"It was FUNomenal!" yelled Liz Lauer from Zonsville, Indiana, and fan of Imagine Dragons after the band's awe-inspiring performance at the 2015 NCAA March Madness Music Festival at White River State Park on Friday night, April 3rd. All it took was one quick look over the vast crowd to witness that all of the Imagine Dragons' Firebreathers were out enforce. Even Charmaine Cota, from Indianapolis, Indiana, brought her twin 10-year-old daughters, her son and his friends, and her daughter and few of her friends to see Imagine Dragons and hear their favorite song "Radioactive".
The NCAA sank their version of a 'full court shot' hitting nothing but net with GRAMMY Award-winning Imagine Dragons...truly hard pressed to find a more accomplished and harder-working rock band on the planet. Dan Reynolds - lead vocalist / guitarist; Wayne Sermon - guitarist; Ben McKee - Bass; and Daniel Platzman - drums are consummate professionals with a passion for their craft. Their debut entitled, "Night Visions" was released to acclaim and garnered a GRAMMY Award win in the Best Rock Performance category for "Radioactive" during the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, January 26th, 2014. Imagine Dragons’ sophomore full length entitled, "Smoke + Mirrors", released February 17th, 2015, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.
On this night, Imagine Dragons provided a non-stop, seventy-five minute set of pure adrenalin rush that capped off a day that saw Cold War Kids and fellow GRAMMY Award-winning rock band Weezer play to cold and very wet crowds on the AT&T Block Party Main Stage while local acts Jason Aaron Coons, The Easthills, and Clayton Anderson performed on the AT&T Block Party Side Stage.
As darkness fell, the downpour of rain had subsided only to leave behind a bone chilling dampness to the air along with whipping winds. Adding to the mix was a sort of frenetic haze of energy that enveloped the mass of fans awaiting the onslaught about to take place. Then, one huge tidal wave of a roar of fan appreciation began down front and made its way to the back of the venue in an instant and was followed by a single sustaining note ringing out from the stage. Dan Reynolds' voice could be heard singing the lyrics slowly "I'm Never Changing Who I Am". From that moment on, one had to be there to believe what was happening...a mesmerizing live music experience.
From the first song, "It's Time", Imagine Dragons set the pace and were able to intricately weave in and out of their songs at will, with ease, and to great aplomb. Showmanship and musicianship were superb; especially, on a day of inclement weather when the band could have easily just phoned in their performance. Not today and definitely not with Imagine Dragons. Reynolds' falsetto, not affected by the colder weather, was used to effect on "Shots", "Rocks", "Trouble", and, "The Fall". Rocks was Reynolds' standout falsetto vocal moment when his voice seemed to waft through the air, billowing from the stage through the crowd, seemingly touching and warming hearts as it made its way out of the venue. And, the band's use of percussion work provided a loud booming, beating sound from the stage that gave movement to his words.
"I must say this is a beautiful night," explained Dan Reynolds from the stage before going into "Demons". "This is our second time in Indiana. My best friend moved to Indianapolis. He lived here for a couple of years and he always bragged to me that people living here were some of the most kindest in the world. And, I must say my expectations were very high. But, every time we've come here you guys have been so good to us and so you've lived up to it. This place is amazing! Thank you!"
Fans were eager to show their love and affection and gifted the band with tremendous amounts of fan participation. From hand waving, cheering, yelling, high-fiving, fist bumping, fist pumping, to dancing and lots of singing along with Reynolds, all made for an amazing evening. Concertgoers sang along on every song, including "Polaroid", when Reynolds asked, "wo oh oh, wo oh oh. Every time I put the microphone out can you do that? I’m gonna get ready." And, every time he did and even when he did not put the microphone out fans gave of themselves in a great outpouring that was sent into the heavens. Reynolds applauded afterwards saying, "Thank you for helping us! That is the first time ever we played that song, so thank you! Your voices are beautiful I must say!" For a brief moment during "Polaroid", fan singing subsided and a great cheer could be heard immediately after Reynolds sang the lyrics, "I’m gonna get ready, For the rain to pour heavy, Let it fall, fall, Let it fall upon my head". Fans felt a badge of honor having braved the bad weather earlier in the day, sticking it out to see their conquering musical heroes.
Imagine Dragons did offer up a very moving, touching, and emotional moment during their set when Reynolds acknowledged from the stage, "Tonight is a special night indeed. There is a very special young man here tonight, his name is Parker. Parker is ten years old and is battling cancer. And, he is one of the toughest young men I've ever met. I don't know where he is. Parker, we love you and this is for you my friend" The band went into "Smoke + Mirrors" to a huge cheer.
The evenings most rowdy and powerful rockin' numbers were "Gold", "I'm So Sorry", and "Friction". And, Daniel Platzman opened "On Top Of The World" with a drum solo, while Wayne Sermon began "Hopeless Opus" with an electric guitar solo. An extended version of "Radioactive", with all bandmates beating the drums, finished off what felt to be a perfect show.
There really was no denying Imagine Dragons on this night. They had their heart set on giving a killer performance and they accomplished just that!
"Smoke + Mirrors"
"On Top Of The World"
"I'm So Sorry"