Imagine Dragons ends tour with free concert in Columbia

Trisha Chaudhary

Imagine Dragons gained fame from their hit “It’s Time,” on their album “Continued Silence EP.” The band released the EP on Valentines Day of 2012 and in the summer of this same year, they released another album, “Night Visions.” Since then, Imagine Dragons’ fan base has continued to grow all over the world. Photo by Patrick Smith
Arriving more than an hour early outside the University of Missouri – Columbia’s student center, my friends and I got to stand fairly close to the stage.
As the minutes inched closer to 9:30 (the time Imagine Dragons were supposed to start playing) the crowd grew into a rowdy mob, and we were never bored.
Giving first-time-concert-goers tips on how to get to the front, bonding with strangers over the pains of being short and singing along with the MU cheerleaders that lined the front of the stage filled the seemingly short wait.
Just when I was contemplating sitting down on the cold ground, Imagine Dragons jogged out on stage and dove into playing. An enormous cheer erupted from the audience, greeting the band. The band’s love for music was visible in the rocking and bouncing of their bodies, and they transferred some of their passion to the crowd. The band started with “Hear Me,” with the lead singer, Dan Reynolds, tossing his water bottle into the air and guitarist Wayne Sermon dancing around with his guitar.
Between songs, Reynolds stopped and commented about the weather, encouraging us to huddle and get to know our neighbors. He asked if we Missourians ever got craz,y and I was ready to show just how crazy I was – crazy for his music.
In addition to “Hear Me,” some of the songs Imagine Dragons played were “Amsterdam,” “Radioactive,” “Tiptoe,” “Demons,” “On Top of the World” and “Cha Ching.” With each song, as Reynolds ran, bounced, jumped and danced; he peeled off another layer of his clothes as he warmed up. Their misty breath was visible in the frosty air against the bright stage lights and their warmth seemed to seep into the audience. I found my frozen hands warming up and my body thawing from the cold.
Reynolds told us to forget about our jobs, school, grades and work and just live for the moment. So I did. And in that moment, I was happy. My eyes were closed; my chest was pounding with the beat, and I was happy. There’s a certain joy that comes from listening to good music, music that heals the soul. And that’s what Imagine Dragons did for me tonight.
By pounding their fists against their chests, toasting the crowd with water bottles, holding the microphone out to crowd to sing and by just talking to us, the band won over all of our hearts. I don’t understand why, but somehow, Reynolds’ voice sounded even better on stage than in the recording.There’s a finite difference between listening to Imagine Dragons at home or in the car and listening to them live. They’re more real, more concrete and, best of all, more inspirational.
“Brightness always comes through the dark at some point,” Reynolds told us after explaining how he dropped out of high school and talking about his darkest moments. We all left tonight knowing the band members a little better, thinking of them as friends and as real people.
During their performance of “On Top of the World” Reynolds challenged us, saying, “We’re all a family right? So I have a challenge. If someone’s crowd surfing don’t let them fall, and if they do fall, pick them back up again.”
The night was suddenly full of crowd surfers, bouncing over all of our heads, and somehow miraculously staying “afloat” throughout the whole song. All I could think about was how do they get up in the first place? It’s a valid question, right?
The crowd surfers continued to crop up throughout the rest of the band’s performance, even after “On Top of the World” ended. One of the surfers plummeted to the ground right next to me, jostling us all. I angrily helped her up, only to find that it was one of my friends from RBHS who had also come to the concert! The night was full of surprises, and just plain happiness. It was the perfect end to the week.
The band mellowed out the evening with a slower song called “Starlight.” Lighters and the soft, fuzzy glow of cell phones filled the night sky and the audience swayed with the beat. I could catch glimpses of Reynolds’ wistful face between the waving arms and I just closed my eyes and took in the beautiful music. His falsetto voice made me fall in love with Imagine Dragons over and over again.
“Can you feel the love?” Reynolds shouted to the audience. “I can. Is anybody here tonight with someone they love?”
As the crowd exploded into cheers, I looked around and realized I was. I wasn’t here with my boyfriend or my family, but I didn’t need to be. I was here with my friends and my music. And that’s all I needed.
By Trisha Chaudhary
Click here for a photo blog of the night.