After catapulting in 2012 to the spotlight with their Night Visions album, it seemed like a daunting task to follow-up their first extremely successful album. How did Imagine Dragons tackle that task? They did so by making an album for themselves. Writing while touring, these guys were able to put down feelings and emotions that translated to their second album Smoke and Mirrors.
My anticipation grew, as the date of the show slowly came upon me. I was anxious to see if these guys were as good live as I predicted. The songs on the new album lent themselves to epic live show spectacles.
As the show began, an extremely talented young lady, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, took the stage with her band. Halsey, as they are known, rocked the stage with their Indie pop sound. I was absolutely captivated by her vocals. She’s an amazing artist and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how absolutely stunning this young lady was as well. She could be a model. The hair, oh my gosh her hair was epic. It was the most beautiful shade of blue/green I’ve ever seen. Wish I could pull that off. I’m digressing, sorry. Halsey’s eclectic musical influences from Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G, Slick Rick, as well as The Cure, Nirvana, and Alanis Morissette permeated her sound giving it an edge of sophistication and funk. From the moment she took the stage, she owned the audience.
Next up was Metric. This Canadian rock band has been around for quite a while amassing a strong following since 1998. With a heavy synth and punk sound, this band is more familiar to you than you probably realize. With several EPs and albums over the years, opening for acts such as The Rolling Stones, and their extensive credits for scores with Grey’s Anatomy, 90210, One Tree Hill, FIFA 10, NBA 2K10, Zombieland, Entourage Vampire Diaries, Rock Band 3, and so many more it’s almost unfathomable to think you haven’t heard their music. Commanding the stage their unique blend of music and instrumentation entertained this group and primed them for the main event.
As I returned to my spot to photograph the next set, the stage was set in a blanket of darkness and a cloth now covered the entire stage like a mask. Speaking with attendees while we waited for the Imagine Dragons set to begin, I learned the dedication and sheer love these fans have for this group. Traveling long distances and sitting outside since the wee hours of the morning to get a railing position on the floor, it was only a matter of moments before their perseverance would pay off. With posters in hand they were ready to sing along with every song (I’m sure they knew every lyric to each one) with hopes to possibly get a pick thrown their way or perhaps a touch of the hand of a member of the band they loved so very much. As the music began, the lighting shone through the curtain highlighting the silhouettes of each band member. With the score beginning, sheer adrenaline was pumping through the crowd like static electricity, it was impossible not to feel the tingle. As the curtain fell, out to the edge of the stage ran Dan Reynolds singing their newest single, “Shots”. Positioned just right, I was right there waiting for him as the fans went crazy and the energy levels exploded through the roof. I knew it. This band was a ‘live band’. You know, one of those bands that you have to see live to appreciate ever aspect of their talent. Always loved their music, but I wanted to feel the music.
The first thing I noticed as the show began was Reynolds ability to connect with the crowd. He felt the music through his entire body and extended it outward toward the audience. He spoke with the group as if they were just having a conversation sharing his newly acquired bling that his daughter had just made him, and commenting on issues affecting everyone in light of the recent tragedies in Charleston. These fans weren’t nameless faces to him. They were friends; they had been through it all with him. At one point and time he called out to the crowd as we celebrated “beard man”. But what really got me, was his recognition of fan Jacob Ziegler. Who is Jacob Ziegler? Well he’s a young man who loves Imagine Dragons and follows them on all social media aspects. He retweets, he shares, he comments, and Reynolds recognized that. He yells out to him, recognizing him in the crowd, saying “I see you Jacob Ziegler” he tells the arena full of people that he sees his tweets and comments and appreciates the love he shares. I was floored by this act of kindness. Jacob was beside himself happy. By the end of the night Reynolds made sure to give him a hug. Now to me, that’s a star. A star always shines bright.
As connected as he was with the crowd, he was the same with band mates Wayne Sermon, Daniel Platzman, and Ben McKee. You could tell the rapport they share was fun and loving as they teased amongst themselves. As he sang through his setlist, that consisted of both hits from Night Visions and the new Smoke & Mirrors, I heard the songs differently this time. Ones that didn’t stand now did. Ones that I loved, I loved even more. And let’s talk about the light show. That in itself was a spectacular show. Coupled together with the amazing sounds of Imagine Dragons, this show became one of my top five favorite shows of all time.
As Imagine Dragons travels for this tour, I strongly urge you to take the opportunity to see this event. You will definitely be happy you did.
Shots, Trouble, It’s Time, Forever Young (Alphaville cover), Smoke and Mirrors, Polaroid, I’m So Sorry, Gold, Bleeding Out/Warriors, Demons, Hopeless Opus, On Top of the World, Friction, I Bet My Life, Radioactive, The Fall