Seeing Imagine Dragons perform at Colonial Life Arena was an EXPERIENCE. “They’re from Vegas, they know how to put on a show for sure,” said Ted Hoekstra, our regional rep from Interscope. I was in awe. But it wasn’t just their energy while on stage. It was all inclusive, the entire night from start to finish.
Video games, candy, this giant ass drum…we walked into the VIP room instead of walking around Colonial Life Arena, and the next hour flew by in a wave of laughing with friends, shooting basketball, and playing games. It was, a much more enticing way to kick off a concert than milling around or getting to your seats early.
We went from the VIP room to the Meet & Greet. This was the best run M&G for any show I’ve been too. Backdrop & lighting were handled. The guys all lined up, engaged but relaxed. Some M&G’s feel chaotic and forced, this had the exact opposite vibe. The radio people went last so our listeners could go first, and they still allowed us to get individual pics! In hindsight, I should’ve asked Dan to flex in a pic with me. Next time Dan, do you hear me?
I headed to my seat to see Grace Vanderwaal open. As I watched her perform, I wondered what her life was like. She was 12 years old when she got the Golden Buzzer on America’s Got Talent (watch it here ICYMI), and here, just over 2 years later, she’s on tour opening for Imagine Dragons. Part of me was envious. Being on the road, touring, is completely romanticized in my head. Grace comfortably around the stage, with her band platformed behind her. Her voice, more soulful than you’d expect from someone first seems quiet & shy, gave me chills multiple times. She played her newest single, Clearly, which samples Johnny Nash’s song 1973 “I Can See Clearly Now.” Then she made way for Imagine Dragons.
Here’s the thing. I only know their radio hits. I am not a fan of ID, but after that show, count me the fuck in. Right from the gate, they start with a few of their biggest hits. Maybe a third of the way through they rocketed off liek 4 cannons of confetti, and it was so much, that I thought one of the tech’s mistakenly hit the finale ‘fetti, but nope, it was the right one. In between songs, clips played on the oversized monitors at the very back of the stage. Dan paused a moment to sit and do what appeared to some focus breathing or meditation. My favorite thing to do at any show, is to close my eyes. To feel the bass echo through my body, to hear the crowd…to zone in and be present, in the spirit of mindfulness. I took a moment to do that. I felt connected to it. It felt spiritual.
They switched sides of the arena for a few songs, and gave the crowd that was in the back front row seats to their show, before making their way back to the front, main stage. Through out the show, more confetti. Tanks of Co2 forced bursts of air. A small round of fireworks timed out to one specific line in Believer. Balloons fell from the ceiling.
They made me a fan. If you put that amount of work, of energy, of thoughtfulness into your craft, on top of your natural talent, you deserve to be selling out arenas. These guys crushed it. And made me feel like I was part of the experience, not just standing on the outside.
We walked up the street to Liberty where we hung for a few after the show, and even though I got home around 1:15, I was still too amped to sleep. I felt inspired. Motivated. Imagine Dragon’s “Evolve” tour stop in Columbia, SC is my #1 concert experience, by a landslide.