Dublin drummer Sam (20) on playing on stage with The Killers: ‘I felt all day this was going to happen’

Dubliner Sam Connolly on stage at Malahide with The Killers singer Brandon Flowers, right, and drummer Ronnie Vanucci Jnr. Photo: Rob Loud

Sam Connolly plays drums as the Killers perform the song For Reasons Unknown at Malahide Castle, Co Dublin, last night. Photo: Rob Loud


Laura Lynott

A concertgoer invited on stage by The Killers’ lead singer Brandon Flowers to play drums at one their Dublin shows said his dream has come true – and admitted battling nerves to get through the song.

Sam Connolly (20), from Monkstown, Dublin, had concocted a plan all day to get to play with The Killers at the band’s Malahide Castle and Gardens gig last night.

Mr Connolly made a colourful sign asking: “Can I play drums on For Reasons Unknown?” –  one of their songs – and positioned himself very close to the stage, hoping to be seen by Flowers.

The US rock band were playing the first of two popular outdoor gigs at Malahide Castle and Gardens yesterday, when Flowers brought Mr Connolly on stage, where the concertgoer delighted the crowd with his drumming on the band’s song.

“I just kind of felt all day this was going to happen, that I would get to play with the band,” Sam told Independent.ie.

But when it came to realising his dream, the BIMM music student admitted “only adrenaline” helped him play the drums in front of 30,000.

“I was hoping Brandon Flowers would come up to me but to be honest, the next five minutes were a blur, a very, very good blur.

“I got very nervous. But by the end of the song, I was milking it with a fill,” he said, referring to a heavy drumming routine.

Mr Connolly, who plays in Dublin band M.T. Heads, with friend, singer and guitarist John Daly (19), from Glenageary, also south Dublin, said he realised most people could live a lifetime without living their dream,

“And yet I know I’ve had my dream already and I feel so, so lucky,” he said.

“All I’ve ever wanted was to play live on stage for an audience that big, I still can’t believe it.

“I was so anxious going up. The adrenaline took over, I had to run for the back of the stage to the drums.

“I didn’t have time to think about it. The audience reaction from the second I started playing was incredible.”

He even mentioned to lead singer Flowers that he was feeling nervous.

Flowers told the crowd: "Two minutes ago he said, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’. Sam you’re doing great.”

The crowd started chanting “Ole, Ole, Ole” as the musician showed his skills on the drum kit. Afterwards hundreds of people asked Mr Connolly to pose for photos, as he made his journey home on the Dart train.

“People were shouting my name in the street, it was so surreal,” Mr Connolly said.

“And it’s weird how it felt natural when I was playing up there, when I got into it.

“I know people can wait a lifetime and still never get a chance like that. I’ve had that chance and it was my dream come true. If I only got to do that once, I've done it and I loved it.”

Mr Connolly’s family and friends waited up for him to get home at 2am today and he was taken aback when he walked in his front door to be greeted by his pleased parents.

“My mam was bawling crying and my dad just said, ’Fair play’,” Mr Connolly said.

His mother Louise and father Julian will no doubt be watching their son’s career with interest now, as he plans to seriously pursue music.

M.T. Heads latest indie track Valentine is available to listen to now.

Mr Connolly will be playing drums for a friend, Emma Williams, at the Grand Social in Dublin on June 21.

The Killers are playing their second night at Malahide Castle and Gardens tonight.

No doubt more young hopefuls will be vying for a chance to get their five minutes of fame on stage.

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