When you take a band that's been to the Cities four times -- the first just down the road from TCF Stadium at the Varsity in March 2013 -- and has consecutively sold out each venue they've visited, it must mean that their live show is spectacular, right? Not always.
For those lucky enough to score a spot at the free show set up as part of MLB All-Star Week, there was a perfect backdrop with a summer evening ushered in by a cool breeze. The night was carefree, and the band had just flown in that morning from a show in Scotland. It was fortunate that TCF Stadium has recently allowed beer sales, for the liquor loosened up the 27,000 fans enough to get out of their seats. See also: Slideshows: Imagine Dragons and Atmosphere rock TCF Bank Stadium; All-Star Fans Rock Out with Imagine Dragons and Atmosphere[jump]
Since the show was free, fans who weren't as familiar with the band's catalog spent a lot of their time during pieces like the opener "Fallen" and "Tiptoe" drunkenly chatting away. It wasn't until the fourth song in that the crowd -- and the band -- found itself falling into their groove. As soon as the syncopated rhythm to "It's Time" hit, conversation was put aside to cheer and sing along. "It's Time" was written as a battle cry, especially with its line "The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell" that most likely mirrors the time Imagine Dragons have had to put in before they even had a break.
That gratitude was often noted on lead singer Dan Reynolds's face when the camera closed in to reveal his goofy grin, as if to say, "I can't believe that I am here singing in front of thousands of people." The band doesn't write love songs, more like pieces that have an epic quality to them that encompass life and the amazement that comes through each day, bringing about their addition to the new Transformers movie with the aptly named "Battle Cry." A welcome change to their epic tunes came with their cover of U2's love song "With or Without You." Reynolds was able to stretch his vocals on the track, displaying his talent with his arms outstretched to the crowd.
The rest of the night fell into lulls and peaks as the evening wore on -- with more lulls than peaks when their tracks "On Top of the World" and "Who We Are" failed to elicit energy from the audience. "Radioactive" as the last song of the evening was exactly what was needed to bring the night out of its funk. The band began the piece with their signature drum sequence, trading percussion among the members before segueing into the felt-to-your-core-heart-pounding piece. [page]
Perhaps it's that Imagine Dragons haven't come out with a new album since they began their whirlwind touring, but Saturday night's show at TCF Stadium to celebrate MLB's All-Star Game seemed a little played-out and bland. While there were a few high points, the music was almost eclipsed by the fireworks that closed out the night, drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd. Critic's bias: Mass appeal can lead to mass criticism with bands that hit a certain peak, but I've always enjoyed Imagine Dragons' music. Each track on their hit album Night Visions varies -- in a good way. There just seemed to be something missing from Saturday night's show. I'm anticipating what is next for the band.
The crowd: There were plenty of bros and college kids in the crowd and many more outside the gates who weren't able to get tickets.
Overheard in the crowd: [In reference to the cheesy graphics used on the monitors] "These graphics look like there were made on PowerPoint."
Random notebook dump: I was only able to catch Atmosphere's last song, but it seemed like they were able to get the crowd more pumped than Imagine Dragons did. Random notebook dump two: When there's a lot of bros at a show, you always run the risk of someone urinating along a building on the walk back to your car.
Fallen Tiptoe Hear Me It's Time Nothing Left to Say The River Battle Cry Amsterdam With or Without You (U2 cover) 30 Lives Demons On Top of the World Who We Are Radioactive
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