Live Review: Imagine Dragons at Philips Arena in Atlanta July 14

Las Vegas-based Imagine Dragons are a fairly new rock band.  It’s unlikely that anyone reading this now would have heard the group’s name just five years ago.  And yet in that short time, the band has risen to the top, going from playing small clubs to mid-sized venues like Atlanta’s The Tabernacle, to selling out giant sports arenas.  They are currently on a world tour promoting their latest album, Smoke + Mirrors. Imagine Dragons performed for a nearly sold-out crowd at Philips Arena in Downtown Atlanta last Tuesday, July 14.  When the lights in the arena went down, the fans were ready for what was sure to be an unforgettable concert experience.  The white curtain surrounding the diamond-shaped stage was illuminated from behind and became filled with the silhouettes of the five band members, filling the crowd with an even greater anticipation of what was to come.  The curtain fell, the fans cheered, and the show began with the opening track from their new album, “Shots.” Lead singer Dan Reynolds wasted no time jumping out onto the platform that extended beyond the stage out into the audience.  This arrangement allowed many fans to be much closer to Reynolds and made for some interesting and unique photos of the singer.

After the second song in the set, the band took a brief rest from playing while Reynolds spoke to the Atlanta crowd, thanking them for being there and reminding them that without Atlanta, Imagine Dragons would not be the band they are today, as drummer Daniel Platzman is an Atlanta native.  Reynolds recounted tales of eating at famous Atlanta institutions such as The Flying Biscuit and Waffle House, and Waffle House went on to be mentioned more than once throughout the show. Not only was the Philips Arena show special for the band because it was located in Atlanta, but July 14 was Reynold’s birthday. Once again he thanked the crowd for being there to share the special day with him.  Though the band had been on the road on this day every year for several years, Reynolds felt this show in Atlanta was one of the most special to him. Entertaining as Reynolds’ stories were, fans came to see the band perform, and Reynolds sang the chorus to “It’s Time” before guitarist Daniel Sermon picked up the mandolin to lead the rest of the band into the song.

The set continued with a juxtaposition of the band’s slower and melodic songs with their harder and louder rock songs.  After performing the popular single “Demons,” several drums were rolled out onto the stage, and every member of the band had drumsticks or a mallet in their hands as they performed a very rock ‘n’ roll intro to “On Top of the World,” significantly altering the way the track appears on its album Night Visions. Toward the end of the song, Reynolds hopped off the stage and walked all the way around the arena floor while repeatedly singing the chorus, briefly stopping to high-five audience members along the way.  Of course security was present to follow Reynolds around the floor, but were not necessary as fans remained respectful and allowed the singer to make his way back to the stage.

Since this was an arena show, it was complemented by a stunning array of visuals that included video backdrops, colorful stage lighting, smoke, and even lasers.  All of these elements came together for the final song of the set. Fans were no doubt eager to see the band perform one of their most popular hits, “Radioactive.”  As with “On Top of the World,” drums played a heavy part in the performance of this track, with nearly every member once again taking up a percussion instrument (touring keyboardist William Wells being the exception this time) for the last minute and a half of the song.  The incredible and energetic performance had the crowd on their feet and left them begging for more.  Naturally, no rock show is complete without an encore, so the band returned to the stage to perform one final song, “The Fall.”

This group of hard-working and talented musicians have come a long way in the few years since they formed Imagine Dragons, and the fact they continue to sell out arenas like Philips certainly is evidence of this.  The Smoke + Mirrors World Tour continues through February of next year, although for the most part US dates end in September. Check the full tour schedule here.


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