*This is Chris Romano’s first article for Unsung Melody. I think we can all agree, he’s a keeper! – Jonathan
New York’s Roseland Ballroom has seen its share of hard hitting metal shows the past few months. From artists like Lamb of God, to Dethklok and even Meshuggah. While one may think that breakout alternative rock band Imagine Dragons, making a stop at Roseland on their Night Visions tour, would give the walls and dance floor of the over 50 year old building a bit of a breather, this night, it was definitely not the case.
Seemingly determined to bring the warmth and glow of their Las Vegas home to the cold winter of New York, Imagine Dragons filled their stage with large prop palm trees, strapped with various lights to nearly each branch, and a projector screen shaped in the half oval of a setting sun.
The sold out crowd waited patiently for the arrival of Imagine Dragons. Then, finally the lights finally dimmed and the band took the stage. Crowd-goers looked on in excitement, as the band opened with what could only be described as a five-man drum solo. Each band member, including frontman Dan Reynolds, took to a drum station. Pounding away a rhythm that would shake the Roseland Ballroom in a way that one would think only a heavy metal band was capable of. Reynold’s chose to bang away at nearly 6-foot tall, as if to help echo the tribal feeling to the crowd, “Tonight, we will dance.”
Shortly after their introduction, the band settled into their stations and guitarist Wayne Sermon plucked away the introduction to the bands song, “Round and Round.” A mix of purple and blue lights covered the band as they led the crowd into the sing-along Amsterdam. Dan Reynolds’ removed his hoodie and flew around the stage from left to right, front to back and seemingly gathered more singing voices with each step. After charging through Tip-Toe, it was only then that Reynold’s revealed that he had woken up a little under the weather that morning. He was, however, not going to let a little cold keep him away from the New York crowd.
As the ‘Dragons quickly followed through with Hear Me, and Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older), Reynolds took some time to tell the crowd a short story about how he was once warned that New York is a tough crowd and can be real stiff. Speaking for himself and the rest of the band, he let the crowd know that every time they have been there, they have recieved nothing but love and kindness, making New York feel like a second home.
During an instrumental portion of Rocks, all five members of the band returned to various drum stations, quite similar to their intro. It was clear that the band was having nothing but fun up on the Roseland stage.
Once the band broke into their hit, Radioactive, it was clear that the crowd at the Roseland was having a good time. Some fans rose onto the shoulders of others, something that is often only seen at large festivals. An instrumental break during the song saw Reynolds beating on one side of the 6-foot bass drum, while bassist Ben McKee banged away on the opposite side, bringing forth a thunderous shaking sound throughout the ballroom.
Slowing things down a bit with Thirty Lives, bassist Ben Mckee took the time to fuel the crowd with a bit of a distorted bass solo. If it was not clear by then that the Imagine Dragons sound was rooted in a deep, heavy feeling, McKee helped make it clear that it was.
With the crowd singing became more apparent during, Bleeding Out, Reynolds took the time to mention that New York was one of the loudest singing crowds and commended them on their beautfiul singing voices. As he so elegantly stated, “New York is a city of artists.”
Underdog was the next song in the bands selection, in which crew members took to the stage with large balloon beach balls and tossed them to the crowd. The crowd started having more fun than ever, crowd surfing and dancing along to the music at Reynolds’ request.
After plenty of partcipation with, On Top of the World, the band took a break to bust out none other than a box of chocolate chip cookies. Reynolds’ himself almost shyed away from one, saying, “I can’t have one, because I have to sing the next song,” before giving in and eating one, “oh who am I kidding.”
It was then that they pushed into was it easily their most well known song, having played it on The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Conan and other late night talk shows, the bands It’s Time roared through the Roseland Ballroom. During one point, Reynolds held his microphone out to the crowd, allowing them to sing the song’s entire chorus for him. With a big rock ending, the band thanked the crowd and left the stage.
Not more than 2 minutes later, they made one final return. Finishing with, Nothing Left to Say. Guitarist Wayne Sermon took the time to rip a strong distorted solo through the ballroom. With one final blast of their drums, Imagine Dragons thanked the sold out concert goers one last time. Frontman Dan Reynolds gave mention that they would most certainly be back in New York soon.
Imagine Dragons are a fresh breath of air for alternative rock. Throughout their New York show, it was very clear that the band was there to have fun and send positive energy to their crowd, with the crowd echoing every bit of enjoyment. With nearly every stop on this tour sold out, Imagine Dragons are bound to be one of the leading arena rock bands as we dig further in the new century.
The band performed Radioactive the night before this show on David Letterman, you can check that out below: