Imagine Dragons - Evolve Tour @ The Coral Sky Amphitheatre with Grace Vanderwaal
Grace Vanderwaal walks on stage wearing a crown made of flowers in her hair, which has become her signature accessory. As the opening act for Imagine Dragons, she displays various character traits: confidence, humbleness, graciousness. Her voice has a raspiness that most musicians crave. The last description her bare feet leave impressed upon me is "swagger." This young lady bee-bops back and forth as a new-age indie type singer with so much soul. She calls out to the crowd and asks, "Was anyone alive in the 70s?" Faint calls come across the audience. I question to myself, "What old soul is living inside this young girl?" She continues and says she sings a new version of a Johnny Nash song called "I Can See Clearly." It's her new single, as she adds her own flare to Nash's song she has millennials and baby boomers jiving along with her tune. Before my eyes this young artist is bridging a generational gap through music. America's Got Talent all right and Grace Vanderaal proved it.
By: Jaime Morse
Fluorescent colors in the shapes of heartbeat waves come across the screen as if the crowd is going to be resuscitated, literally brought back to life. Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons is bare chested and dressed in only a pair of gym shorts. Too bad he is taken and lucky for him in a world full of labels, "home wrecker" is one I'd rather not identify with. Dan asks the crowd, "How are you?" He proceeds to tell his fans this is a place of love, safety, no stress, a place of music to lose yourself. He invites the crowd to lose themsleves as he is going to do the same. He performs the first song of the night, "Radioactive," which sets the tone for the commitment he is making to entertain us all.
From there, Dan wraps a pride flag around his toned sweaty physic. Wait a second, a Mormon man has a pride flag draped over him, can we get an AMEN. He performs a song that any race, ethnicity, religion, or gender can identify with, "I'm Not Changing Who I Am." At this point I notice a mother and son seated next to me who are signing out loud. Then behind me a same sex couple with their arms held high. I feel a sense of unity that is indescribable. It's true, I am not changing who I am and neither is anyone else around me.
Dan gives so much credit to the whole band from the guitarist Wayne Sermon, drummer Daniel Platzman, and an incredible pianist Ben Mckee that carry so much force behind each song. He pays tributes to ones who have suffered loss, suffer from mental illness, and he encourages people to seek help, to not feel shame.
Then the unexpected happens, Dan leaves the stage only to reappear in the middle of the crowd, not alone, with the band backing him. He's walking the aisles, to spread his message. We can all gawk at the product of his fitness, however the real workout, Dan's true missionary work is happening tonight.
Dan encourages the listeners to chant, "I will not be boxed in." The word "boxed" is what I was feeling moments before the chant. I work in a job full of safety and security and I am not seeking my true passion. He continues to tell us we cannot live a life confined in a box and you don't need validation from anyone. Now my mind is wondering not only about my dreams, but what are others dreaming of? What else are Dan's abs inspiring us to do?
A wind is starting to blow, it's cool and refreshing, as if a higher power is blessing us all and condoning what Imagine Dragons stands for. The band, instruments, speakers are being taken off stage in a protest like fashion. Dan walks out and tells us all that a strom is coming and we must leave. He says he is going to sing the last song, "Believer," but we have to start to leave. Everyone stands still as the winds start to pick up and you can smell rain in the air along with the sight of lightening in the far distance. Are going to be baptized, saved, resuscitated or live outside of our box?
Do you know the true meaning behind the name of Imagine Dragons? It's a secret, no one does, but Dan made me a Believer.
By: Jaime Morse