When I last saw Imagine Dragons in concert, I was packed into a small club with about 500 other fans, pressed against the small stage, with frontman Dan Reynolds dripping sweat onto those of us in the first few rows. Fast forward just one year later, and now the band is easily selling out the 17,000 capacity SAP Center in San Jose (which even the Rolling Stones had trouble filling last year), and striking less successful music bands with envy (more on that later). With their performance Thursday night, it was fascinating seeing how they’ve built up a fan base, yet retained their modesty. At one point, during an ad lib, Dan became a bit self conscious about what he was saying, stopped himself, and confessed, “it’s because of you – you make me nervous…” Honesty and earnestness is rare in rock stars these days, but I have a feeling that it is something innate in this one, and will always stay with him. While photographing the first few songs at the start of their set, watching from a couple feet away, I saw Dan pause at one point and briefly stare out across the massive audience before him, and get choked up a little in the same way he did a year ago talking about the charity they were supporting for that small gig in San Francisco. These are definitely genuine guys, and it certainly comes through in their music and performance. Definitely one of the must see tours of the year, as I suspect they will get even bigger once they release their sophomore album.
“Tonight we’re doing something that means something…” Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds from the stage last night, commenting on the $10,000 raised for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, in conjunction with Brad Brooks as supporting band, KFOG, and Another Planet Entertainment, as well as The Independent, who played host to the amazing concert put on by the Las Vegas-based alternative band. Imagine Dragons, about to launch their first headlining concert series this Spring, put on an incredible performance to the sold out 500-capacity venue for this special one-off fundraiser. In stark contrast to the band’s explosive success over the past year, Dan and his group seem very humble and grounded; appreciative of their fans and career trajectory. Having had an opportunity to see them twice in as many months, I can say that they are one of the most exciting bands to see play live today, and I suspect that by the end of this year, they will be playing much, much bigger venues to huge crowds, as word spreads that they are a must-see band with fantastic music.
As noted yesterday, Not So Silent Night (NSSN) is Live 105’s “Annual Holiday Rock Show”, with 2012 being the first year it spans two consecutive nights. This second night featured headliner The Killers, along with M83, Passion Pit, Tegan and Sara, GROUPLOVE, and Imagine Dragons. Again, I was very, very impressed at how extremely well managed this multi-artist event was on both nights. Oracle Arena again served as host to six amazing acts in about seven hours time, with very brief breaks in-between. I found the two night show to be such a great event to attend, to have an opportunity to see so many great bands back to back, with a stellar closing set by The Killers.