For a band that is only five years old, Imagine Dragons has gained an enormous amount of success. A Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, named Billboard's No. 1 Top Rock Artist of 2013 and the ability to sell out concert arenas around the world.
On Valentine’s Day, the alternative rock band played for 14,000 screaming fans at the newly renovated 'The Forum Presented by Chase' in Los Angeles. Listening to Imagine Dragons on the radio is one thing. But seeing them live is an entirely unique and euphoric musical experience.
Indie rockers, 'Nico Vega’ and ‘The Naked and the Famous’ opened the “Into The Night” tour. While both bands have their own dedicated fan following, it was clear that the crowd was there for the main act. However, when the ‘The Naked and the Famous’ struck the first note of their hit, “Young Blood,” it pumped up The Forum with powerful energy.
As the venue went pitch black and neon green strobe lights lit the stage, Dan Reynolds (lead singer), Ben McKee (Bass guitar, mandolin), Wayne “Wing” Sermon (electric guitar, drums) and Daniel Platzman (drums) immediately commanded the entire arena with an epic drum number. Aside from Platzman, every member of the band soars from one side of the stage to the other, interchanging instruments between vocals, snare, bass and two enormous Odaiko drums. Although Reynolds is the clear leader of the band, with his strong vocals and significant lyrics – each musician gives 100% throughout the 90 minute concert.
They started off with earlier songs such as “Fallen,” “Tiptoe” and “Hear Me,” before singing their first radio hit, “It’s Time.” While Imagine Dragons is called an alternative rock band, each song seems to fall under a different genre of music, with hints of 80’s beats and classic rock. Each bang of the drum, strum of the guitar and lyric was heard clearly throughout The Forum with its incredible acoustics. After The Madison Square Company invested an outrageous $50 million in renovations, I have to say, it definitely stands up to the praise The Forum sound system has received thus far from the media. Probably one of the best in the country.
In special effects, towers of smoke blasted towards the ceilings, while images of deserts, mountains and Saharan sunsets were projected off a spinning circular backdrop. Undoubtedly, the light production was extremely impressive.
Halfway through their set, the band made the daring decision to cover “Tom Sawyer” by the progressive rock band, ‘Rush.’ Needless to say, they pulled it off with their brilliant musicianship. All four members are so in sync, you would think they'd been playing together for decades. As most Imagine Dragons’ favored songs have an anthem-like style, the crowds would chime in and sing the chorus of hits such as, “Demons” and “On Top of the World.” Gigantic colorful balloons filled with confetti bounced around the arena and everyone swayed there arms in the air from left to right. Looking around, I noticed their fan base reached ages across the board, from 16 to 50 year-olds.
Thinking back on last night’s spectacular concert, the drums were the most memorable part. They are the heart and soul of Imagine Dragons. The band often breaks out into tribal-like solos. No doubt all 14,000 audience members could feel the 100 hertz vibrations rumbling through The Form. They ended with their best song to date: “Radioactive,” which has been on a rise of popularity since released in 2012. They returned for their encore with “Nothing Left to Say.”
Towards the finale, Reynolds announced that the band wouldn’t be back to perform in Los Angeles for a while. They are preparing to work on a new album. But when they do return to the stage, do yourself a huge favor and see Imagine Dragons live. They are the ‘real’ thing.
By Pamela Price