There are approximately 392 miles between Brigham Young University and Allegiant Stadium. Although one sits in Utah, America, and the other in Las Vegas, the tying thread between the two of them is not only Nevada-born Dan Reynolds, who attended the university but the band Imagine Dragons in which he is the lead singer of, having formed it on those educational grounds. The journey from their point A to their monumental B (selling out to a stadium that fits 65,000, and therefore being the biggest concert ever for a Vegas band) was always pre-destined. At least, that’s what they believe, writing up their fully annotated video essay through interview segments, archival videos from their early days, and a wild pyrotechnic show into a concert film: Imagine Dragons Live in Vegas.
The Roadmap To Vegas
Don’t forget those speeches, too. “Las Vegas, my home,” Dan starts. There’s a red stage light behind him, a color that has instilled itself into their brand, from the cover art of one of their biggest hits, ‘Radioactive’ to the fluorescent thrill that coats the Las Vegas strip sign, following that pizazz into their larger than life show presence. Dan’s palm is touching his chest, and we’ll notice later on that it’s a grounding technique, but for now, he continues to acknowledge the people residing in Vegas who are there tonight: his parents, maybe his old peers, and then… “So many people who came out to our shows when we played for fifty people at O’Shea’s, cheapest beer on the strip.”
O’Shea’s is O’Sheas Casino; by the way, it’s an Irish-themed pub within the Linq Promenade vicinity. It isn’t their only starting gig, either, as a mime show is another. If you were to make a game out of this concert film, then we’d suggest using the word “Vegas” as a form of tracking, as he slips it in again soon after that with all of his might, pointing now with arm-veined pride, “Vegas!” after “never want to leave this town” from ‘It’s Time.’ It’s true. That city never does dare to sleep; it shakes, vibrates, and shines through lit-up bracelets.
Cashing In The Gambled Chips
As we stated earlier, it wasn’t always like that, though. Imagine Dragons doesn’t just acknowledge that through spoken word but shows archival footage from those earlier gigs. It’s so far back in the time continuum, though, that some of these videos are what you’d expect to see on a 320p YouTube video. They’re grainy, and the color is a little desaturated, yet the memories of those events are so concreted in their minds that they can reach for them and embellish all the unshiny details.
“There’s times, admittedly, when I was like, what am I doing? But at the same time, I was still doing music, and I was still playing for people, and for me, it was like this really beats anything else,” recounts guitarist Wayne Sermon. But while working hard can only get them so far, Dan also contributes “Vegas luck” to where they are now, with over 58 million listeners on Spotify alone.
The People Of Vegas
All of those people are felt too in their performance. Dan admits to being a “heart-focused” guy, and in the segment that follows, he pinpoints a little boy who this concert will be his first for his remaining years. Google will tell you that G. Love & Special Sauce in Las Vegas was Dan’s, but Imagine Dragons will be this child’s. It’s such a special moment that Dan sits on the stage, his legs stretched before him, facing the boy.
“So, here you are, you’re first show. There’s many more to come,” he says in a breath that spirals out into a motivational speech, one of those dream catcher ones with endless potential. Even the lights are stripped back, so if you were to tune out the outside noise of those thousand other people screaming, claiming their own moment, it would just be cradled between the two of them. What’s the song, you may ask? Grammy-nominated ‘Thunder,’ of course.
However, he doesn’t make just strangers into friends’ evenings. Instead, it’s in his interaction with his bandmates (Wayne, other guitarist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman) and family that we know his kindness transcends, lingering into all corners of that stadium. Sometimes it creeps onto a B-stage, each walking down to the tip of the catwalk, where they have an acoustic moment. The lights are this mix of a lavender haze and a golden shower, and the song ‘Next To Me’ moves into ‘I Bet My Life.’
During the latter, Dan climbs down the stage’s steps and teeters into the audience, holding up his son in a Simba-like moment (“I know I took the path that you would never want for me / I gave you hell through all the years” before he does a spontaneous run around the floor.) No, really. He weaves in and out of those who have perhaps slept on Las Vegas’s concrete to claim that mighty barrier spot and others who want to be a part of that atmosphere, letting the energy clamber into his bones.
The Flair Of The Strip
Wayne states that Dan has always been that free spirit, it’s just been a smaller stage, but with the size they’re on now, it’s shown more ferociously, and there are two highlights. One of them is a truly captivating segment that slots in as a personal tribute to the entertainment underbelly of Las Vegas: bringing along members of Cirque du Soleil for ‘Sharks.’ It starts with one of them tipping a smoked teapot into their mouth, watching as it evaporates out, to acrobats twirling into the air, their dresses acting as a means of a mysterious hide-and-seek game to hide their facial expressions momentarily. Then the other is in a ‘Radioactive’ guitar solo, watching as Wayne towers over the audience on a rising platform. For all of its personal touches, the arousal of excitement that trembles into Las Vegas also makes its appearance on that stage.
Don’t just take our word for how majestic this concert film is, though. Watch it for yourself on Hulu and Disney+. After it fades to black and those credits roll in, unable to get those tunes out of your head, the songs with its live show ambiance are also available on streaming platforms, such as Spotify.