After counting down for five months I finally found myself standing in line at Memphis’s FedEx Forum to see Imagine Dragons on the North American leg of their Smoke+Mirrors Tour. I stood in that line for over six hours, but standing at the barricade when the lights went down made it all worth it.
As the lights went down for the first opener, Halsey, I thought it was Imagine Dragons themselves. I wasn’t a huge Halsey fan before, but after hearing her perform I was hooked! I can now say that I have downloaded every song she has ever released. Even though her stage setting was small, a few lights, a keyboardist, and a drummer Halsey put on a show fit for the NBA arena we were in. The crowd was automatically in love with her, and her voice was intoxicating. Unfortunately her 30 minute set was quickly over.
The second opener was long-time independent band Metric. To be honest, I had never heard of them and I wouldn’t feel bad if I never heard them again. While the band’s stage presence was great, and they had wonderful energy and amazing chemistry, the performance seemed disconnected. There were spurts of clapping and cheering from the audience. However, most were just as clueless as I am about who Metric is, or they just weren’t digging Metric’s sound. I just don’t think Metric and I were meant to be.
The second Metric left the stage and their instruments were cleared, the world’s largest curtain dropped from the ceiling and stage hands clamped it to the stage. It created quite the buzz and caused the anticipation to reach a new high.
When the lights went out the curtain became even more impressive! They used shadows and light images of stars, smoke, and eventually the outline of Imagine Dragons and their instruments took form on the curtain as the beginning of “Shots” began playing.
As the drum began beating, the curtain cascaded to the floor revealing the four piece band and caused an eruption of cheers.
Dan Reynolds, Imagine Dragons’s lead singer, is an absolute fire-cracker on stage. The man dances, twirls, claps, and jumps around making the songs that much more exciting. The band powered through “Trouble” and “Its Time” before guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and drummer Daniel Platzman took a break while Dan had a chat with a crowd.
Although the venue was huge, Dan made it feel as if we were in a bar on Beale Street and he was having a one-on-one conversation with us. He drew everyone in as he spoke. It was truly an electric atmosphere.
Dan spoke of his love for Paul Simon who wrote the song “Graceland,” about Elvis’s home in Memphis. He then went on to a sing a few lines to the crowd’s delight!
Imagine Dragons’s performance was absolutely outstanding, they blew me away with every song. What made the night even better was how every member was very down to earth.
Dan told stories of his daughter playing with a flashlight before a show. Ben talked about being impeached as class president in high school for spending the budget on milk and cookies. Wayne got compliments from his band mates on being best dressed. Daniel waved to Dan’s daughter side stage throughout the show, and I even caught him catching some moments of the crowd on his phone when he wasn’t drumming.
I truly felt connected to them, even though they had no clue who I was. That feeling grew even stronger as Dan took to running along the barricade and up throw the lower level and back around again during “On Top of the World.”
The show ended with one of the band’s lesser known songs “The Fall” along with a shower of confetti in autumn colors in the shapes of leaves.
If you go see Imagine Dragons, look through the confetti for overly large shiny orange leaves with a sticker on them, they can be redeemed for a signed album at the merch booth after the show.
Like I said at the beginning of this, I have spent the majority of this year seeing all kinds of big acts, but no one has truly made the impact on me that Imagine Dragons did.
This band put on an amazing show, with awesome lights and a flawless musical performance! They included heartfelt speeches that really touched my heart.
The best way to describe an Imagine Dragons concert is a complete spiritual and musical experience! It is one that I definitely suggest attending if you have the chance.