Arena rock sing-along
FOR MOST of Imagine Dragons’ recent Manila show, Dan Reynolds, the towering lead vocalist of the alternative pop band, seemed to be one of the most casual of performers—his gangly arms leisurely swiping the air; his feet leaving the ground just so as he shuffled about the stage.
But once in a while, the 28-year-old music artist let it all out: He ferociously pounded on a drum in the country-inflected “Trouble,” banged his head to the dramatic chanting in the electro-rock hit “Radioactive,” and showed some grit in “Friction,” a jittery ditty with a Middle Eastern flair.
This shuttling between two extremes, however, wasn’t limited to Reynolds’ showmanship. It was likewise apparent in the group’s penchant for starting a song a cappella, before bringing it to a surge of shimmery synths and marching beats, as in the funky and dissonant “Gold” and the cover of Alphaville’s “Forever Young.”
Although the American band touched on a variety of genres throughout the concert like pop, disco, blues, country and indie-folk, the pieces were, ultimately, arena rock, with driving melodies and anthemic choruses. And all of these were delivered with Reynolds’ earnest, and at times pleading, baritone.
Thus, almost every other number churned out by Imagine Dragons—also composed of Wayne Sermon (guitar), Ben McKee (bass) and Daniel Platzman (drums)—elicited a resounding sing-along from the audience at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Other standout numbers were the joyously uplifting “On Top of the World”; the brooding “Demons”; the bluesy “I’m So Sorry,” which prompted a sonic duel of sorts between Sermon and McKee, and “Smoke + Mirrors,” which had Reynolds singing while wagging his mic in front of his mouth.
According to Reynolds, while it was his first time in the Philippines, he has always known that Filipinos are some of the “most wonderful…kind and humble” people in the world. His two elder brothers, he related, lived in the Philippines during their mission trips for the Mormon Church. One of his best friends during middle school, he added, is also Filipino.
As he ended the show (mounted by MMI Live) with “The Fall,” a giddy fan tossed to the stage a Philippine flag, which Reynolds scooped up and held aloft to deafening roars.
“I know we’ve only been here for a day, but the way we’ve been treated by the Filipino people has spoken so much to us. This may be our first time here, but we will be here again,” Reynolds told the crowd.