You might remember last year Mom, Dad, and I went to see Imagine Dragons’ Evolve Tour at Little Caesars Arena. It was a spectacular October night, an even better show, and a picture one of the workers took of us became our Christmas card. Really can’t ask for more than that.
So when I heard Imagine Dragons were returning to Detroit this time to take the show outside at DTE Energy Music Theatre, I knew I couldn’t miss it. Mom and Dad weren’t too keen on going in the mosh pit by the stage and prices were rather high, so I asked my friend Jay if he was going and we quickly made plans to go together.
I can’t remember if I mentioned it here before, but I met Jay on Instagram and then in real life. We actually have quite a few things in common, namely our love of live music and great food, and text frequently. He said he would arrange everything since he knows someone who works for the band and we would go.
Since we made these plans, I was a strange mixture of beyond belief excited and absolutely terrified at giving up that kind of control. Where will we sit? Will everything go according to plan? Did I make a terrible mistake? The terrified part overtook the excited part as the day approached and I pummeled Jay with questions and was met with a response of “can you please stop worrying?” Um … have we met before???
I did my best and before I knew it we were headed up to DTE on the first official day of summer, the longest day of the year with the sun shining, humidity low, and a nice breeze in the air. We met up with Jay’s friends and their two kids outside the amphitheater and then headed to get our wrist bands for access into the contained, tame mosh pit right by the stage. I had worried for nothing.
Grace Vanderwaal from America’s Got Talent was the opening act. Though she and imagine Dragons are a rather odd combination, I was thrilled as I became a huge fan of Grace on AGT. She’s just as good live and really has a wonderful tone to her voice and fun carefree vibes about her, wandering around the stage without shoes.
Before long, and before the sun had even gone down, Imagine Dragons took the stage. It was really unique and special for the show to begin as the sky turned from blue to pink and orange to black. Equally as special were the three opening numbers: “Radioactive,” “It’s Time,” and “Whatever It Takes.” That kicked things off on a high note that energized the crowd.
During this time, lead singer Dan Reynolds talked about how this was a time to be free, let go, allow the stress of the world to melt away. Jay looked at me and said, yes, be free, and I was. I was free. Apparently Jay has a video of me singing that I am dying to see because I exorcised a lot of demons that night and have a feeling the video is hilarious; I was so into the show I had no idea he was videoing me. In fact, I pretty much blew my voice out in those first three songs.
It got a bit of a rest after that intro and a hasty transition into “Yesterday” that segued into a few less popular songs and did make for a lull in the middle of the show, particularly once they headed to the b stage in the back of the amphitheater where the sun was setting behind them and the view was pretty much everything.
Just before that b stage section, they sang “Mouth of the River.” That, along with “Whatever It Takes,” is my favorite Imagine Dragons song, if not my favorite son period. They bring me to tears and inspire me to keep going. I was actually brought to tears early on during “Whatever,” but instead of letting the tears take over, I turned that emotion into energy I poured into singing, dancing, and cheering. That’s what music is all about. It’s even more so what live music is about.
The kids in our group were in the front of the pit, leaning against the rail, joined by other kids at the very family friendly show. They all waved their hands at Dan each time he was on our side of the stage. He saw them, waved at them, reached out his hand and then jumped off the stage and into the secure staging area separating us from the stage. He grabbed their hands and held onto them while singing “Mouth of the River.” He high fived a few other people but missed me.
I would ordinarily have been pretty bummed about that, but honestly, I wasn’t that night. I was happy for the kids, I was caught up in the surreal moment, I was having a blast watching the videos we had just taken of the once in a lifetime moment during a song that means so much to me no less.
Later when the band returned to the main stage to wrap up the show, Dan spoke about anxiety, depression, and therapy. It was open, honest, and very important not just to me, not just to the crowd, but in general. Talking about how we matter and suicide is never the right option was very emotional.
However, there was little talking throughout the show and what was said was mostly canned and said in other cities before and likely more after. His message is important, so I understand repeating some of it, but perhaps some more talking would have made the show more cohesive. Introducing, for example, “Next to Me,” one of their newest songs, might have given it more meaning.
The lack of talking made the show feel a little rushed. Perhaps it was more suited for the arena, as we all agreed that show was technically better. The confetti blasts and giant balloons maybe didn’t translate to the outdoor venue as well.
I’m making it sound like I didn’t enjoy the show when that is quite simply not the case. I can’t speak for anyone else at the show, but while the one last year might have been better, I enjoyed this one more. There’s something about being outside on the first day of summer, the heat surrounding you that makes music more meaningful. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to go with a friend and relinquish almost all control. Though I’m pretty sure I was close to backing out early in the day, I am beyond thankful I didn’t. Going with the flow and taking things as they came was a great learning experience, not to mention it worked out in all the ways I hoped, dreamed, envisioned. That’s the first time that’s ever happened.
I was lightning before the thunder Thanks for the best night ever @imaginedragons. Your music is life and makes me stronger every day. I am never changing who I am. And thanks @yeejay for such a memorable night! #concert #concertjunkie #music #livemusic #dance #danceparty #imaginedragons #thunder #lightningbeforethethunder #positivevibes #positive #hope #inspired #letsdothis #goals #girlpower #bestnightever #takemeback #positivevibesonly #dte #dteenergymusictheater #friends #nevergiveup #imaginedragonsfan #lightningthenthethunder #beliver #itstime
To be in the pit for the first time, that close to the stage, cheering with those people, celebrating the one thing all of us had in common was magical.
And then there is Imagine Dragons’ music. It means so much to me because I understand the dark place from which it comes. I feel the struggle, the pain, and I work my way through it while listening to the music at home. I turned the darkness into light there in that crowd, letting go, singing as loud as I could, dancing in my heels, not caring my feet hurt, letting go completely no matter what anyone thought.
I was free … maybe I still am. Imagine Dragons, I’ll see you next time.
So this had to be my favorite moment from last night. @danreynolds might not have touched my hand but I felt so connected to the band, music, crowd, and my feelings. The electric feeling of being in the pit and singing along to every song as loud as I could brought me genuine happiness and made me feel so alive. The message Imagine Dragons spreads of being yourself and fighting for your dreams is one I relate to all too well. Struggling with anxiety myself, I relate to so many of the words and it's truly an emotional experience to hear them live with the beat pulsing through my veins. Being outdoors only intensified the experience into one I will never forget and will propel me for sometime to come. Full post on the blog next week. @waynesermonid @benamckee @imaginedragons #concert #sing #dance #danceparty #positivevibes #positivity #positivevibesonly #livemusic #concertjunkie #imaginedragons #imaginedragonsfan #mouthoftheriver #goals #letsdothis #workhard #dreambig #nevergiveup #bestnightever #takemeback #isthisreallife #thunder #believer #itstime #dte #dteenergymusictheater