“I come from a place I’m very proud of, Las Vegas. But lately I’ve become tired of the USA,” Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds confesses before singing “I Don’t Know Why”, as a tribute to the recent victims of the Florida school shooting.
“How many schools, children until things change?” he asks later. “This is the only place of refuge for me. I am so bummed out”.
While he asks to leave politics at the door, there are still some references to social issues – but in more of an uplifting way. Recently he has been advocating for LGBT rights in the Mormon church (and is involved in the documentary, Believer, on the same subject) which the band touchingly pays tribute to with an LGBT rainbow flag that Reynolds waves then places on his shoulders for “It’s Time”.
The whole show has a rather preachy feel to it – from the initial speech peppered with phrases like “be present with me” and “share your heart”, intermittent song speeches (from talking openly about depression to writing love songs) and the handful of times he’s down on his knees, with arms outstretched and head bowed to the floor as if to pray.
Their over-the-top set where a huge barrage of confetti falls after the first song (followed by huge balloons, and later, more confetti) is surely a crowd-pleasing way to do things, but ultimately, it becomes rather repetitive.
The highlight is undeniably in the later half. The band appear on the small stage at the other end of the arena to play a pared-down version of “Warriors” that bleeds right on into a similar take on “Sucker For Pain”. It’s beautiful, heartfelt and quite haunting.
It’s a full-on real “performance” in all senses of the word, where Reynolds is constantly swinging himself around the stage for the entire two hours (and some 21 or so songs). And in doing so, they also manage to tackle important issues of sexuality and depression to help young people. It’s an impressive combination.