The Killers on playing China: 'It made us realise how much we take for granted in the US'

"This is us laying groundwork again", says frontman Brandon Flowers

Photo: Andy Willsher Next Previous

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Photo: Andy Willsher

The Killers played their first ever shows in China this week.

Beginning the stretch on September 30, the band headlined the ThinkPad Space venue in Beijing on Tuesday (October 1) then Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena last night (3).

The Las Vegas band had been scheduled to play their first gigs in the country in 2010, but cancelled due to the death of singer Brandon Flowers' mother.

Having been on tour promoting their 'Battle Born' album for 15 months, the shows came near the end of an enormous gigging cycle for the band. Bassist Mark Stoermer decided not to join them for the Asia leg of the shows and was replaced by Jake Blanton, who previously played as part of Flowers' touring band for the singer's solo album 'Flamingo'.

"In Asia in general we’re not as big as we are in the rest of the world," Flowers told NME after the Shanghai show. "This is us dipping our toes and laying some groundwork again. We're so accustomed to going to Europe, but we haven’t come here before, so it felt like that again."

The band had to jump through the usual administrative hoops foreign bands need to in order to be allowed to perform in the country. Bands from abroad are required by law to submit their lyrics for approval by the government in advance of gigs.

"I think it’s sad," Flowers said of the issue of Chinese censorship. "It's made me realise how much I take for granted being born in America, how lucky I was just to be born there. But we want to play for these people, whether we agree with how the country is run or not, so we have to try and put that stuff aside."

Flowers, drummer Ronnie Vannucci and guitarist Dave Keuning also discussed the reasons for Stoemer's non-appearance, the new songs they're releasing on forthcoming greatest hits album 'Direct Hits', their plans for their next band album plus new solo album ideas. Get the next issue of NME, on sale October 9, for the full interview plus pictures from their China visit.

The Killers’ setlist for both their Beijing and Shanghai shows was:

'Mr Brightside'
'Spaceman'
'The Way It Was'
'Smile Like You Mean It'
'Bling (Confessions Of A King)'
'Shadowplay'
'Human'
'Somebody Told Me'
'For Reasons Unknown'
'From Here On Out'
'A Dustland Fairytale'
'Read My Mind'
'Runaways'
'All These Things I’ve Done'
'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine'
'When You Were Young'


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