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Concert Reviews:
Imagine Dragons run strong but long at Little Caesars

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017

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DETROIT -- There was plenty of heart during Imagine Dragons’ concert on Thursday night, Oct. 19, at Little Caesars Arena.

But there was a little flawed judgement, too, that made the night not all it could be for its audience.

After just three major label albums the Las Vegas quartet is blessed with a generation-spanning audience that made Thursday’s show look as much like Disney On Ice as a rock concert. That means a significant young, as in VERY young, contingent for a three-act bill (with Grouplove and K. Flay) on a school night, where the headliner’s hour-and-50-minute set stretched well past 11 o’clock. The exodus of families was evident throughout the last half-hour or so, meaning a good chunk of the crowd missed major Imagine Dragon hits such as “Radioactive,” “Thunder” and “Believer” -- not mention a final confetti shower.

That was a not-minor miscue during an otherwise solid night from Imagine Dragons, a 20-song survey that rode an anthemic exuberance that straddled a line between alt.rock and pop. Touring to support its latest release, “Evolve,” Imagine Dragons displayed a substantial body of work behind its singles, where an album track such as the rocking “Walk On The River” held its own alongside the likes of “It’s Time” or “Demons.”

The aforementioned heart came not only from the playing but primarily from frontman Dan Reynolds. Sporting a long, messianic kaftan and alternating between pressing flesh at the front of the stage and pounding on the many drums situated around the stage. Reynolds laced the night with heartfelt discourses about tolerance, acceptance and unity, and before “Demons” encouraged those suffering from depression or anxiety to not hide their feelings.

“There is no use in regret,” Reynolds said at one point. “If you spend time in regret you’re...wasting life.” In a sweet moment he sang some of “Yesterday” directly to his five-year-old daughter, sporting headphones and held aloft on someone’s shoulders in the general admission pit at the front of the stage. And Reynolds got up close and personal with fans in the arena grandstand as the group trooped fto a second stage at the rear of the arena floor for a three-song acoustic set (which included a tribute cover of the late Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”), climbing high into one of the sections amidst a celebratory sea of cell phone cameras.

Imagine Dragons gave the crowd plenty to look at as well as hear with a laser-lit production that bathed the group in the glow from 30 LED video panels above the stage. It dressed up “Start Over” with bubbles and confetti, while balloons descended from the rafters for the ebullient “Top Of The World” and the Little Caesars ceiling lit up multi-colored during the show-ending “Believer” -- a nice closing touch that, unfortunately, too many weren’t around to see.

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