Imagine Dragons – Qudos Bank Arena

Imagine Dragons – Qudos Bank Arena

Written by Veronica Paulus

Photos by Mikki Gomez

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After having impressively toured for a year round in order to promote their latest chart-topping album, EVOLVE, Imagine Dragons touched down in Sydney last Saturday to make their Australian rounds before embarking on yet another year of frenzied shows around the globe.

Summoning forth a swarming congregation of all ages at the Qudos Bank Arena, the much-loved and internationally acclaimed The Temper Trapwere invited as guest performers to kick things off. Despite being opening acts, The Temper Trapgave a performance that exuded incredible ease, with an emotionally charged aura to match—combine that with mind-blowingly extraordinary live vocals, and it’s easy to see that they could very well sell out arenas of their own.

As soon as the clock tolled half past eight, like practiced clockwork, the arena was plunged into darkness as the screens on stage began flickering to life, displaying a visual prelude that very aptly set the thematic mood and progression of the night’s show. Visions of a hauntingly compelling narrative filled the arena, as hushed voices detailing the start of the universe and life—the journey of time itself—intermittently flashed on the screen before culminating into a single superimposed word in bold—EVOLVE.

Ascending onto stage in a cloud of smoke and mystery, Imagine Dragons, much to the crowd’s cheering and screaming, immediately launched into a gritty performance of I Don’t Know Why, with frontman Dan Reynolds enthusiastically surrendering himself to the energy of the night.

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Proving their true worth as global performers, Imagine Dragons, as if flipping a switch, went on to smoothly segue into an acoustic rendition of Believer, with Reynolds humbly kneeling on stage in a show of humility—before once again, seamlessly transitioning into an explosion of strength and vigor as the band progressed into the song’s chorus in a shower of lights and smoke, that of which only served to heighten the buzz and energy of the arena.

Taking a heartfelt moment to address the crowd for the first time, Reynolds declared that the night was a safe place—for the night, we could forget about any and all prejudice that existed within the world—to only consider the night as one filled with peace and love. As the crowd cheered and whistled, Reynolds took another moment to compose himself before performing a deeply profound cover of YOUTH GROUP’sForever Young, in light and tribute of the recent Santa Fe school shooting that had only occurred days before. This was only one of the many times Reynolds truly connected with the audience on the night, with the entirety of the crowd waving torch-lit phones in a beautiful and sincere show of earnest solidarity.

After another visual intermission, the band, yet again, effortlessly switched the mood of the arena into an upbeat and buoyant display of passion with performances of Mouth of the River, Yesterday,and the infectious Start Over.If I were to be honest, there was not a single second where Imagine Dragonsdidn’t look like they were having the time of their damn lives; the energy and passion was enormously refreshing to see, and undoubtedly connected with the crowd in more ways than one.
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Before resuming the show, Dan Reynolds took another moment to speak about something that was incredibly personal and close to his heart—about the very real and stigmatised topic of depression. “The universe has given me this incredible opportunity,” he begins, “and what am I to do with it? I’m going to use this platform to speak.” And speak he did, as he fervently addressed the audience, impassionately telling us that none of us are broken; we are unique, and we are never alone.

Riding on the solemn atmosphere that their frontman had set, the band went on to perform long-time crowd favourite Demons, with Reynolds once again reverently kneeling on stage in a candid display of sincerity.

Swiftly transporting themselves to a stage located adjacent to the other side of the arena,Imagine Dragons swapped their electric instruments for an entirely acoustic set, performing songs such as Next to Me, a cover of Suicide Squad’s Sucker for Pain, and Bet My Life, before segueing into another intermission for the final act that included their hit single Thunder,Walking the Wire,and, much to my pleasure, Radioactive.

Truth be told, before the show, I wouldn’t have categorised myself as a hardcore fan ofImagine Dragons, much like most others in the crowd. However, this show was one that truly connected with me in a way that I thought live music couldn’t; Imagine Dragons, in all their earnestness and sincerity, are one of the few bands that struck me with a real sense of genuinity and newfound appreciation for those that perfect their craft to share with the world. As such, I’ll be ending this review with words from the show’s final visual intermission:

You, the people, have the power.

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