Musical Smackdown Redux: Killers II v. Pumpkins

The Killers returned to Red Rocks September 4th to “make it up to us tenfold,” just as they promised after lead singer Brandon Flowers broke his vocal cord after 2 songs when he tried to entertain us back in May. The boys from Vegas delivered on their promise, singing every song from their two albums (all while wearing sequins).

3 weeks later, we ventured again to Red Rocks for the Smashing Pumpkins, which until the concert held creepy associations of “that loud music my college roommate used to blast from her room in a failed attempt to cover up the other sounds coming from her room.”

So how did Billy and his freaky pals stand up to Brandon’s sequined harem?

The Smashing Pumpkins v. The Killers II

  1. Billy: Bald as a hairless cat and just as intense. I’m not even sure if he had eyebrows or just shiny protrusions wear the brows ought to be. Brandon: Cute with a little boy mustache to match. Winner: Smashing Pumpkins.
  2. Pumpkins: Ginger, a chick bass player who’s so hot, why, if I wasn’t married, and I liked chicks, and I had a lot of money, well… Killers: Brandon is kind of cute, too. Winner: Smashing Pumpkins. Hot!
  3. Smashing Pumpkins: dressed in all white. Billy completed his short-pants ensemble with blue striped man-tights, white high-tops and a striped Dr. Suess scarf. Killers: Sequins! Sequin jacket, sequin cummerbund, sequin socks, oh now that’s fresh! Winner: Killers.
  4. Pumpkins: What a rowdy crowd! Our neighbor guy shared his pretzels with us and his girlfriend grabbed Alex’s butt midway through the show! He didn’t even have to pay extra for that! Killers: Mr. Seven Foot Tall Frat Boy bobbin’ and weavin’ his way through the “I love you, man” stage. Winner: Smashing Pumpkins.
  5. Killers: To show the love, members of the audience threw down the usual concert gang signs: a) pumping fist; b) pumping sign language for I love you; c) pumping “you da man” pointer finger; d) double-fist pumping; e) lighters for slow songs. Pumpkins lovefest included all aforementioned concert gang throw-downs PLUS one extremely loyal fan who (wait, you have to be ready for this one. Are you ready? Okay…) removed his prosthetic leg with the sock and sneaker and everything and pumped it up and down for an entire song. Winner: Are you serious? Who do you think? He took off his leg, people!

Okay enough, let me just stop right here. I can’t go on. As much as I love the Killers, Smashing Pumpkins tore it up, hands down. The show was so intense that even I was dancing. You longtime readers know that I only dance in my car, so you can imagine how inspired I must have been to perform my little jig in public on the side of a bench surrounded by a bunch of drunk and aging stoners. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying! Every time I thought they were winding down for the big kiss-off, they’d play another whole set. They rocked on for over two and a half hours. Amazing.

The sad part, but also really cool part, is that as the show began, Alex and I realized that the Smashing Pumpkins would likely be our last concert at Red Rocks. The season ends later this month, and we’ll be off on our next adventure before the opening season next spring. Thanks for the memories, Billy (but dude, seriously, what’s with the tights?)!

Police v. Killers: Musical Smackdown

You’ve all read about our tragic experience at the Killers show at Red Rocks last month. I swear, Alex still wakes up in a cold sweat just thinking about it. So when we piled in to the Pepsi Center Sunday night for the Police concert, and they were piping in Killers music, we got a bit concerned – you know, foreshadowing and all. Alex started shaking, but I got him some popcorn and iced tea and promised everything would be all right.

And it was. Unlike the Killers. Which we’ve already covered ad nauseam, but still.

So, Brandon Flowers, while you’re home icing your delicate vocal chords, take a look at this!

The Police v. The Killers

  1. Killers did 3 songs. Police did 3 encores. Winner: Police
  2. Killers dressed in hip skinny jeans and looked the part. Sting dressed in hip skinny jeans with sparkles, a tight wife-beater, and looked like he was trying too hard to look the part he used to look twenty years ago. Winner: Killers
  3. Killers: hit all the high notes on the not-quite-three songs they sang. Sting: sang in alternate keys to avoid the high notes. Winner: Killers
  4. Killers drummer: came on stage to break the news that lead singer Brandon Flowers just couldn’t go on, then ignored the audience’s pleas to sing in Brandon’s place. Police drummer: Stewart Copeland. ‘Nuff said. Winner: Police
  5. Killers venue: amazing outdoor amphitheatre surrounded by towering red boulders once roamed by dinosaurs. Police venue: Pepsi Center, corporate home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Mammoth. Winner: Killers
  6. Killers opener Hot Hot Heat performed uptempo alternative with a cool techno bend, perfect for revving up the crowd. Police opener Fictionplane sang a song for his ex called – well, let’s just say it was angsty. And the lead singer is Sting’s son. Winner: Police
  7. Killers crowd: Mickey-Hughey-Cameron and Sugar Lips the cosmetically-enhanced cat. Police crowd: Mr. Too-Much-Cologne Man and his 2 children who were probably embarrassed that old Dad lost his sense of smell. Now I will forever associate that awful chemical smell with Fictionplane songs (by the time the Police came on, I was used to the cologne and could no longer detect it). Winner: Killers
  8. Police lead guitarist Andy Summers’ age: 65. Killers band members ages, combined: 65. Yet who sallied out and left their fans hanging? Hmmm. Winner: Police
  9. Killers: Sam’s Town. Police: Roxanne. Winner: Police

Looks like this one goes to the good guys, 5 to 4. We’ll see what happens in September, Brandon. But sometimes you just can’t beat a classic, even if they are gettin’ on in years. Thanks, Alex, for re-introducing me to The Police, a.k.a. the Po Po, which I dissed long ago when I couldn’t have the same musical taste as Dad on principle alone. And thanks, Sting, with yo’ bad ass sparkly skinny jeans!

The Buzzkillers

We hope you enjoy your stay
It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day
We hope you enjoy your stay
Outside the sun is shining, it seems like heaven ain’t far away
It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day…

Mr. Bims and I were so psyched (do people still say “psyched”?) to see The Killers last week. My little brother introduced us to their music a few months ago, and Mr. Bims loved them so much that he immediately downloaded all of their songs from iTunes and made CDs for the house and both cars, just in case. No, seriously.

So imagine our delight when we heard they were coming to Red Rocks, the absolute best outdoor concert venue in the nation. It’s so cool to see shows there, right under the stars, surrounded by – well, big red rocks. Mr. Bims got tickets right away.

The concert day arrived, and Mr. Bims implored me to leave work early so we could get good seats (general admission – nothing was assigned). He really had to twist my arm, but I agreed, arriving home before 4.

And it only went downhill from there…

4:00 PM

Mr. Bims: “Bims, we have to leave now so we get good seats. By the way, you have to drive. I’m drunk! *Hiccup*!
Me: *Throws minor PMS-induced tantrum, then recovers, agreeing to drive.*

4:45 PM

Mr. Bims: “I wish we brought a cooler. We don’t know how to do concerts anymore.”
Me: …
Mr. Bims: “I’m such a fucking doof.”
Me: …

4:46 PM

Mr. Bims: “I want a beer.”
Me: “Slow down, tiger. Why don’t we get in line first?”

4:49 PM

Mr. Bims: “Look! They’re selling beer!”
Beer Guy: “That’ll be 2 for 5.”
Mr. Bims: “Should I get 2?”
Beer Guy: “It’s a long walk to the stage.”

5:05 PM

Mr. Bims: “Maybe I should get another beer. *Hiccup*”
Me: …
Mr. Bims: “Oh no. I have to pee.”

6:10 PM

Ok, you get the point. So they let us in after six. Mr. Bims practically mows down a family of five just to get to the bathroom, and I charge ahead to get the good seats. Which, I get.

5th fucking row. We could practically taste their breath. If we wanted to. Which we didn’t, but still.

And I made some new friends when the people next to me couldn’t get cell service to reach their other friend and borrowed my phone to reach him. “Him” turned out to be a 6-foot skinny ass blond guy who looked like Cameron Diaz, talked like Mickey Mouse, and laughed like Baby Hughey. It was the strangest composition of sounds ever. If you don’t believe me, call him. I still have his number on my cell from when they called him. Later he showed me pictures of his cat, Sugar Lips, dressed up in a wig and lipstick. But, I didn’t get invited to the showing of his penis pics during intermission between the opening acts. Those were just for his friends. Who slapped him and told him never to show those again.

Are you with me so far? 5th row seats. Gorgeous Colorado night with nary a cloud. A blanket of stars overhead. A great crowd. And guys that walk around with margarita tanks strapped to their backs and coolers of beer strapped to their fronts. Which was a sign from the universe that I needed to catch up with Mr. Bims, who was suddenly humming to himself and rocking back and forth on the seat. He tried to get up to make his way to the bathroom, and that’s when the real entertainment started. All six foot two of him stumbled down a few steps, almost headfirst into the security guy gaurding the VIP section. The rope kind of caught him and pushed him backwards so he could fall onto my lap and crush half my margarita. Then Mickey-Hughey kind of guided him along. Fortunately he made it back in one piece.

How you doin’ there, guy?

I got him situated back in his seat, got another drink, and kicked back for the openers – Hot Hot Heat.

They rocked. They were this cool kind of alternative kind of Radiohead-ish (Radiohead techno that is) punky group and they really got the crowd going. Just in time for…

The Killers! Raaahhhhhh!

They paraded onto the stage and got to work, me and Mr. Bims and like ten thousand other people singing along and swaying with our drinks like we were in a tiny Irish pub rather than a big open concert arena.

We hope you enjoy your stay
It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day
We hope you enjoy your stay
Outside the sun is shining, it seems like heaven ain’t far away
It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day…

Only… it wasn’t. For the day, I mean. It was more like for seven and a half minutes. Two songs. That’s how long it took lead singer Brandon Flowers to hurt his vocal cords. They sent the doctor out on stage to tell us about it and everything. They probably assumed us Coloradans were just a bunch of granola eatin’, tree-huggin’, peace-lovin’ hippies who would wish him well and be on our little way. But when the drummer came out to apologize and tell us that the show just couldn’t go on, someone in the crowd said, “I guess you better rock the mic, then.”

Yeah, okay. Anyway, they apologized and promised to make it up to us “tenfold” in September. According to my wicked math skills, that means they might sing like ten whole songs next time. Wow wow wee wah.

Poor Mr. Bims. Drunk. Devastated. Duped. Depressed. And drunk, if I didn’t already say it. He was so crushed. There was nothing I could say to comfort him. I got him home, trying to get him to look at that night as a sneak preview to what awaits us in September (I’m just glad they didn’t say July, because my FSIL is getting married in July in NYC, and we’d have to miss it. The wedding, I mean. 🙂 KIDDING, KEETS!!!).

We woke up the next morning with that annoying emotional hangover you get in college when you simultaneously drank too much the night before and did something really stupid and now you can’t find your bra but whose underwear are these?? Wait, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, The Killers. So they’ll be back on September 4th. Yeah! We forgive you, Brandon!

I got this sentimental heart that beats but I don’t really mind that it’s starting to get to me…