In the video for New Order’s “Crystal”—which opened the veteran Manchester dance-rockers’ twilight set on the first day of Lollapalooza—there is a fake band called the Killers that inspired the name of the real band known as the Killers, who headlined the southernmost stage in Chicago’s Grant Park on Friday night. Those who spent the evening parked in front of that stage were treated to four hours of blissful, rhythmic, guitar-based pop that tapped into Lollapalooza’s spirit of eclecticism and brotherhood.
Even in their first-album youth, the Killers have always played the role of a big rock band—they seem custom-built for festival headlining slots. They did not disappoint; their 90-minute Friday finale was a gimmick-free charge through their impressive, hook-filled back catalog.Frontman Brandon Flowers worked the tens of thousands in front of him like a Vegas lounge revue, strutting and pounding through neutron bombs like “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me,” and in a charming bit of hero worship that brought the evening back around for a resolution, he welcomed New Order frontman Bernard Sumner to join the Killers for a cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” which they turned into a spry, jittery singalong.
In fact, the transformation of Joy Division songs might have been the highlight of Friday’s festivities. New Order finished their performance with three nods to the band they used to be, ripping through “Atmosphere,” “Transmission,” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a tribute to late JD frontman Ian Curtis. In a remarkable bit of alchemy, Sumner (with a healthy assist from a game audience) turned “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a downer of a song written by a guy who hanged himself, into a (pardon the pun) joyous anthem. Maybe that’s just the power of New Order, who ripped through a hit-filled set of effervescent synth-powered janglers like the dreamy “The Perfect Kiss” and a thudding “Blue Monday.” READ FULL STORY