Even if you live in a relatively big city in the US, it does not always feel like there are thousands of people around you at all times. We never stop. We don’t look around. We always rush through the day and try to get things done. But sometimes… sometimes time freezes.
This Tuesday, Atlanta chose to stop for a bit, catch a breath, and get real. About 20,000 people of all ages headed to Philips Arena instead of going home from work or school. The arena sold out in no time; every single seat was filled with excitement. The barricades at the photo pit could hardly hold the crowd back.
It always feels somewhat unreal when you see that many people at one place. Part of it is because it does not happen on every given night, but part of it is realization that there is unity in what bring these people together.
The night started off with K.FLAY on stage. Kristine Flaherty, the lead singer of the band, opened the set with the song “Giver”, which is a part of her new album Every Where Is Some Where. K.Flay is a quite charismatic band that is interesting to listen to and watch them perform. The stage gets animated, which helps fire up the already excited audience even more. K.Flay plays alternative hip hop – it is a nice combination of two separate styles that covers a wide range of musical tastes and interests as well as allows for freedom in expression both musically and in terms of on stage performance.
Anticipation grew. The audience was already going wild. But K.Flay was not the only band opening for the main artists of the night.
GROUPLOVE got to play the second set. These guys play indie pop rock and alternative dance, which one could tell right away after watching them perform for several seconds only. The band is so highly energetic that is makes the crowd explode with loud cheers and applause to every moment of them being on stage. The way Grouplove members were dressed, as well as the way they set up their stage space was wild. In a good sense obviously. Leopard pattern costumes, yellow-green hair, shark jaw as a backdrop type of thing, handwritten “GROUPLOVE” on each shark tooth – all of that combined made the artists stand out and flash in the minds of people with the neon green color bursts.
Both bands’ performances were extraordinarily memorable and they both did set up just the right tone for the main artists of the night IMAGINE DRAGONS.
After a short break the lights went off and, while the crowd was cheering in awe, the story of time began. Stage screens lit up, one image changed the other, and the voice spoke of the improvised human history that symbolized evolution of the mankind from the beginning of ages to our day. Drum beats created the atmosphere. The last word of the voice over and the last image on the screens smoothly transformed into the mountains of light on stage. Each mountain belonged to one member of the band; each one of them had a separate color. People in the audience were ecstatic.
After the first song, Dan greeted Atlanta and spoke of something important right off the bat – there has been so much happening around the world lately that it seems like we forgot how it feels to be humans. Dan reminded everyone that regardless of the religion, politics, race, and a thousand other dividing factors, people can still unite together to do what they love most and to create something beautiful.
As the night progressed, Dan got on an even deeper level sharing his life experiences with the people who came to the show. Such moments will always be something that makes this band stand out. People often forget that artists are also humans. Because of that the opportunity to hear what the artists went through in their lives and what brought them to the point where they are now is something special and inspiring. It is both significant and precious. And it definitely contributes to the better understanding of the message of the songs as not even one of them is without a specific purpose.
Somewhat later in the night there was a second stage that rose up in the middle of the arena. Imagine Dragons moved there and performed several songs from the heart of the crowd. This was a nice surprise for a lot of people because there is only so many spots up front, and they do get filled up very quickly. Not only was it a chance for people to get closer to the artists, but also a chance to get involved in the show on another level.
Imagine Dragons played about 20 songs that night. Quite a number!
“Demons” fit perfectly with the ongoing theme of challenges that arise in life. Dan shared that he was diagnosed with depression at one point in his life, but that depression did not stop him from going forward. That was a demon he fought. The song was a form of a reminder for people to acknowledge that there will be a lot of demons everyone will have to fight at some point in life, and at the same time it was an inspiration and encouragement that gave hope for the victory.
The night ended with everyone’s favorite “Radioactive”. Shortly after, the band waved goodbyes to Atlanta and went off stage to get ready for the next city of the tour while the people of Atlanta headed back home challenged to fight their demons and to never give up on humanity.