Imagine Dragons rock out at The Barclay Center 10/23/17: A Concert Review

Imagine Dragons played like “Demons” during their “Radioactive” show at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center Monday night, October 23, 2017, providing a “Dream” come true for their ardent fans.

Ok, enough with the puns (I promise!). Seriously, Imagine Dragons put on a superb show that went far beyond what I expected.

I’ve enjoyed Imagine Dragons ever since I first heard “Radioactive.”  I love their melodic sense and the overall sound of their recordings.  I brought my 2 kids to their concert on Monday and was pleasantly, although not altogether unexpectedly, surprised on several counts.

First of all, the concert, which was part of their “Evolve” tour, confirmed something I had long suspected; their classical music influence. I’ve always felt something classical in the group’s songs, and so I was especially interested when classical recordings began playing about 30 minutes before the band came onstage. It was the real stuff: Chopinesque piano music and lush, Romantic-era orchestral performances. Later on in the show, this classic influence came to the forefront again during the band’s “acoustic set” on a smaller stage across the arena. Band members provided a beautiful musical texture while playing viola, cello, and upright bass (along with guitar and keyboards)  on “Bleeding Out” and “Dream,” as well as Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”

The majority of the show was absolutely wonderful as well, and more “rock” than I expected. I think of Imagine Dragons as a modern rock band with a pop shine, and the concert emphasized their rock element. They played for a full 2 hours and stretched out many of their songs with guitar solos and percussion jams, with several band members playing the drums which were placed all over the stage.

Much of the audience sang along with them throughout the evening and there was a joyous energy throughout the Barclay Center, with people dancing, large balloons floating down from the ceiling, and a colorful light show. Imagine Dragons played with enthusiasm throughout, and vocalist Dan Reynolds spoke movingly between songs. While some bands perform their biggest hits in a tired, perfunctory way, Imagine Dragons launched into their closing song, “Radioactive,” as if they were performing it for the first time, with youthful energy, optimism, and a joy of life.

Imagine Dragons showed that they can rock with the best of them, keep an audience on the edge of their seats (and standing!) for a full two hours, and maintain their musical integrity at the same time. A big accomplishment by any standard!

Here’s their full setlist:

A Stage:
1. I Don’t Know Why
2. It’s Time
3. Gold
4. Whatever It Takes
5. I’ll Make It Up To You
6. Mouth Of The River
7. Yesterday
8. Start Over
9. Demons
10. Rise Up
11. I’m So Sorry
12. On Top Of The World

B Stage (Acoustic set):
13. I Won’t Back Down
14. Bleeding Out
15. Dream

A Stage:
16. Thunder
17. I Bet My Life
18. Believer
19. Walking The Wire
20. Radioactive

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