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Music Review

The Killers raw but roaring at Agganis Arena

Brandon Flowers (pictured performing in California) has battled laryngitis recently.

Chris Pizzello/File/2009

Brandon Flowers (pictured performing in California) has battled laryngitis recently.

Brandon Flowers said he had his fingers crossed, hoping for the best. Before arriving in Boston Monday night, the Killers had canceled the previous three gigs after their charismatic frontman had battled laryngitis.

At the Agganis Arena, before a sold-out crowd, Flowers worried early on that he wouldn’t be able to deliver. But he did in a performance that occasionally felt tentative but still roared with the intensity of the band’s best moments on record.

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Laryngitis must have been particularly problematic for a singer like Flowers. So much of what makes the Killers great — namely, the bombast — rests in his voice, which swells to an operatic croon to put across some of rock’s most emphatic choruses.

Like the show itself, Flowers picked up speed and strength as the night wore on. His voice was a little frayed around the edges on “Heart of a Girl,” a ballad from the Killers’ latest album, “Battle Born.” But by the time he scaled the peaks of “Miss Atomic Bomb,” another new song, and “Human,” it was as if he had shaken off the rust.

“Somebody Told Me” was the fervent singalong you expected, and it felt good to hear that chorus in unison: “Well, somebody told me/ You had a boyfriend/ Who looked like a girlfriend/ That I had in February of last year.”

For all of the Killers’ high-octane posturing, the quieter moments tended to resonate even more. Introducing “A Dustland Fairytale,” Flowers explained it was the story of how his parents met. And on “Here With Me,” he instructed the audience to lift those illuminated cellphones, until the sea of cyber fireflies mirrored the chorus: “Don’t want your picture on my cellphone/ I want you here with me.”

After a spray of metallic confetti covered the crowd, and just before a three-song encore, Flowers exited the stage and briefly clutched his throat. He had given it a glorious workout.

Tegan and Sara, the sister act of Canadian singer-songwriters Sara and Tegan Quin, opened with a set of spiky indie rock. A rough sound mix often favored whoever was singing lead at the time, which became a distraction for a duo so celebrated for their chemistry.

James Reed can be reached at jreed@globe.com. Follow him on
Twitter @GlobeJamesReed.
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