No one does the modern-day rock-pop anthem quite like Imagine Dragons. From the uplifting “It’s Time” (featured in the coming-of-age film The Perks of Being a Wallflower), to the post-apocalyptic “Radioactive,” to the unapologetically honest “Demons,” Imagine Dragons’ music captures the perfect combination of triumphant yet genuine. This Las Vegas-based band gained widespread recognition with the 2012 release of their first full-length album Night Visions. They’ve been on tour for the better part of 2013, and this past Saturday, they brought the lights and celebration outside to the Woods Ampitheater at Fontanel in Nashville.
After an impressive opening set by California-based The Neighbourhood, Imagine Dragons took the stage just as the last hints of daylight had faded – setting the perfect backdrop for their bombastic light show. As night progressed, the band churned out one hit after another, backed by a full orchestra for the very first time. Lead singer Dan Reynolds ran tirelessly across the stage, offering the audience titbits of uplifting commentary in-between songs. “It may sound cliché, it may sound crazy, but it doesn’t matter to me. That’s what music has always done – it’s always been my escape,” he proclaimed.
The gorgeous outdoor venue added an element of beauty and wonder to the show. “To be here tonight, to be with you in such a beautiful venue, surrounded by trees and nature… it just feels like family,” Reynolds said. “I can’t tell you how much this means to me.”
Other highlights of the night included a touching acoustic performance of “Thirty Lives” (dedicated to the band’s friend Tyler who died of cancer at 17), a cover of Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Out To Dry” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and an over-six-minute long performance of “Radioactive.” However, nothing could compare to the encore performance of “Nothing Left To Say,” which featured Reynolds, suspended by a system of wires, flipping in mid-air and pounding on a snare drum attached to the stage’s ceiling.
More than once, Reynolds asked the audience “Do you feel free tonight?”
Without a doubt, most of us did.
Round and Round
Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older)
Stand by Me
(Ben E. King cover)
On Top of the World
Nothing Left to Say