PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “Philly, what a pleasure, what an honor, what a joy,” proclaimed Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds from the stage at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Thursday night.
“The world seems to be a divided place right now,” said Reynolds to the captivated crowd of sold out seats. “I see a people that are united, I see a people full of peace, full of love.”
The Las Vegas band is currently on their Evolve World Tour, on this night kicking off with singer K.Flay. The “Blood In The Cut” singer performed her brand of dark pop in black coveralls as the crowd filed into Wells Fargo.
Next up would be the commune-created Grouplove, perched between a set of inflatable teeth and exuding energy. Their stack of amps lined with flickering 70s game show lighting, the husband and wife duo of Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper bounced across a stage that could barely contain them. The band played The Fillmore in Philadelphia almost a year to the day, but found themselves “humbled” by the size of this South Philly arena.
“I love it. It’s bigger than Kung Fu Necktie,” joked Christian. “It’s definitely bigger than Kung Fu Necktie,” laughed Hannah.
After a performance of “Tongue Tied” that slid into a sampling of Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” the band loosely celebrated Christian’s birthday with a raging rendition of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Jumping from the drum platform and rolling around on stage together, nobody looks like they have more fun than Grouplove.
All this set the stage for arguably one of the biggest rock bands in America right now. Imagine Dragons are the sixth most listened to artist in the world on Spotify, they have notched two top five hits this year, and have snaked a sold out tour across the country. They’ve done it all with infectious tunes and honest positivity.
Singer Dan Reynolds was smiling and sweating through a v-neck t-shirt as he paced the catwalk. The stage was adorned with space-age neon triangles lit in front of a wall of bright lights. Thirty glowing LED panels hovered above to add to the spectacle. Brighter still was the music, and the message of Imagine Dragons.
Reynolds took time to talk about safety at shows, about living life with no regrets, and most strikingly about his own battle with depression. “It’s not something that makes you weak, in fact I think it makes you incredibly brave,” he said before playing the anthem “Demons.”
It’s worth noting that Imagine Dragons loves drums. Boy, do they love drums. To add to the thunder of drummer Daniel Platzman, Reynolds and company made use of several other floor toms scattered across the stage.
After cutting through the crowd for a small acoustic set on the other side of the Wells Fargo floor, the band returned to the main stage for one last burst including current ubiquitous earworms “Believer” and “Thunder.” Rather than stop for an encore, they pressed through with earlier arena-rattlers like “Radioactive.”
“We just want to play more songs for you,” Reynolds said slyly.
Imagine Dragons have indeed evolved, into a sincerely solid success story with the soundtrack to match.