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Lehi teen becomes rock star on stage with The Killers

Posted at 5:45 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 23:59:50-04

LEHI, Utah — A Lehi teen just starting his senior year of high school was literally vaulted to rock star status overnight when he took the stage with one of the world's biggest bands.

Plucked from the middle of a sold out crowd at Vivint Arena, 17-year-old Alec Andersen took the stage with The Killers and performed the song "For Reasons Unknown" with the group in front of thousands of screaming fans on Tuesday.

It was the moment of a lifetime for Andersen and his family, but one that had been almost a year in the making.

While Andersen's dream to play with his favorite band may sound far-fetched, he knew it wasn't out of the realm of possibility. The Killers have long been known to pull fans on stage to help perform the song, but following the pandemic, no one knew if the band would continue the tradition.

The Andersen's bought tickets to the concert almost a year ago, and Alec practiced the drum parts of the song a few times a week leading up the show.

But before he arrived at the concert, Alec had gone through some tough times navigating the difficulties of just being a teenager. While the pandemic had its effect on everyone, Andersen's parents said it hit their son, who suffers from anxiety, harder than most.

"The one thing that I always saw gave him comfort was his music," said Alec's mother, Jonni. "If he could go down, put his head canceling noise-cancelling headphones on, practice his drums or listen to music, that was his away space."

Alec had to also make the difficult, and often socially-awkward, transition to high school. It was a painful time for the entire family, including his parents who only wanted to see their son thrive amid tough times.

"After three years of this, we found ourselves just, I mean, we're religious people and just saying, you know, gosh, God, can you give this kid a win?" said Eric Andersen, Alec's father, through tears.

"When can he just have his own moment?" asked Jonni. "It doesn't need to be in the spotlight. But can he just have something, something that reminds him that he is known and he is being, he's made aware of? And that people care about him?"

That moment, they hoped, would come with The Killers. But Alec had to figure out a way to get noticed by the band's lead singer, and Utah native, Brandon Flowers.

"I realistically thought I probably had like a 2% chance of it actually happening. Because first of all, you got to get them to play the song. Second of all, you got to fight for all the other people who probably know about the same trend and want to get themselves up there," said Andersen.

The teen created a sign that read "B-Flo, can I drum w/my heroes," and in between songs a group started shining lights on the poster to get the attention of Flowers. Seconds later, the singer noticed the sign and the dream became reality.

"I was like, sweet, this is about to happen," Andersen said. "My dream's about to come true."

Alec hopped on stage, and completely full of adrenaline, began pounding away and stealing the spotlight from his new bandmates that he's admired for years.

Video below shows Alec jamming with The Killers at Vivint Arena

Alec plays with The Killers

"It took me a minute to kind of process the fact that like, my musical idols were standing right next to me, and were like shaking my hand and hugging me like, that blew my mind," remembered Alec. "And so I was just kind of shaking more for the fact, not that I had to play, but that I was in the presence of, you know, Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci. Like that was awesome to me.

"And so, yeah, the adrenaline kind of went down once we actually started playing the song. But it was a rush for sure."

Alec Andersen
Alec Andersen appeared on the Vivint Arena screens while playing with The Killers

It was a rush for Alec and for everyone who had been a part of the journey to the stage.

"I was just ecstatic," recalled Jonni. "I'm like, I can't believe this is happening. I'm like, screaming, I'm shaking, I'm crying. I'm like, is this really real? But I've seen that, with him being in percussion since seventh grade, he's in his element."

"I'm not ashamed to say this, but like, I didn't cry at the moment. Until today, when the noise was down, the adrenaline had stopped," said Eric.

Alec Andersen The Killers
Alec takes a selfie with The Killers after playing on stage with the band in Salt Lake City

Surprisingly, unlike most teens, Alec didn't immediately share his time in the spotlight on social media, so his day at Skyridge High School on Wednesday was somewhat normal and no pedestals were awaiting him on campus.

In the end, Alec said he earned a reward far greater than sharing the stage with some of the biggest rock stars on the planet.

"To me being up on stage kind of felt like my redemption from the three years that I've hid away and kept myself, you know, in a dark hole and staying away from socialness and all that stuff; not being confident, not being myself. But it was senior year, starting senior year, that I decided I kind of wanted to make a change with that and being up there just kind of represented to me that like, you know, this is it, this is the turning point from the bad, the bad few years to now the good rest of my life."