Last night, as I got home, ears ringing and legs sore from the jumping around, I had to gather myself in order to sit down and write this post. As most who live in Montreal know, Imagine Dragons, alongside X Ambassdors and The Naked and Famous, took the Bell Centre by storm in honour of the Night Visions tour. The show started off with a short six-song setlist by X Ambassadors who, in my opinion, came close to stealing the show. I’ve become quite a fan of theirs since I first saw them open for Panic! At the Disco in January (more about it here). Having a similar sound to Imagine Dragons, they were quite well received by the crowd and proved they were a force to be reckoned with. Featuring great rock alternative songs mixed with a few epic saxophone solos, this band has the potential to make it big and strike a chord with fans of this type of music. Their smart song selection and the flow of the set list definitely allowed them to make the most of their performance and judging by the line up for their meet and greet after the show, I have great hopes for the turn out of their concert at Petit Campus on April 19th (which I will of course be attending).
Up Next, we had a nine-song set list by the synthpop or indie pop band The Naked and Famous. You probably know this band from the hit song “Young Blood” off of their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You. To be honest, this band didn’t have me particularly excited. Previous to the show, I gave their album a proper listen and it just didn’t catch my attention any more than it should have. My lack of enthusiasm was unfortunately met with a somewhat disappointing performance. A lot of the songs sounded the same, the volume of the lead singer’s microphone was too high for her particularly high-pitched voice and the set list just seemed to drag on forever. Although I didn’t have the time of my life, I could see most of the audience members have quite the jump around on the floor, which led me to believe that not all was lost.
Finally, when the lights dimed and the crowd roared, Imagine Dragons took the stage, opening with the song Fallen. First off, I must mention that this was my fourth time seeing them live and this concert proved itself special for one particular reason, to which I’ll come back to later. As we all know, Montreal is always an especially welcoming city to anything music related and last night’s band was given the royal treatment. Whether it be by singing to the top of our lungs to songs like “Radioactive” or the quiet but harmonious accompaniment to songs like “Demons” (along with the beautiful glow of thousands of lighters and cellphone lights), the crowd didn’t take a second to rest and made sure to remind them why we love to party. In response, the band gave a high intensity and passionate performance coloured by a heartfelt tribute to a fan who is no longer with us, a head banging cover of the song “Tom Sawyer” by Rush and an impressive guitar shredding solo performance ending with quite the stage dive and crowd surfing by the lead singer. The show came to and end with an encore performance of Nothing Left to Say and then home we all went with our hearts beating fast and our ears buzzing.
Now that I’ve given you an overview of the concert itself, let me explain what I mean when I say this concert was special. When I first saw Imagine Dragons perform at Toronto’s Opera house in September 2012, I was absolutely blown away and I’ve been hooked ever since. This band takes nothing for granted and they genuinely feel blessed to be where they are. When bands talk about owing all of their success to their fans, this band truly means it. What made yesterday special to me, long-time fan and proud supporter, is that even now, in front of thousands upon thousands of people, they remember those days when they played tiny venues, in front of tiny crowds, and make sure to let us know they’re still who they were before embarking on the fame train. It’s a special thing to see them get just as emotional in front of a crowd of thousands as I first saw them do in front of a crowd of a few hundreds. This is why yesterday will me memorable to me and why I think music is important. As Dave Grohl once said: “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.” When we sing back, it’s heart-warming to know and understand why the band we’ve waited so long to see is singing to us in the first place and I think that’s what makes live music so magical. So there you have it, my overall experience and sappy thoughts on music. For further information on the rest of the Night Visions tour, the opening bands and anything you might want to know more about, here are all the links you’ll need.