When Imagine Dragons kicked off their North American tour at Talking Stick Resort Arena on September 26, it was an exercise in drama.
Illuminating the stage were four light panels, each silhouetting a band member of Imagine Dragons. As fog enveloped the stage, lead singer Dan Reynolds arrived for a soulful and solo rendition of “I Don’t Know Why,” the first song off the act’s latest album, Evolve. Halfway through, the beat dropped and the crowd joined in on the action.
Imagine Dragons—lead guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist and keyboardist Ben McKee and drummer Daniel Platzman—fed off the energy that radiated from the audience throughout the entirety of the show, which did not disappoint. The Las Vegas-based band didn’t leave the hits until the end of the show, as “It’s Time,” was early in the concert. The audience sang its signature lyric, “I’m never changing who I am,” as Reynolds held out the mike.
Multicolored bright lights illuminated the audience throughout the song, as if to show that the fans—not Imagine Dragons—were the main event of the night. This light pattern continued for much of the concert, which goes to show just how much Imagine Dragons appreciate their audience.
Before “Yesterday,” Reynolds shared a heartwarming moment with the crowd. He admitted that his earliest recollection came later than most, saying, “My first memory was being 8 years old and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh I’m 8 years old! Everybody thinks that I’m so young but I know exactly what’s going on right now.’”
The crowd laughed in response. However, when the song began, fans half-heartedly sang the lyric, “yesterday.” Reynolds stopped the music and said, “You don’t have to sing it; it’s just a scream.” With that bit of encouragement, the audience proceeded to scream the word “yesterday” every time it showed up in the song. At the end, Reynolds joked, “Your voices sound wonderful.”
This candid interaction seemed to be the signature part of an Imagine Dragons concert. In addition to the jokes and laughter, the band members were dressed in casual street clothes, which made the crowd feel more at home. Reynolds thrived his fans’ screaming and dancing to the alternative rock beats.
Midway through the show, Imagine Dragons transferred to an intimate stage at the back of Talking Stick Resort Arena armed with classical instruments like a viola and cello.
A few songs in, Reynolds asked the audience to select the next song. “Bleeding Out,” from Night Visions, was by far the crowd favorite. The acoustic version of the song proved to be the most emotional part of the night, with audience members tearfully singing along to the ballad.
Returning to the main stage, Imagine Dragons kicked the concert into full gear as it headed into the finishing stretch. Reynolds his fellow musicians put their full energy into a drum-filled performance of “Radioactive.” The drums’ deep thundering reverberated throughout the arena, perfectly in sync with the light show.
Imagine Dragons performed for more than two hours, with each song filled with more energy than the last. Video screens and lights worked together with the music to create an otherworldly feeling. As confetti blew through the air at the conclusion of the concert, Imagine Dragons came together at the edge of the stage for one final bow.
“I Don’t Know Why”
“Whatever It Takes”
“I’ll Make It Up to You”
‘Mouth of the River”
“Dancing in the Dark”
“It Comes Back to You”
“On Top of the World”
“I Bet My Life”
“Walking the Wire”
(Photos by staff photographer Kimberly Carrillo)