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While there was no lightning on Thursday, thunder erupted inside the Belasco Theater as Imagine Dragons took the stage for an intimate concert with L.A. fans.
The show was first in a four-part virtual reality concert series hosted by Citi, Live Nation and NextVR, and was recorded in VR for fans to enjoy at home.
As the lights dimmed to glimmers of blues, violets and pinks, drummer Daniel Platzman, guitarist Wayne Sermon and bassist Ben McKee appeared. After several booming drum beats, lead singer Dan Reynolds finally appeared to perform the first song of the night, “Thunder.”
Heavy drum beats, electrifying guitar melodies and roaring applause filled the venue as the indie rock band played popular songs throughout its discography. Following “Gold,” Reynolds took a quick break from the music to share an appreciation story about Sermon, whose birthday was on the same night.
“He was born to be a musician,” Reynolds said before resuming with a lively performance of the band’s all-time hit “It’s Time.”
With fan favorites such as “It’s Time,” “Amsterdam,” and “Hear Me,” fans throughout the venue chanted and sang along to every chorus with Imagine Dragons.
A spectrum of colors filled the stage for each song, seemingly resonating with Imagine Dragons’ concept for its upcoming album Evolve. While the band didn’t perform its newest song “Walking the Wire” — which was released the same day — it did play two other songs from the highly anticipated project: “Whatever It Takes” and “Believer.”
Slowing down the pace of the night halfway through the set, Reynolds sang part of “Bleeding Out” as an interlude before leading fans to an emotional rendition of “Demons.”
The band continued to fluctuate between electrifying and emotional songs, keeping fans engaged while also giving them small breaks in between Platzman’s thunderous drumbeats and Reynolds’ habit of belting out every final chorus.
In the final four songs of the night, Imagine Dragons kept fans on their toes by tricking them into thinking the show was over. Perhaps an intentional move to surprise and excite the audience, the trick caused some members in the audience to exit the venue prematurely before the set even ended.
Reynolds thanked fans for their commitment and loyalty over the past eight years and spoke about the band’s upcoming album.
“[Going back home] gave me perspective to look back on everything that’s happened,” Reynolds said. “I’m overwhelmed with appreciation.”
Fans cheered and sang along to the upbeat tune “I Bet My Life” before the entire band left the stage for a couple minutes. Then, Platzman returned to deliver a deafening, yet impressive solo as a prelude to “On Top of the World.”
What could have been a positive ending to the show ended up becoming the build-up to a dramatic, jolting finish to Imagine Dragons’ concert. Multi-colored lights flashed across the stage as the band passionately carried through a captivating performance of “Believer,” the lead single off Evolve.
After a moment of darkness, the show finally came to an end with what was arguably the best performance of the night. A stream of green lights permeated across the stage as Imagine Dragons delivered an extra rock-and-roll rendition of “Radioactive.” The band rocked the night away with a two-minute instrumental segment that pulsated throughout the venue even after the lights dimmed.
While the show only lasted about 90 minutes, Imagine Dragons filled the time with a well-balanced setlist that captivated fans and casual listeners. Reynolds, McKee, Sermon and Platzman all had their own shining moments — something often rare among bands with only one leading vocalist. Moments like Reynolds banging on Platzman’s cymbals or Sermon and Platzman strumming melodies together made the band’s chemistry come to life on stage.
Though it would have perhaps been a more strategic move to preview some of their upcoming songs, Imagine Dragons nonetheless owned the night with passionate deliveries and great fan interaction.