Walking into American Airlines Center in Dallas before the Imagine Dragons show began was like entering the arena of the Hunger Games. The center is obviously a huge venue with plenty of room for national superstars like Imagine Dragons, but it's hard to really grasp the high volume of fans until you're on the floor in the middle of the crowd.
It's a great way to hype anyone up for any show, and once The Naked and Famous came on stage to kick off the night, that energy couldn't help but seep through from the floors to the rafters.
The Naked and Famous has seen several chart-topping hits and mainstream radio plays and pairing that band with Imagine Dragons is the perfect duo of pop rock bliss. I saw people from ages nine to 60 scattered throughout the place and having equal amounts of fun.
My particular favorite was the middle-aged man sitting on his own next to me, singing his heart out to "Punching in a Dream" just like the 19-year-old woman in the row in front of me.
When a band can unite people of different generations, you know they're good performers.
Even just watching vocalist and keyboardist Alisa Xayalith float across stage in her long, flowy dress and super spunky short, white hair made me and probably anyone in that venue want to be her.
The group has a true entertainment quality that makes a short set go by far too quickly, but something I bet every person there relished every moment of.
The energy was fantastic from the beginning, and if the crowd didn't know all the words to their tracks they showed just the same amount of enthusiasm each time. Each band member got featured in their own solo performance every few songs, most notably a fantastic hard rock shredding session from long-haired guitarist Wayne Sermon.
Although the band's energy and enthusiasm never died down, I seemed to notice the crowd's patience wearing down the longer they waited for "Radioactive." Their spirits were rejuvenated during "It's Time" and the group-wide drum jam session, but row by row the fans started to sit down as if just waiting until the group's biggest hit.
It took a bit away from the group's sweet memorial song to a friend who died young, but thankfully the fans picked up on the meaning behind the track and cell phone lights and lighters began to flicker on throughout the stadium, filling it with glowing white orbs and bringing a bit of a shake to singer Dan Reynolds' voice.
I'd also like to point out the fantastic cover of Rush's "Modern Day Warrior" soon after. The band warned us by saying they'd grown up on classic rock and wanted to cover a track for us, but never would I have expected that. I made friends with the parents behind me while their young daughters sat in confusion - it was a nice way to shout out to some of the older fans in the crowd.
The second to last track brought out the flamethrowers and giant balloons filled with confetti, bopping around the crowd until being popped while everyone screamed at the delight of thousands of colorful papers cascading over them. In a perfectly timed move, a small group of fans tossed one of the balloons toward Reynolds, who burst it as he belted out the final note, ending the song with a literal bang and ecstatic shouts everywhere.
Finally, it was time for "Radioactive," but not in the way most would expect. Reynolds started to belt it out in a slow croon with only Sermon's light chord progressions faintly behind him. Then with the change in tempo came another burst of the flames, and the crowd on the floor all raised their hands and turned into a giant ocean floor of waving arms. Choosing their biggest hit as the last song was certainly a strategically planned move and enough to keep the enthusiasm going for the explosive encore.
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