Re-Imagine Dragons: The new face of pop or over-hyped rock band?

Tahlia Zangari got to check out Imagine Dragons live in concert, and was surprised with the experience she had. 

Imagine Dragons’ third studio album, Evolve, was nominated for two Grammy awards this year, so it was fair to say that expectations where exceedingly-high for this concert. After attending concerts of bands that have been over-hyped and being disappointed (throwback to the Fall Out Boy concert in March 2018), I tried to ignore how big Imagine Dragons is and keep my expectations – as Flo Rida once said – low. However, after walking out of the concert, it's fair to say that I was surprised with how the night turned out.

Re-imagining pop

If you look up Imagine Dragons on the Internet, the band is usually classified as rock or alternative. However, its music breaks down the walls between genres as the talent incorporates elements of EDM and R ‘n’ B with classic rock. Regardless of what style of music the band pursues, Imagine Dragons has become one of the fresh faces of pop music. Imagine Dragons showcased to the audience that there is no simple equation to making and selling popular music. Throughout the night, the band journeyed from rock to pop and then to meaningful acoustic performances seamlessly. Imagine Dragons makes one thing clear; artists do not have to be limited to a singular sound to gain a fan base.

Music that you can feel in your bones

Since the band's first album, Night Visions, dropped in 2012, Imagine Dragons has had major success with songs that have dominated the charts globally. The amazing thing about the setlist was that a lot of the songs performed were hits in their own ways, on the radio or in pop culture. Even if you weren’t the biggest Imagine Dragons fan, there was bound to be a bunch of songs that you recognised. Whether you’ve heard the song Thunder on the advertisement promoting the Australian cricket earlier this year, or Believer on an episode of Riverdale, there was a song that would get you hyped up to be witnessing the glory of Imagine Dragons. People of all ages could appreciate the amazing production and thrilling performances featured in the concert. Songs like On Top of the World had every single person in the arena on their feet and jamming out. The biggest highlight of the night was the closing performance of Radioactive, which was six-minutes-long and had the band members hitting large drums, that vibrated along with the arena lights to put on a spectacular strobe-light display.

Everything was fun and the concert was awesome… then the next minute, the band’s lead singer Dan Reynolds, went into the crowd. And let me tell you that no one was prepared for this. The crowd went from cheering and enjoying the cool lights for the song Yesterday, to losing their minds and getting their phones out to Snapchat the time when Dan Reynolds came within their proximity. Reynolds was extremely down to Earth, giving his fans hi-fives and patting them on the head, just… cause.

More than just a band

This concert was more than just a band performing its hits. It had a deeper underlying message. The first time this occurred was when the band took a moment to acknowledge the shooting that occurred recently in Texas. Dan Reynolds spoke briefly about how enough was enough and it was time to end gun violence. The band then performed a touching cover of the song Forever Young. *Cue the audience turning on their phone torches and swinging in an uncoordinated manner. *

The night then shifted from a standard rock concert to a platform for Reynolds to discuss hard-hitting topics facing the world right now. One of these being the topic of mental health awareness. “You are not broken,” Reynolds told the crowd, who showed their support by cheering on his words. He encouraged his fans to seek help in their friends, family or a mental health professional. Reynolds also spoke about how he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. He went on to say that that nearly half the audience in Qudos Bank Arena that night was most likely going through the same thing or yet to be diagnosed. It’s a sad thought, but Reynolds did not want the audience to feel helpless. He shared the one thing that saved him; music. Reynolds wanted the audience to live in the moment and share in his salvation of music. He told the crowd that time was a man-made construct which made me feel slightly guilty for briefly checking my phone for the time.

I was not expecting to be blown away by this concert. I expected it to be your typical rock band concert with little crowd engagement, and two-hours of strobe lights and loud music. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Imagine Dragons is the authentic and modern band that the world needs. The artists are breaking down barriers with their music and with their fans. Imagine Dragons truly is so much more than just a band.  

Tahlia Zangari is a second-year Public Communications student who is crazy about music and broke from all the concerts she attends… please send her money. You can check out the full Imagine Dragons setlist on her Spotify