Imagine Dragons were quite the busy bees in 2013. On top of owning the radio charts, the band successfully handled their first headlining tour, graced the cover of Music Connection, performed and took home a trophy from the AMAs and built a new studio in their hometown of Las Vegas—they basically became unstoppable. Returning to Las Vegas to celebrate such a successful year, Dan Reynolds, Wayne Sermon and company sold out Hard Rock's 4,000-cap venue, the Joint on Dec. 30th.
Like he's done all year, Reynolds switched off between percussion and vocals, ensuring great pace from song to song. When he wasn't thrusting into each bass note, the frontman was handling the crowd, letting them sing every lyric as if each fan were a close friend.
Between every three or four songs, Reynolds took a moment to thank the crowd, explaining how Imagine Dragons began as a cover band in the Las Vegas strip, and how the group would be nothing without such a tried-and-true fan base. Such an introduction could only be followed by a cover of U2's "With or Without You."
Wayne "Wing" Sermon blasted through each song, making stage-right his home for most of the set. The axeman carried melody well, everything from clean plucks to dirty blues guitar solos.
Drummer Daniel Platzman was nothing short of extraordinary. Not only were his beats tight, but he carried quite the vocal harmony to support various tracks throughout the performance. On top of that, Platzman spent a few songs away from his throne, escorting Reynolds through percussive break downs to both start and end the performance.
Though we were unable to get any shots of it, the band allowed what looked like two-dozen Elvis impersonators on stage to rock out the back-end of the set. While it was comical, it really shed light on what exactly Imagine Dragons had to overcome to be where they are today. Unlike most cities where you have one or two shows to compete with, building a name out of Vegas means going against 30-40 top-tier shows every day. And just as Reynolds had mentioned in his sit-down with MC, the band worked 8 hours a day on their craft, making sure that if anyone came to an Imagine Dragons show, they would not be disappointed.
Once the show came to a close and all early birds hit the hay, Dan Reynolds decided it was time to hit the nightclub scene. The rocker turned EDM/hip-hop/dance party DJ for over an hour at the Hard Rock's Body English club. With the crowd waving glow sticks and dancers bobbing to every move Reynolds made, the frontman seemed to be giving insight on how to succeed in such a town—know your way around multiple genres, and never sleep. While he didn't do anything spectacular on the club stage, the vibe definitely died down as soon as he left.
For additional show dates at the Joint, visit https://www.hardrockhotel.com/las-vegas-concerts/the-joint.
To reserve a room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, visit https://www.hardrockhotel.com.
For Music Connection's cover story featuring Imagine Dragons, visit http://www.musicconnection.com/imagine-dragons-discuss-success
Photos by Erik Kabik
Words by Andy Mesecher