Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium
Date: 7th January 2018
Promoter: Live Nation Singapore
Review by: Anna F.
Special Thanks: The Live Nation Singapore team
First things first: starting 2018 on a thunderous note with a band of such stature – I wouldn’t have it any other way. And having witnessed their tremendous live presence twice before, in 2015 and 2016 (the latter of which included some good ol’ face-melting pyro, by the way), I must admit I’ll never tire of their undeniable ability to transcend their studio mastery into such a splendid display of marvellous musicianship live.
Imagine Dragons had a whirlwind of a year in 2017, after releasing their third studio album Evolve. Just knowing how quickly “Thunder” blew up after it was first released as a single has me astounded. But it didn’t come without some strategic, rigorous pre album release-promo. In an interview with Billboard, the band explained how they actually set up meetings with Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, separately on the same day. It sure has paid off.
Currently on the Asian leg of the ‘Evolve World Tour’, the Grammy award-winning quartet, made up of vocalist Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, drummer Daniel Platzman, and touring musician and keyboardist Elliot Schwartzman, put forth empowering, and unflinching anthems, which were accompanied by carefully curated and impressively unique visuals. Believe me, I’ve tried to nitpick the technicalities, searching for any lapse in delivery, but I keep coming up short.
Both Sermon’s and McKee’s respective prowess shone through with clarity, as they each held their own during their deserved standout moments. And Platzman? Platzman was just a man, a man on a mission. And not forgetting the impassioned frontman, who wasn’t just on main vocal duties for the night, seeing that he churned out some sick stickwork too (I’m sure I saw five drummers on stage at one point). Everything went off without a hitch.
Reynolds very quickly stole the limelight with his boisterous stage presence and charming dance moves, if you can call them that. Smiling from the stage every now and then (while we were clapping, in the nosebleeds), you could tell that he was clearly filled with joie de vivre. And although Ben was performing with an injury, which he succumbed to when he took a nasty fall down the steps at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, they never once faltered. The four-piece treated their fans to a blazing setlist with evergreen signatures like “It’s Time”, “Demons”, and “On Top of the World”, along with their newer hits such as “Thunder”, “Whatever It Takes”, and “Believer”.
Using the platform they so rightfully earned to the fullest, Reynolds took some time to address the issue of mental health and society’s unfathomable stigmatisation of it. And it really didn’t come as a surprise, given how he has always been pretty open about his own struggles with depression. He talked about how he wouldn’t have turned to music if it wasn’t for what he was experiencing – now that can very aptly be described as seeing the beauty through the pain. “It doesn’t control me. It doesn’t make me weak. It just makes me who I am. So for any of you who feel some sort of emptiness constantly, some sort of depression or anxiety, reach out, talk to someone, speak to a therapist, speak to a friend. Don’t hold it in. Don’t keep it to yourself. And above all, know that you are loved, and that life, is always, always, worth living,” Reynolds emphasised.
Halfway through the set, they gracefully maneuvered their way through the crowd and to the b-stage, by walking along the sides of the standing pen, taking their time to acknowledge their fans along the way. We were then spoiled with acoustic renditions of “Bleeding Out”, “The Fall”, “Dream”, and “Amsterdam”. There, Sermon manned a cello, and McKee took charge of an upright bass, while Platzman wielded a viola, for a change. With Schwartzman on the keys, they took their talents to towering heights, and got more vulnerable with the audience. It was refreshing to say the least, and compared to their past two performances here, the segment very clearly embodies how as a band, they’re continuously evolving.
Their music, while grounded unmistakably in rock, has an alternative tint to it, and even though they may be using more synths and hook-ridden melodies, you can rest assured knowing that Imagine Dragons is no rickety pop machine well overdue for a servicing job. Always up for making changes, by no means should we be expecting the Vegas natives to step away from exploring the never-ending possibilities technology has afforded them – fit the box, fit the mould, they sure don’t.
Closing out the show with the perennial favourite, “Radioactive”, off of their debut studio album, Night Visions, the 90-minute spectacle culminated in a fury of confetti and smoke jets timed to precision, and concluded with them taking a final bow, before retreating backstage, leaving us wishing we could start over. Can we start over?
When everything, everything –
Everything you touch turns to gold.