Imagine Dragons at the O2 Arena
Imagine Dragons’ world tour reaches London with a double date at the O2 Arena. The Las Vegas four-piece are in Greenwich to promote their sophomore album Smoke + Mirrors.
There’s extensive literature about the difficulty and importance of the second record in a band’s career, with contrasting schools of thought claiming that the third is actually the most arduous. If tonight’s concert served as a maturity test, Imagine Dragons would have only just passed.
Opening for the headliners are British/Australian rockers Sunset Sons, who thrill the crowd with their retro surfing-inspired anthems. If it weren’t for the toned-down lights, they would fit very well as the headlining act. Rory Williams’s powerful voice – especially in the brilliant Medicine – is one of a true star and the public’s response to Remember suggests that soon the spotlight will be on them.
Under bright white lights, Imagine Dragons’ show begins with Shots, one of the fan favourites. Dan Reynolds’ trademark dance moves as he sings, mic firmly in hand, find the perfect mise en scène in this song. The classic stratagem of keeping the hits for last is clearly disregarded as the massive sound of percussion from It’s Time pervades the arena.
It’s been just three years since Imagine Dragons surfaced at a London stage for the first time at the Dingwalls, but it feels like a decade by the size of the venue they are now playing. They are still passionate but definitely less inspired, knocked off the course traced by their brilliant debut, Night Vision. What used to be a creative band – with potentially ten singles in their first album – is now a bit dull. There are way too many sounds played with backing tracks and, with two multi-million-selling records in their discography and 15,000 paying fans, 15 songs is just not enough. Reynolds is nevertheless a great frontman: he owns his stage presence and his affectionate interaction with the first few rows is real. In a moving moment, he invites two hardcore fans up on stage, who met and started a relationship thanks to the band (apparently it’s the third time the couple have achieved that feat). The highlights are certainly the massive singalongs during Demons, I Bet My Life and Radioactive, which will satisfy most of the newcomers, but there are many key songs demanded by fans that deserved to be played but didn’t make it to the setlist.
Imagine Dragons have succeeded in becoming bigger, but unfortunately at the expense of their original spark.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
For further information about Imagine Dragons and future events visit here.