One of rock band The Killers’ long-time concert traditions is bringing a fan up to play drums on their track “For Reasons Unknown.” Fans hold up signs saying they want to play the song and the band’s lead singer Brandon Flowers picks one from the crowd to drum with them.
A video from a recent Killers show at the Black Sea Arena in Batumi, Georgia, went viral when fans booed the band off the stage because of who they picked to come drum with them.
One fan from r/TheKillers subreddit says he was there when it went down. Flowers invited a guy with a sign up onto the stage to play with them, u/LSC871 explained. The lead singer repeatedly asked the fan if he was local until he said where he was from.
“It eventually became clear he was Russian from St Petersburg and the crowd dulled in their enthusiasm,” u/LSC871 said.
“We don’t know the etiquette of this land,” Flowers then asked the crowd in a video posted on Twitter. “This guy’s a Russian, are you OK with a Russian coming up here?”
The video captures some in the crowd booing loudly in response.
“You can’t recognize that someone’s your brother? He’s not your brother?” Flowers asked, drawing a loud boo from the crowd. “No, he’s not your brother? We all separate on the borders of our countries? That’s where you want to separate it on? So I’m not your brother, being from America?”
Later, a video showed the band leaving the stage to a mix of applause and boos.
“Bad taste by the band,” wrote Twitter user @RUNWAYBIDDER. “If Russians want to be brothers with Georgians they should act that way and insist Russian troops leave Georgia. If Russians act the opposite to being brothers it’s weird that they expect to be seen as brothers.”
“I’m sad and disturbed that some Georgians have decided to lose their minds on the Killers who picked a random audience member (who happened to be Russian),” wrote @sopjap.
“Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone,” the band posted in Notes app statement on Twitter.
“We recognize that a comment, meant to suggest that all of The Killers’ audience and fans are ‘brothers and sisters,’ could be misconstrued,” the statement continued. “We did not mean to upset anyone and we apologize. We stand with you and hope to return soon.”’