The city never sleeps at night – at least not when Imagine Dragons is on stage.
The indie rock band began its concert Monday night with the lyrics “It’s time to begin” at Hollywood Palladium, a venue seemingly suited for a golden wedding. The floor was filled with screaming fans and flaring lights for a brief two hours. Though interspersing songs with extended commentary on the band’s origin made me sympathize with the musicians, I was left yearning for more music.
Imagine Dragons first filled car stereos with the perfect beat of “Radioactive” in 2012. Last night was all about sharing the band’s backstory and personality, from the hyped-up introduction video to long anecdotes.
Lead singer Dan Reynolds offered comedic breaks to the music by sharing secrets about the band, making it more relatable and lovable, but didn’t quench the audience’s thirst for intense rhythms and howling vocals.
Members recounted tales about bass player Ben McKee dropping out of college to join the band in Las Vegas, Reynolds’ self-described night blindness that led him to fall into a 12-foot-deep latrine in Amsterdam and how the band couldn’t sell 60 tickets for its first show in Los Angeles.
While the stories were touching, audience members didn’t come to chat. They came to hear some recognizable tunes and witness an amped up show. They got that, too.
After “It’s Time,” the band took the stage with “Shots,” sending energy across the pit of fans. They interspersed older favorites like “Demons” with the band’s new effervescent tunes.
Though truly loyal fans appreciated their old, more pop-based songs, the stage productions of their newer songs were more impressive. “Gold” was radiant as bright lights flashed from behind the band on every introductory beat, reflecting off guitarist Daniel Wayne Sermon’s metallic gold instrument.
Every member of the band was filled with enthusiasm. Reynold’s man bun gradually slipped out as the night progressed, until he let his curly hair loose while smashing it to the wild “I’m So Sorry.”
Surprisingly, their performance style was not as hardcore rock as I’d imagined, with a bunch of guys jumping around on stage to rolling beats. Fans roared when Reynolds thrust his microphone stand in the air during “I’m on Top of the World.”
The concert was too short. Between the stories of Reynold’s vocal surgery and the relatively brief two-hour time slot, the band did not perform some favorites from its latest album, such as the titular “Smoke + Mirrors” and hit single “I Bet My Life.” For once, I actually craved an encore performance and the band did not deliver, but left us to exit the venue after around 10 songs.
The finale was naturally “Radioactive,” the most popular number and the most pulsating. It was incredible to watch the raw passion of the musicians as all four band members simultaneously pounded on drums during a percussion break.
Vibrations resonated across the entire room when Reynolds struck the huge drum on stage as a maniacal light show erupted in all directions.
– Lindsay Weinberg