Imagine Dragons At Wilshire Ebell Theatre

  • Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds
    Photo: Steve Jennings/

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By Crystal Larsen
Los Angeles

Having just wrapped a string of nearly sold-out performances across Southern California, including a two-night stay at the Hollywood Palladium, you'd think the rising Imagine Dragons would be ready for a break. As it turns out, they're only getting started.

Before embarking on a tour across Europe and Asia, the Las Vegas-based four-piece made a special appearance at the venerable Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on June 4 as the featured performers for the season finale of "Live From The Artists Den." Now in its sixth season, the program presents concerts with artists in non-traditional and often historic performance settings across the United States. Airings of previously taped concerts will kick off in July with Mumford & Sons, and Imagine Dragons' concert is scheduled to air Aug. 11.

"I can't tell you how refreshing it is to play a beautiful venue … and see all your faces," said frontman Dan Reynolds, who displayed over and over again how thankful he was to be standing before the select crowd of adoring fans.

After taking a stage that was decorated with visions of nightfall — from blinking owl eyes that lit up like a Hasbro Lite-Brite to sounds of thunder and stage lights resembling lightning — the band launched into a set that would consist of many songs from their successful 2012 debut, the appropriately titled Night Visions. From the outset, with "Round And Round," it was clear the stage of the Wilshire Ebell, and the building itself, would be too small to hold the band's huge sound. But each member made full use of their small space as Reynolds literally threw his body into each performance, causing sweat to drench his well-styled fohawk.

The long locks and distortion from guitarist D. Wayne Sermon led into "Amsterdam," "Tiptoe" and then "Hear Me," the latter of which perfectly showcased the band's Brit-rock influences, drawing on comparisons to Joy Division. Their performance of their hit single "Radioactive" threw the crowd (and the band) into a frenzy as the audience sang along and swayed to the opening "oohs." But that hushed opening was soon put to the rest by the song's bass-heavy beats that literally shook the theater as Reynolds shouted, "Welcome to the new age." Making the song even heavier, the band erupted into an all-out drum circle, utilizing a drum kit, several standing snare drums and a gong (yes, a gong). As I looked to the ceiling, the lighting fixtures buzzed as if threatening to blow if the music got any louder.

Other highlights included a medley that featured covers of Cold War Kids' "Hang Me Up To Dry" and Ben. E. King's "Stand By Me." Before the band played their final songs, large balloons of various colors fell from the ceiling and bounced through the audience as Reynolds stood onstage, arms outstretched, joyfully singing, "I'm on top of the world."

It was the perfect send-off for the band as they head out to take on other parts of the world, where they'll likely again rise to the top.

Set List
"Round And Round"
"Hear Me"
"Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older)"
"Lay Me Down"
"Bleeding Out"
"Hang Me Up To Dry"/"Stand By Me" (Cold War Kids, Ben E. King covers)
"On Top Of The World"
"It's Time"
"Nothing Left To Say"

To catch Imagine Dragons in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

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