'Whomp, there it Is', but from where I am, it sounds a lot like 'The Killers, The Killers, The mother****ing Killers!' Brandon's confused, but giggles his way through an Ole-ole-ole-ole chant, and a slow piano intro to Human (to a mass singalong), before exploding again with Bling. When Human does come along a few songs later, the crowd goes wild again: although most people don't know the words to any of the lesser known songs, they sure make up for it when the big hits come along. And boy, is Human a big hit!

At the first intro beats to 'From Here On Out', I immediately recognise it from Wembley, and shout out 'Mark, have you got your dancin' shoes on?' I then watch the woman to my left inch slowly away from me when Brandon says the same thing 10 seconds later. She thinks I'm possessed. Dustland, my very favourite song in the world, is up next, and I can't even sing along, because at that moment it hits me that I've flown across the world to see this wonderful band, and this is the song that made me love them. I'm completely overwhelmed.

The Travis cover, Side, goes down a storm too, as does All These Things. Again, people start leaving before the encore, so by now I'm second row. If we needed more proof that this band is the best live act in the world, the last two songs do it. When You Were Young and straight into the ridiculously epic Mr Brightside: I brace myself against the surge of the crowd and then allow myself to become absorbed into it. There is no dignity anymore: no trying to look presentable, no attempting to stand still to take a good photo, no hoping to not have your feet stamped on, and no death stares when you're hit on the head by yet another cup of what you hope is beer: there is nothing in this moment other than the band in front of you. All-consuming, all absorbing. Perfect.

And then they're gone, I'm asking the nice security guard to pick up a handful of fresh confetti for me, I'm shouting to Rob (who can't hear me) on the stage, and taking one last picture of the bolt. Then it's back on the bus to sleep until my plane leaves... another bus to the airport, attempting to revive myself at the airport but feeling like I've been hit by a bus... and then we glance out the window of the Edinburgh airport, and what do we see? The Killers' jet taking off, on their way to Italy to amaze yet more fans. There are no words.

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