The experience of seeing a band live is unlike any other, even if it’s years apart.
Written by Mark Glotzbach; @markglotzbachblog
In 2013 I was lucky enough to see Imagine Dragons in a small venue called The Orange Peel which fits about a thousand people. Just recently, I had the opportunity to see them again but with about 20 thousand other fans at the Charlotte Spectrum.
The band has grown exponentially in popularity in the short five years since the release of their debut album, Night Visions, but lead singer Dan Reynolds says this latest album is Imagine Dragons in their truest form.
As the stadium began to fill to capacity, K. Flay took to the stage with high energy and some serious attitude. Her first time on a tour this large, she kept saying how unreal it was to have tens of thousands of people there to hear her perform. The next night K. Flay played at a local bar in Johnson City called Capones, a much smaller venue.
Next up, Grouplove took the stage with a giant set of goofy inflatable teeth decorating the stage and followed to give a feel good performance of some of their hits like “Welcome To Your Life” and “Tongue Tied” , as well as some interesting covers of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and The Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage.”
Then it was the moment everyone had been waiting for, the crowd rose to their feet as a retro voice over began speaking about the beginning of time and the rise of man ( a play on the latest album’s title: Evolve.) The band entered the stage as the pre-recorded intro to “I Don’t Know Why” played then they proceeded to stand still as Dan began singing, then they all joined in with their instruments and the crowd went wild.
Lead singer Dan Reynolds took several opportunities to speak about some issues that lay close to his heart. Reynolds first thanked the crowd to have the courage to come out in such a large crowd to enjoy some music despite recent events such as the Las Vegas shooting that took place in the band’s home town. Dan also took a moment to discuss issues like anxiety and depression, encouraging those suffering from mental illness to seek the help they need and deserve.
Please turn and talk to somebody. Find a therapist, talk to an adult, go talk to your friend. Don’t be alone in it, don’t hide it. It does not make you a broken person. It’s not you screaming for attention. It’s an actual thing, and it’s real. I promise you that though it may be dark in moments, though it may be numb for a long time, I promise you: You can get through it.
Dan admitted that even as the lead singer of one of the most popular rock bands he still sees a therapist, who he claims is amazingly helpful. With the loss of artists Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington to the effects of depression its refreshing to see a band that can speak about the subject so openly and give hope to those who feel like they are suffering alone. Dan reminds the crowd, “Your life is always worth living.”
Near the end of the show the band moved to a second stage closer to the back of the stadium to perform a short acoustic set, including a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” a beautiful tribute to the recently deceased member of rock royalty.
After the acoustic set was finished the band made its way back to the stage and just so happened to pass by my wife and I. We were lucky enough to catch a few high fives from the band before they returned for their final set of songs.
K. Flay joined the band on stage to perform a remix of Thunder, the band’s latest hit single which probably made me more excited than it should have but what can I say, I love me some K. Flay.
The band finished out the set with an energetic performance of their first hit single “Radioactive” with Dan, guitarist Wayne Sermon and bassist Ben McKee all banging on large bass drums and toms, the same way they did during the Night Visions tour. It was cool to see how much the band’s performance style has changed from their concerts in small venues five years ago, but nice to know they stayed true to their unique sound.
Overall it was just an awesome experience and the band performed all of their hits flawlessly. Their North American tour is coming to a close so unless you plan to see them in Europe you’ll have to wait for the next tour to catch them live.