Photo by Amanda Hatfield
By Jeremy Nifras
NYC’s Panorama festival wrapped up on Sunday (7/29) and the festival’s bad luck continued when Zeppelin-esque hard rockers Greta Van Fleet had to cancel their set due to drummer Danny Wagner being unable to perform due to a hand injury. That followed day 1 being cut short due to emergency weather evacuations, and then Lil Wayne dropping off day 2 of the festival due to a flight delay (he himself was a replacement for Cardi B). Luckily, the bad luck didn’t affect the artists we were most excited to see on Sunday, including David Byrne, The xx, The Killers, Fleet Foxes, Mount Kimbie and ODESZA.
As you may already know, David Byrne has been on his “untethered” North American tour in support of his latest solo LP American Utopia, which meant the entire stage was completely cleared of any instruments or objects before he and his band began their set. For the first track of the setlist, “Here,” David walked out onto the stage alone, posing with a giant brain (a prop he’s used throughout the tour). Eventually, the rest of David’s band members joined him onstage, and the rest of the set contained many Talking Heads classics such as “Burning Down the House,” “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” and “I Zimbra,” in addition to several tracks from the new record, like “Everybody’s Coming to My House.” At the beginning of “Once in a Lifetime,” David stumbled around clumsily onstage, similar to how he did in Stop Making Sense; this wasn’t the only example of eccentric choreography during the set, as the entire band flatly laid down onstage during the introduction to “I Dance Like This,” and there were multiple occasions where the entire band slowly moved their arms in sync with the songs’ rhythms. David and the band closed their set with a politically-charged performance of Janelle Monae’s protest song “Hell You Talmbout,” which consisted of the band chanting the names of many victims of police brutality in America. David also got political earlier in his set, as he urged many eligible audience members to sign up to vote at the Headcount company booth, which was installed on the park grounds.
After David Byrne’s stunning set, it was time for The xx to take the stage. The trio played a balance of tracks from each of their three records, beginning with the instrumental fan favorite “Intro.” The xx’s Panorama set was the final stop of their 136-show world tour, and vocalist/bassist Oliver Sim explained the significance of playing NYC for their last show, saying “Our first writing sessions for this record were in New York, our first show was here in New York, so it’s perfect that we finish it here.” In addition to performing songs from across their three albums, like “Crystalised” and “Fiction,” the band also played an extended version of the Jamie xx solo track “Loud Places,” which nicely segued into the sample-laden following track “On Hold.” The band finished their set with the tender “Angels,” which had many members of the audience swaying back and forth, singing along to the song’s lyrics. Throughout their set, the audience was very calm and respectful during quieter moments, such as during “I Dare You,” where the brief periods of silence could almost make one hear a pin drop.
This calmness didn’t last very long, as headliners The Killers later came onstage to perform a highly entertaining set. The band tore right into opening track “Spaceman,” which immediately got the crowd up and moving, and this energy continued into following track “Somebody Told Me,” to which nearly the entire crowd loudly shouted along, seemingly almost becoming one single voice. In addition to playing many hits from their back catalog, like “Smile Like You Mean It” and “Read My Mind,” the band played some tracks from 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful, like the funky “The Man,” and the anthemic “Run For Cover.” As The Killers have done before, they brought up a fan who was holding a sign which read “I can play drums for ‘For Reasons Unknown'” to do just that. The heavily supportive crowd cheered the fan on, as he impressively nailed many of the song’s fills. Near the end of the band’s main set, the stage became adorned with large, colorful lasers, which provided the spectacle expected from a headlining act such as them. The band closed their main set with “When You Were Young,” and later returned for an encore, starting with the memorable “Human.” The band finished the night (and the festival as a whole) with their generation-defining, iconic signature song “Mr. Brightside,” which as expected, sent the entire audience’s adrenaline levels through the ceiling. During the song’s coda, the crowd’s collective screams of “I never!” seemed to overpower even Brandon Flowers himself. There’s a reason why The Killers have remained relevant as one of the titans of alternative rock for over a decade, and their set made that very clear.
Pictures of The Killers, The xx, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, Mount Kimbie, and ODESZA are in the gallery above, and a few more video clips of The Killers, The xx, and David Byrne are below.
In case you missed it, day two pictures and review HERE.