The Killers performed yesterday evening (August 14th) at the Black Sea Arena in Batumi, Georgia, where they drew boos from the crowd for inviting a drummer onstage who happened to be Russian.
Attempting a moment of Russian-Georgian unity, Flowers called Russians and Georgians “brothers,” which caused the crowd the erupt in protest. “You can’t recognise that someone’s your brother?” Flowers asked.
“He’s not your brother? We all separate on the borders of our countries?” In addition to booing, many people reportedly left the show in protest. Later on the Killers ended their set without saying goodbye.
Many people reportedly left the stadium in protest, though according to the user-sourced concert database Setlist.fm, The Killers played through to the end of their show.
Now, the band has shared an apology on social media. “Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone!,” they wrote.
“We have a longstanding tradition of inviting people to play drums and it seemed from the stage that the initial response from the crowd indicated that they were okay with tonight’s audience participation member coming onstage with us. We recognise that a comment, meant to suggest that all of the Killers’ audience and fans are ‘brothers and sisters’ could be misconstrued. We did not mean to upset anyone and we apologise. We stand with you and hope to return soon.”
There is a long history of tension between Georgia and Russia. Currently, amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there’s been a huge influx of Russian emigrants escaping their own country and settling in the capital city of Tbilisi, which has been polarising among locals. Likewise, Russia has occupied 20% of Georgia’s territory since invading the country in 2008.