Now The Killers know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. On July 5-6th, during their 8-country European festival tour, the multi-platinum VMA Award-winning, Grammy-nominated band performed two historic nights at the legendary Kensington venue. LIVE FROM THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, The Killers' first official DVD release, is a spectacular 22-song live concert experience - filmed in HD (with `Fan's Eye View' alternative camera angle) and full 5.1 sound. The package, with live performances on the DVD plus a 17-song live CD from the shows (unavailable elsewhere), will be released November 10th in regular and Blu-Ray editions on Island Records. Killers fans will appreciate how faithful LIVE FROM THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL is to the band's sight and sound onstage. Moreover, the songs cut across all four of the Killers' album releases, from their debut Hot Fuss ("Somebody Told Me," "Smile Like You Mean It," "Mr. Brightside," "All These Things That I've Done," "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine"); to Sam's Town ("For Reasons Unknown," "Bling (Confessions Of A King)," "Sam's Town (acoustic)," "Read My Mind," "The River Is Wild," "Bones," "When You Were Young"); to Sawdust ("Shadowplay," "Sweet Talk"); and Day & Age ("Human," "This Is Your Life," "The World We Live In," "Joy Ride," "I Can't Stay," "Losing Touch," "Spaceman," "A Dustland Fairytale"). The DVD, who's running time is over 2 hours, is packed with bonus extras - starting with an additional five songs from the festival tour: "Tranquilize" (live at the Oxegen Festival in Ireland, July 12th); "Human" and "Mr. Brightside" (from Hyde Park in London on June 26th); and "Smile Like You Mean It" and "When We Were Young" (from the V Festival in August). A behind-the-scenes documentary, including interviews with crew and fans, rounds out the bonus content on the DVD.
LIVE FROM THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL was produced by Jim Parsons and directed by Dick Carruthers, whose credits include The Who Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2000), and long-form live performance DVDs with Oasis, Noel Gallagher, Keane, Van Morrison, Kaiser Chiefs, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, White Stripes, and many others. SET LIST 1. Human 2. This Is Your Life 3. Somebody Told Me 4. For Reasons Unknown 5. The World We Live In 6. Joy Ride 7. I Can't Stay 8. Bling (Confession Of A King) 9. Shadowplay 10. Smile Like You Mean It 11. Losing Touch 12. Spaceman 13. A Dustland Fairytale 14. Sam's Town (Acoustic) 15. Read My Mind 16. Mr. Brightside 17. All These Things That I've Done 18. Sweet Talk 19. This River Is Wild 20. Bones 21. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine 22. When You Were Young.
Being a die-hard Killers fan, 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' is a completely satisfying concert Blu-ray. It's the type of concert video that will make even Killers naysayers appreciate them - not only for their musical talent, but for their showmanship as well. After seeing and hearing what they are capable of accomplishing live, there's no arguing that they're worthy of having their album covers shown during the credits of 'Pirate Radio' (or 'The Boat That Rocked' if you live outside the U.S.). They're a classic American rock band and should be recognized as such.
I've seen The Killers live several times and can vouch that 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' captures the same mood, excitement and energy that exists in their everyday shows. Using the simple stage effects, The Killers are able to put on a wildly entertaining show. Frontman Brandon Flowers is full of contagious energy, popping around the stage, pantomiming his lyrics and energizing the band and audience. With his unkempt and bushy long hair, guitarist Dave Keuning acts and looks like a hair band thrasher. As he plays fun riffs and memorable solos, his face carries a look of excitement, as if this was his first time playing in front of an audience so large. Bassist Mark Stoermer carries the same spirit, only with the look of a quiet laid-back '90s grunge artist. And drummer Ronnie Vannucci gives everything he's got into his full-body drumming. How a drummer keeps up such energy for an entire concert is unknown. (The only thing that Vannucci could have done better is keep the 'My Name is Earl' mustache and look going from the band's previous 'Sam's Town' tour.)
With a perfect setlist, 'Live at Royal Albert' is a worthy double dip selection for fans who own the audio disc - especially considering that the Blu-ray contains several tracks not included on the CD. The setlist goes as follows: "Enterlude," "Human," "This is Your Life," "Somebody Told Me," "For Reasons Unknown," "The World We Live In," "Joy Ride," "I Can't Stay," "Bling (Confessions of a King)," "Shadowplay," "Smile Like You Mean It," "Losing Touch," "Spaceman," "A Dustland Fairytale," "Sam's Town (Acoustic)," "Read My Mind," "Mr. Brightside," "All These Things that I Have Done," "Sweet Talk," "This River is Wild," "Bones," "Jenny was a Friend of Mine," "When You Were Young" and "Exitlude."
Royal Albert Hall is one of London's most famous concert-going locations. Its beautiful exterior is only trumped by its magnificent interior. It's the ideal location for shooting a concert Blu-ray. If I ever visit London again, the Royal Albert Hall is one location I'll be sure to tour. The way that the venue is shown in 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' truly shows it off.
For Killers fans, 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' is an absolute must-own. Anyone unfamiliar with The Killers looking for a little musical education should definitely consider checking out the Blu-ray. Like I said before, 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' is a well-made concert Blu-ray that conveys how great a band The Killers are - whether you're a fan or not.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Killers: Live at Royal Albert Hall' arrives on a BD-50 in a standard blue keepcase that also contains a four-page booklet with special feature info and still photos of the concert and backstage. Upon inserting the disc into a Blu-ray player, the 119-minute concert immediately begins playing without any vanity reels or menus.
Due to being a live concert, 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' features an impressive 1080i/AVC MPEG-4 transfer with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It's not without its minor flaws, but it never lacks in sharpness and detail.
From the very first shot of the concert, you'll notice the remarkably high detail. You can almost see the exact moment that sweat begins beading up on Flowers' face. You'll see each individual scratch on the pick-guard of Keuning's guitars, the specks of sweat that fly off Vannucci's speedy drumsticks, the wild hairs on Keuning's head, the individual fluffy feathers of Flower's shoulder pads and the texture of Flower's sweat-soaked shirt. As the camera is turned on the crowd, the sweltering sea of faces almost has a 3D look to it. At times, the camera spins over the audience and creates an instantly dizzying effect. The picture never feels flat, but deep and layered.
The stage lighting constantly shows off vibrant and vivid colors. Blacks are deep and rich, but sometimes carry a light amount of noise. As a creative decision, the footage at times switches to black & white. The contrast and grain in those scenes are so perfect that one could assume it was actually filmed in black & white and not converted. Somewhat like the creative use of black & white in 'Sin City,' some objects still carry their color amidst a mostly black & white screen. Seeing the two schemes in the same frame really shows off the vibrancy of the color and the richness of the blacks.
Artifacting and edge enhancement are absent. The only real flaw to be found in the picture quality aside from the previously mentioned mildly noisy shots is a small amount of aliasing that can been seen in the patterns of tightly woven clothes, in the occasional mesh amplifier cover, lighting fixture, guitar strap and distant shot of a guitar's strings.
Three different audio formats are presented for your listening pleasure: LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. I recommend the latter of the three.
The audio mixing is near perfect. The concert experience is well-translated into the home theater stereo system. The buzzing bassline flows smoothly through the band's first single "Somebody Told Me." Through rear and surround speakers, you'll occasionally hear the faint "woo" from a loud fan. The only audio problem that arises stems from a slight error within that mixing. During one track, the sweltering keyboards drown out the guitar parts. What should be strong guitar leads are underwhelming and lost beneath the space-filling synthesizer.
Aside from that one picky flaw during a single track, the rest of the concert is perfect. I listened to the audio CD from this concert for a few months before I was gifted the Blu-ray. I'd studied that album dozens of times before seeing and hearing the Blu-ray, and even then I was shocked by the audio quality here. The lossless audio track allows you to hear instruments that you probably didn't even know were played during certain tracks - and it makes them sound better than ever. I never appreciated the saxophone on "Joyride" until now. I had no clue that an acoustic guitar was played during "I Can't Stay." There's almost at least one thing within each track that I'd never noticed until experiencing the Blu-ray.
Fan of the band or not, after experiencing a live Killers concert everyone walks away surprised by the amount of talent they collectively possess. Even if you don't like their music, you'll see them in a new, positive light afterward. 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' captures the exact same vibe and energy that you would experience at one of their shows via a strong recording and great audio and video quality. It's a no-brainer that this Blu-ray is a must-own for the fans, but it's also worthy of recommending to anyone looking for a fantastic concert Blu-ray filled with great music and lots of life.