If you already adore The Killers, get ready to fall in love a little more.
The Las Vegas rockers made one longtime fan’s dream come true on Sunday night, when they spotted 22-year-old Ashley Mammen holding up a poster to get their attention at the du Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Mammen, an Indian national born-and-raised in Al Ain, has been a fan of the band for nearly a decade and has been playing the drums for even longer. Now, he recalls a blur of meeting his idols — particularly front man Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr — and performing an entire song of theirs in front of a packed arena.
“I’ve watched a lot of their tour videos across the world, I’ve seen them pull up a fan on stage during a lot of their concerts in the past,” says Mammen.
“I got the Golden Circle upgrade and I thought if I made a poster, there could be a chance that they might see it, but I was in two minds about it, because I thought I’d look like an idiot,” he adds, laughing.
Mammen made the poster and arrived to the venue at 5.30pm, half an hour before gates opened, then camped near the stage for three hours waiting for the band to arrive.
“The poster said, ‘Ronnie, can I play your drums?’ He’s probably one of my biggest drumming inspirations ever.
“I was hoping that Brandon at least would see it — I saw him glance over at it quite often, and I was like, ‘okay, he must be seeing this!’
“Luckily enough, about halfway through the set, he shouted out to me and asked what song I wanted to play. I completely lost my mind, I couldn’t even think of what song it was. So I yelled back ‘For Reasons Unknown’ and he said he had to get back to me.
“When he started ‘For Reasons Unknown’, I saw him run back to Ronnie and talk to him, and I was like, oh my gosh, he must be asking if I could play. He must be telling him. He came back, looked down at me and said, ‘Are you ready?’
“It was absolutely crazy. I started hopping the fence and the security almost tackled me, because they thought I was hopping the fence just randomly. [Brandon] told them to let me go and brought me up on stage. I met a few of my idols.
“It was a complete blur but I did get to talk to them. I spoke to Brandon at first, who asked my name and where I’m from. He said, ‘Are you familiar with the song?’ I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. I’ve done this a lot. I’m ready.’ He introduced me to Ronnie and I gave him a huge hug — it was so weird seeing him right in front of me.
“They were really sort of incredible, because they literally became like coaches up there. They were watching me and helping me with cues and everything.
“I think it felt so crazy that I’ve not been able to process it. My mind has forgotten everything — I can’t remember the small details, which is really annoying, but it just feels great.
“I stayed up late watching as many videos as I could, because it hasn’t sunk in.”
Watch Mammen join The Killers on stage in Abu Dhabi: