Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA

Grammy award-winning Imagine Dragons call Las Vegas home. Music Connection caught up with the top arena alternative rock band on Nov. 16 as the band was wrapping up the North American leg of their headlining ‘Evolve’ World Tour in Anaheim, CA at the Honda Center. The tour shares the same title as their third studio album, Evolve, that was released back in June, via KIDinaKORNER and Interscope Records.

In front of an exuberant capacity crowd, frontman Dan Reynolds and company appeared on a smoke-filled stage bathed in laser lights amid impressive moving video screens. The quartet set a dramatic tone from the onset, as they opened with the synth-driven, “I Don’t Know Why” the lead track off Evolve. Imagine Dragons’ then transitioned into the critically-acclaimed sing-along melodic rocker, “It’s Time,” off their 2012 award-winning debut album, Night Visions.

DanReynoldsDoNotFearHondaCenter11:16:17Positioned between the first and second songs was one of the night’s most memorable moments. Addressing the recent senseless tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest festival in his hometown of Las Vegas, Reynolds bared his heart to the crowd and delivered a message of unity and peace. “We come here to celebrate love and music. No one will ever stop us from gathering, and no one will ever put fear in our hearts.” The message was enhanced by the emergence of a sign passed up to Reynolds with the boldly written words, “DO NOT FEAR” which he victoriously displayed while standing at the end of the catwalk. It was a touching tribute that left the audience feeling empowered and united.

Against this background, Reynolds doesn’t let being in an arena stop him from connecting with the audience. Whether he’s telling personal stories, running, jumping, waving, or on his knees in front of the crowd, Reynolds utilizes the entire stage. Spending a lot of time on the catwalk, he can stay up close and personal with his fans, focusing their attention on what is happening right in front of them.

One of the contributing factors to the group's success is Reynolds’ ability to create anthemic choruses wonderfully crafted within powerful verses for an emotionally resonant effect. Two dynamic songs on the night’s setlist that showcased this talent were “Shots,” and “I Bet My Life.”

In the final stretch, Reynolds declared, “We love you Anaheim! We will be here time and time and time again, as long as you will have us!” The band then executed Evolve’s massive lead single, “Believer” (which received an overwhelming thunderous response). As the band closed out the powerhouse performance, the bittersweet moment everyone had been anxiously waiting for had finally arrived — the performance of Imagine Dragons’ most prominent hit of all time, “Radioactive.”

When you combine the music with their live performance, it’s no surprise Imagine Dragons play arenas on a nightly basis. They managed to make a venue full of tens of thousands of people feel like an intimate show; bringing emotion, personal stories, and never-ending energy. The stadium rulers delighted fans with their heavy-hitting drums, soaring vocals, and a coordinated display of color and lights that exuded from towering screens that danced in sync with the music.

To the delight of everyone in attendance, the dynamic two-hour set included a balance of all three of their albums; the thousands-strong intergenerational crowd remained on their feet, passionately belting out the heartfelt lyrics.

Exiting the stage to deafening applause, Imagine Dragons left behind an invigorating and uplifting performance, not soon forgotten. It’ll be exciting to see what the band has in store for the future. One thing you can be sure of; millions will be listening.

The Evolve World Tour, produced by Live Nation, started in September 2017 and was supported with the Los Angeles based Grouplove, and the Chicago born, San Francisco Bay area transplant, K.Flay.

Imagine Dragons will hit the road again in early 2018 as a continuation of the ‘Evolve’ World Tour. The trek will take them around the globe through late April, with events in Asia, South America and Europe. The band has teased plans to tour Australia again in 2018, with possible dates in May. The band has not toured Australia since 2015. To see more dates and purchase tickets, visit Imagine Dragons’ official website.

Check out our photos from Imagine Dragons' performance in Anaheim at the Honda Center.

Text and photos by Joshua Weesner