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Imagine Dragons: Evolve World Tour 2017 @ Usana

Allie Harvey, Staff Writer

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When little sixth grade Allie Harvey found Imagine Dragons, I had no idea that years later I would be able to experience the songs I was listening to then, live. I somehow managed to grab tickets a week and a half before the concert, and spent said week and a half in a surreal trance. My pal Ash and I showed up an hour early with our big blankets and several layers of hoodies, because anyone who was at that concert can testify that it was frigid.

 

Imagine Dragons really took off around 2012, when their album Night Visions sold 83,000 copies within the first week of release, and its been attributed to their meaningful lyrics and unique sound. Imagine Dragons offers a realistic view of living with mental illness, overcoming self doubt, and helps destigmatize mental disorders. Night Visions contains some of their most popular songs including “It’s Time”, “Demons”, “Radioactive”,  “On Top of the World” and “Bleeding Out” . The band shares their experiences in love by creating music that everyone can enjoy. Their sophomore album Smoke + Mirrors was released in 2015 and brought along classics like “I Bet My Life” and “Shots”. Themes of hopelessness line the majority of the album. Imagine Dragons went on a very short hiatus after completing their Smoke + Mirrors World Tour that lasted until the end of 2016. On February 1st 2017 they released their top charting song, “Believer” and soon after announced their Evolve World Tour. Evolve is a lighter album that radiates hope and emits a very anthemic theme.

 

For their Evolve World Tour, they decided to tour with K. Flay and Grouplove, which proved to provide a variety of different musical sounds. In all honesty, I unfortunately wasn’t able to see K. Flay perform because I was waiting in line for a cold, overpriced chicken sandwich, but she sounded really good from where I was. Grouplove of course was very lively and odd. They sang their most popular song “Tongue Tied” and sang “Welcome To Your Life” from their newest album, Big Mess. Along with these, they played “Good Morning” and “Ways to Go”. Their twangy songs are definitely earworms, and have genuine character to them, even if they sound a little off at times.

 

When the time for Imagine Dragons came, they played ominous videos about evolution with a stereotypical science movie voiceover, which proved very effective in hyping the audience up. After lots of flashing lights and an overwhelming garb of noise, Imagine Dragons was on stage and started playing “I Don’t Know Why”, one of my personal favorites from the Evolve album. I was blown away by the quality of their songs live, and am genuinely appreciate Dan for not morphing his voice in his songs. One of the best things about seeing music live is being able to feel the music all around you. Imagine Dragons had an amazing stage presence and knew how to keep the audience captivated. They were absolutely breathtaking live, and have created a community through words that engage their listeners.

 

They made their live versions sound superior to their studio versions of songs, and it takes immense talent to do so. Around halfway through the concert, they came out to the crowd and started doing more acoustic versions of their songs. Dan made a tribute to Tom Petty singing Pearl Jam’s “I Won’t Back Down”. Imagine Dragons performed one of their slower songs, “Dream” and played a painstakingly slow rendition of “Bleeding Out”. After thanking the people who got him where he was, and thanking audience members, our attention was turned to the stage where the entire set for “Thunder” was completely set up, an exact replica of the cover was on the stage, and it looked amazing.

 

When they started playing the intro to “Radioactive” the majority of the audience started singing prematurely and Dan had a laugh before he broke into the first line. One of the best moments of the concert was when we all sang “I’m breathing in the chemicals” and thousands of people exaggeratedly took a deep breath in and violently let it out. I’m sure that  people out in the parking lot heard the entire audience do so, and it makes the entire situation ten times more hilarious.  

 

Dan Reynolds had several speeches throughout the night, but the three that stuck out the most were the speeches he made before “It’s Time”, “Demons”, and “Walking The Wire”

 

“I know Utah as a people who are accepting, as a people who are kind, as a people who are always down for a party. I’ve gotta say, this last month has been heavy for so many reasons. My hometown of Las Vegas has been devastated. So uh, this tour has taken on a whole new meaning. You know, we gather together, in this place, full of people from all over the world, from different cultures, different colors, different sexual orientations, different religions, different political values, different classes; And the reason that I love music, is because it shows us that none of that matters, none of us should separate because of those things. I’m tired of living in a state of divide. I’m tired of it! It’s not the USA that I know. May we listen continually, with kindness, to those who are hurt, to those who may protest, to those who need a listening ear. May we continue to listen with love. Above all, may we just listen. Thank you for being here tonight, and for being a part of music, and peace, and love, and acceptance. That’s the Utah that I know.”

 

“If you have depression, don’t hide it. There’s no weakness in talking to somebody, I’m talking to a therapist. There’s true beauty in that. My greatest conversations in life, my greatest learning, has been sitting down and talking to a therapist. There’s no harm in saying that. Don’t be afraid of those words, and if you or anyone you know is struggling, please reach out. Please. It can be your greatest asset. I would have never ever turned to music if it wasn’t for depression. It brought me to my knees, it brought me to a place of extreme discomfort and it turned me to music. Through music, I found peace. Through music I found so much refuge and solace. And so, the truth is, if it weren’t for depression, I wouldn’t be standing on this stage today. I’m not exactly thankful for it, but it’s part of who I am and I accept it, and every day I choose to be the greatest version of myself. I hope that all of you never shy away from speaking out. We live in a culture of way too much perfection, people posting on instagram their great moments, the great pictures, the great things; and that’s great. But we also have our things that we’re struggling with, and those are probably the most important things to share.”

 

“We’ve worked so hard to achieve equality, please, let’s continue. I just want to say before the night is over that one of the most incredible, actually I would say this; THE most incredible day of my entire life, the most meaningful day of my life to date was here in Utah playing LoveLoud Festival. You came, and you showed our lgbtq youth that you love them! May we continue to show them our love, our support, our acceptance. They need it. They need us, they need us, they need us. We love you, and we’ll see you again soon.”

 

The love and unity that filled everyone’s heart  was so overwhelming, and made it so much easier to ignore the freezing temperatures that night. Everyone comes together for something they love, and it’s beautiful. Imagine Dragons offers an authentic experience to anybody who has the opportunity to see them live. Their music is genuine, truthful, and blunt. They are a beacon to so many people and deserve high recognition.  Imagine Dragons breaks traditional themes of life and love in their albums, and all of their songs contain a different tempo and music genre, only being tied together by the very unique cadence of Dan Reynolds.

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Imagine Dragons: Evolve World Tour 2017 @ Usana