Well, 2018, it’s time to begin isn’t it? And what better way to start the year with one heck of a rock concert?
Las Vegas rock band Imagine Dragons kicked the year’s concert schedule off in style with a pulsating gig at Shah Alam’s Stadium Malawati on Saturday night (Jan 6).
“It’s our first time in Malaysia, but we’ve had our eyes on you for quite some time,” said lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, claiming that the band kept seeing “Come to Malaysia” so many times on its social media feed that it made it a point to come here the first chance it got.
Comprising Reynolds, lead guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and drummer Daniel Platzman, the band certainly did not disappoint its fans at last weekend’s show, which was part of its Evolve World Tour.
The show began at 8.45pm with a somewhat bewildering video montage about how the planet Earth began, before the foursome strode out and kicked things off with the thumping I Don’t Know Why, from its latest album, Evolve.
The first singalong of the night came next, as Reynolds built the crowd up slowly to the mega hit It’s Time. From that pop rock stadium pleaser, the band switched gears quickly to the heavy rocker Gold, followed by the motormouth Whatever It Takes. Along with the bluesy Yesterday, the country tinged I Bet My Life, it was a testament of the band’s varied catalogue of hits, which made for a surprisingly diverse setlist.
There’s just something about the band’s songs that makes for a spectacular rock concert – full of soaring, fist-pumping, headbanging moments, and with enough raw energy to keep you going on and on till the end.
It was hard not to get swept up in the spectacle, and find yourself singing along with the catchy choruses even if you may not be familiar with the songs in the first place.
There was barely a dull moment throughout the show, thanks in part to some pretty slick production (The lighting technician was one of the MVPs of the night, especially during the stunning Believer), and a swaggering, self-assured performance by Reynolds.
The frontman commanded the stage immaculately, displaying plenty of passion and energy in his vocals while getting the crowd involved as much as possible (The way he whipped up the crowd to scream each and every “YESTERDAY!” on Yesterday was a joy to watch).
The most emotional moment of the night came when Reynolds spoke about being diagnosed with depression.
“I was diagnosed with depression … it’s part of who I am,” he said, before offering his support for others with the same condition. “I am here with you. I understand and I feel you. Life is always worth living.”
Cue the soaring, angsty Demons, with lines like, “Don’t get too close/It’s dark inside/It’s where my demons hide” evoking memories of the two rock stars we lost to depression last year: Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.
However, with the next songs – the hopeful Rise Up and the wildly happy On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons showed that there is always hope after the darkness, and cemented the band as a master of catchy, soaring stadium anthems.
A three song acoustic set then showed that the band’s music is more than just thumping drum beats.
Starting with the yearning Bleeding Out, with its violins and cello backing, there was a decidedly downbeat but heartfelt vibe to this segment of the show. Reynolds then gave fans the impossible choice of choosing between Amsterdam and I Bet My Life, but relented to do both in the end.
By then, the show was already winding up, but there was still enough time for some high-energy headbanging with Thunder, Believer and Walking The Wire, before the band ended with its biggest hit, Radioactive.
What an ending that was, too, condensing everything that was great about the show into one powerful, emotional stadium anthem that got everyone jumping, dancing, headbanging and screaming along.
As if the song itself wasn’t powerful enough on its own, the band even threw in a drawn-out drum segment involving all its members that kept your heart thumping and left you feeling right on top of the world long after the show ended.