The Killers perform at Sandance in Dubai on October 11, 2013. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Vegas electro-rock quartet The Killers saved the best for the last by making Friday night’s third anniversary Sandance festival in Dubai the final international stop of their world tour. The band won over the crowd of an estimated 15,000 gathered at Atlantis, The Palm, by giving them exactly what they wanted right off the bat: a vigorous opening performance of their debut single and most popular song yet, Mr Brightside.

Lead vocalist Brandon Flowers had all the makings of a captivating frontman as he assumed his position on stage, alternating between strutting around with his microphone in tow, vigorously playing the keyboard behind a lit-up lightning bolt prop, and hopping up onto the closest of many black crates to rile the crowd up with a fist thrust in the air. He exuded confidence in both demeanour and style – briefly aided by a smoky leather jacket that was tossed to the ground in the face of Dubai’s heat – but his disarmingly charming smile took the edge off his rock star swagger throughout the night.

The hour-and-a-half performance was rife with the band’s notorious synth-infused intros, gritty guitar riffs, unrelenting drum lines, and an incredible display of stamina on Flowers’ end. At times, however, the ruthless combination of sounds from drummer Ronnie Vannucci and guitarist Dave Keuning overpowered Flowers’ vocals until they were barely discernible, but it made the rare simmered down moments of quietened melodies – such as the intro and outro of their ode to home A Dustland Fairytale – all the more sweet as the singer had a chance to showcase his robust vocals in earnest.

Highlights of the night included a spirited and high-energy delivery of the band’s 2008 hit Human, an anthemic crowd singalong of the now-infamous lyric “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier”, a cheeky rock rendition of Tommy James’ Are We Alone Now? and, of course, the raucous and much-anticipated performance of fan-favourite Somebody Told Me that had even the most oblivious attendees kicking up sand as they danced along.

After a brief disappearance off stage that prompted isolated chants of “we want more!” from the crowd, the band returned to polish off their set with a two-song encore consisting of critically acclaimed bluesy hit Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine and perfect send-off tune When You Were Young. The night ended on a high note as a grinning Flowers repeatedly thanked the crowd, sneaking in a quick smack of his guitarist’s backside before slinking off stage.

Successful as it was, last night’s performance came fresh on the heels of rumours that the band might be on shaky ground after upwards of a decade of making music together. Predictions of a possible split have been brought to the forefront after guitarist Keuning told NME he was “done” and “sick of” life on the road, and that “the end is in sight.” Despite possibly troubled waters, however, Keuning and his remaining band members seemed nothing but united and committed to delivering their very best show, appearing in high spirits as they revelled in the opportunity to rock out with Dubai’s equally-pleased crowd.