Far from using smoke and mirrors, the Grammy award-winning quartet of vocalist Dan Reynolds, bassist Ben McKee, guitarist Daniel Wayne Sermon and drummer Daniel Platzman (as well as a backing keyboardist), sounded huge and powerful live at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay last Thursday night, August 27.
Visually stunning, the rock ‘n’ roll extravaganza gradually built up, beginning in black and white, with blinding strobes, and progressively combining color, and it only became more spectacular and intense as the show pressed on.
For more than an hour-and-a-half, the Las Vegas-based rock band pulled tracks from both their massive debut album and Smoke + Mirrors, jumping from “Shots” into “Trouble” and “It’s Time,” their breakthrough hit from 2012’s monster full-length CD, Night Visions, followed by a beautiful and haunting cover of Alphaville’s “Forever Young.”
Sing-alongs were high-spirited and frequent all throughout the show, even on new songs such as “Polaroid,” “I’m So Sorry,” “Gold,” “Release,” “Friction,” “I Bet My Life” and “The Fall.”
Frontman Reynolds was endearing and expressive, regularly grasping the mic stand with his head bowed at the beginning of a song, and then bouncing, extending his hands toward the crowd and patting his chest in steady bliss as a tune unrolled.
Engaging the thrilled fans, Reynolds revealed on stage that his two brothers lived in the Philippines in the past, which is why he was so excited to visit the country. “Two of my brothers lived here. They always told me how wonderful the Filipino people are. They are the most loving, kind and humble. They fell in love with the people here and they talked about you ever since I was very young.”
The charismatic vocalist also shared that his best friend is Filipino. “In middle school when I was 12, my best friend in the entire world is Filipino. He just moved from the Philippines to the States. He’s someone I think about all the time. And somebody that I learned very quickly that Filipino people are some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet.”
Furthermore, Reynolds amused the 10,000 in attendance after he shared the first Filipino phrase that he learned from his two brothers. “Bobo ka ba,” Reynolds shared, laughing hardly. “Precisely. Why would they even say that, right?”
‘On Top of the World’
Imagine Dragons’ closing song, “Radioactive,” which earned the band a 2014 Grammy for best rock performance, was the most-awaited song of the night. Die-hard concertgoers already were firmly planted on their feet. And they definitely felt the vibrations. “This is it, the apocalypse / Whoa / I’m waking up / I feel it in my bones / Enough to make my system blow / Welcome to the new age / Whoa, oh, oh, oh, / I’m radioactive, radioactive…”
A total performer on stage, the versatile singer dances, twirls, claps, and jumps around generating every song much more dramatic. On stage, he drew everyone in as he spoke and sang, of course. It was truly an electric and uplifting atmosphere. Everyone was blown away.
But what made the night more memorable was how every member appeared humble, not to mention all those heartfelt speeches from Reynolds that clearly touched the hearts of the entire crowd.
“I know that we’ve only been here for one day. But the way that we’ve been treated from the people here has spoken so much to us,” Dan Reynolds echoed.
He continued, “We went out last night. We ate balut. It was pretty good. Anyway, this may be our first time here, but I promise you we’ll be here time and time again.”
In all, the Smoke + Mirrors Manila tour was a thrilling 90-minute rock ‘n’ roll show, one of the best-produced concerts I’ve attended in many years. Kudos to Music Management International! Phenomenal songs, multi-talented band, with magneficent lights and an impeccable musical performance. Welcome to the new age, indeed.
Undeniably, the multi-platinum rockers Imagine Dragons greatly owned the arena, and impressively kept it a majestic affair. Of course, it’s difficult not to be amazed by Reynolds’ openness, the band’s remarkable musicianship and full strong performance. The satisfied, touched fans left the arena singing along to the band’s big hits and shooting selfies outside the venue.
By Jayson E. Paor