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.
2012 was an amazing year for both new music and live concert events, and although writing this “year in review” proved to be a monumental task, it was fun for me to do it to relive some special moments and appreciate the opportunities I had over the past 12 months to find new music and attend so many awesome live shows. It’s funny because many concerts and tours are announced with little notice, so at the start of any given year, you don’t really know what to expect, and 2012 definitely held a lot of surprises. When all was said and done, I ended up going to 58 concerts in 2012, each of which featured anywhere from one to seven artists, so that is a lot of live performances.