Around three years ago Imagine Dragons played their first ever show in Manchester, a 375 capacity venue in the heart of the city. They’ve progressed immensely to playing some of the larger venues our country has to offer, finally reaching this wholly deserved arena headlining tour in support of their latest release ‘Smoke + Mirrors’.
‘Shots’ with its light guitar tones and potent drum beats creates a dancing mood from the get-go. Before the band go into ‘It’s Time’ a few fans on the barrier hold up signs saying “Look How Far You’ve Come” which completely takes the band by surprise and resulted in the most heart-warming speech from frontman Dan Reynolds claiming “We’ve got the best fans in the world, I know a lot of bands say that, I’ll take it to the grave. We don’t take it for granted!”
A quick emotive acapella of Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’ leaves the crowd swaying and singing to their hearts content to a song everyone will know and flows right into latest single ‘Roots’ which includes rather jazzy piano notes, intertwined with some seriously infectious electronic beats to continue the dancing mood. ‘I’m So Sorry’ starts with one of the most demonically operatic guitar solos from Wayne Sermon, before unleashing the riff heavy track amongst the masses during which Reynolds completely commands the runway, of which he spends most of the show, among the crowd.
Halfway through the set, Reynolds pauses for a brief second and takes a serious note to talk about their next track, ‘I Was Me’ which was created as a charity single for the refugee crisis. “Politically, whatever side we’re on, we all believe in people not starving and people having a home.” He urged fans to do whatever they can to help refugees, stating that a lot of them are just small kids, even buying the single as some of the proceeds will be donated to the UN Refugee Agency.
The electronically experimental start to ‘Gold’ proves just what Imagine Dragons are capable of. Immensely overpowering choruses and rhythmic inspiring instrumentals that demonstrate why they belong on stages this big. The hauntingly pretty ‘Demons’, one of the most moving tracks, captures the emotion of the crowd and has Manchester Arena lit up with hundreds of phone lights.
With only a drum solo from Daniel Platzman separating the total contrast between lowest of lows in ‘Demons’ and highest of highs in ‘On Top Of The World’. The frontman takes a quick trip into the seating sections of the crowd and it seems nothing can take away the ecstatic reaction this band have to just being able to play in front of this many people.
Hit single ‘Radioactive’ proves to be the definitive track, radiating pure undoubted energy and emotion from the entire arena. Doing what the band do best, joining slick and attractive pop and rock music in its highest form.
All photos by Kelly Hamilton.