Imagine Dragons return to Reading Festival is one of those moments that has thousands of fans converging on the Main Stage, giddy with anticipation and it’s really not hard to see why.
The American pop rock group first performed Reading back in 2013 and keeping in line with many of the returning acts this year, the “Radioactive” musicians upped the heat! Opening their act with impressive energy, front man, Dan Reynolds, commented that it was great to be back in Reading, and how for him Reading is one of the best festivals around, drawing comparison to the grand scale Coachella. Knowing what this audience would want, the band dove head first into the crowd pleasers with “It’s Time”, and festival goers of all ages sang along loudly!
Pausing briefly, Reynolds made a short statement on the power of music, stating that “there’s a lot of hatred, terrorism, sexism in the world, pointing fingers at each other, pointing fingers at religion, but there’s one thing that’s louder than that, and that is music. And no terrorist, no person, is ever gonna stop that. So thank you for being here, thank you for celebrating life, love and peace.” The crowd cheered in agreement and the set picked up where it had left off.
The hits continued through the hour long set, and the crowd showed no sign of tiring as guitarist, Daniel Wayne Sermon, showed off his impressive guitar solo skills. Imagine Dragons know how to use every inch of the Main Stage and their performance was energetic, at times heart felt, and absolutely note perfect.
Unlike some performers, Reynolds didn’t shy away from close proximity with his fans, at one point getting up close to the barriers, holding hands and dancing with the front row fans. Mixing the music up a bit, Imagine Dragons put their set together with a much loved classic to cover mid-way. Their take on Blur’s “Song 2” was fun and kept the classic rock feel which was received well by the audience who went mad for it! Slowing down a little with the start of hit song “Demons”, Reynolds sat on the stage edge, giving the song a sense of intimacy.
There was a level of perfectionism with tonights set and the tight sound of Imagine Dragons is commendable. Not one musician faltered; from drum solos that kept perfect rhythm, to guitar solos and vocals that did not miss a note! Not one second of stage time was wasted. The crowd were jumping and singing all throughout “On Top of The World” and even those sat on the outskirts got up to dance. There is something to be said for knowing exactly when to play that feel good number and Imagine Dragons knew exactly that.
Perhaps the most diverse audience I’ve seen yet at Reading Festival 2016, members ranged from children on their mothers shoulders and clusters of young girls celebrating their GCSE results, to groups of middle aged men, jumping and drinking, and married couples letting their hair down as they danced the way through the set.
Imagine Dragons were determined to go out with a bang and this year they definitely did! Everyone was on their feet, screaming and dancing through the closing number, “Radioactive”. Reynolds, who had at this point given in to the heat of stage lighting on this warm Saturday night and removed his t-shirt, seemed to be entirely driven by the music, immersing himself fully into the drum rhythm during another incredible solo from Daniel Platzman, before blasting that final chorus and insane guitar solo!
This was, as I have come to learn is common for Imagine Dragons, a set to remember!