Sunday, November 18, 2012

"I'm On Top of the World"

Best. Night. Ever. 

Okay, I'll admit, I say that a lot here. I can't help that everything I do is so amazing that it deserves the distinction of best day or night ever.
Austy says that by giving everything that distinction I'm making it mean less, which might be true, but I can't help it. I am have so much fun abroad and it seems like every day tops the last and things just get better and better.

The event in question in this blog is a concert by a band called Imagine Dragons. Now, I'd never heard of Imagine Dragons (other than their song "It's Time" that was covered on Glee) until a few months ago when Libby said "This band I like called Imagine Dragons is playing at some random pub in Oxford for £5. Want to go?" I love music and it was only five pounds, so of course I said yes. Caitlin and Austin ended up agreeing to go as well, and we all decided we should probably listen to some of their music first to see what we were getting ourselves into.

Good news, we listened to their album on Spotify, and I fell in love. Every single song on their album "Night Visions" is amazing. Usually bands have one or two dud songs on LPs, but not Imagine Dragons; every song is gold. So needless to say, I was getting pretty excited.

And the situation just kept getting better and better. The show as moved to the O2 Academy, a better concert venue and a much more convenient location, and the class we have on Wednesdays was cancelled so we didn't have to worry about getting to the concert on time. It was shaping up to be a really great experience.

And it didn't disappoint. Of course there was the opening band to get through (not exceptionally good but not terrible) and the awkward waiting where everyone wants to save their spot in the crowd, but there's nothing to see yet, but that expected at pretty much every concert, so I won't penalize the night for that.

As we stood and waited, talking amongst ourselves, a girl approached us and asked "Are you guys American" we replied that we were and talked about where we were from and why we were in England. Their motives for asking us soon became clear "Yeah we're from Utah. Imagine Dragons actually went to our school. Isn't that so cool?" They wanted to tell someone about their connection to the band, and opening the conversation by talking about what we have in common--America--sounded like a good idea.

You could tell that they were pretty pleased with themselves that they were from some of the band members' school, and it is cool, but they also gave off the vibe that they were better than everyone else because of it. They asked us if we were fans and spoke high and mightily about "how good they are in concert". Libby heard them later remark to one another about the crowd: "Do you think most of these people even know who they are". As a fan, they should be pleased that so many people showed up, and even if they don't know the band, they should be pleased that they're gaining new fans. I really don't like holier than thou "we knew them before they were famous" fans.

Side note: at one point during the show they were all chanting "BYU! BYU!" to try and get their attention (I'm assuming that's the school they all go to in Utah) and Imagine Dragons just replied "We love you more," obviously thinking they said "We love you! We love you!" I did feel a little bit bad for them that this didn't work out, no matter how annoyed I was with them.

As we waited for the show to start, this massive group of Americans next to us just got more and more annoying. I get that they were excited, but they were jumping around and acting ridiculous and the show hadn't even started yet. Let me clarify: the show hadn't started yet and I was already getting elbowed in the ribs by the girl next to me. Not okay.

Finally, Imagine Dragons were preparing to come on. Now, as I'm short, I can't see much of the stage, but I did see a massive drum on one side of the microphone, and a smaller drum on the other side. I have to say, I'd never seen this in a concert before. "Is the lead singer a drummer?" I asked Libby. She didn't think so, at least not primarily. And when Dan Reynolds, the singer came out with his earpiece and wire taped to his face so they wouldn't fall out, I knew this was going to be a really good concert.

They didn't muddle up the concert with a lot of talking, but when the lead singer Dan Reynolds did talk, it just made me love the band even more.
"This is a new shirt" he announced to the crowd. "I don't think I've bought a new shirt in months, but I really wanted to impress you." So adorably awkward.
"I can't remember where I got it," he continued.
"Primark!" Some people in the crowd shouted, laughing.
"I don't know what that is, is that a really bad place to shop?" Dan replied. "I think it was somewhere like... Saints?"
"AllSaints!" the crowd shouted, seemingly pleased with his shopping choice.
"Your fashion is so much better here than in the States," he said, met with cheers of agreement. "We're just a little behind. Give us some time and America will catch up." 
At one point he looked out into the crowd and smiled, an amazed look on his face.
"Can I make a confession? We've been wanting to come here for a long time." Cheers from the crowd. "And when we planned this European tour, I thought maybe like, 5 people would show up.  I didn't know you knew us over here. This is amazing. Thank you."
And the music. The music was amazing.  Standing a few rows of people back from the stage, situated left of center, we were right near one of the main speakers. It was so loud. I could feel myself loosing hearing in my left ear.  The bass was pumping in my heart. It was everything you want a concert to be, and more.

And let me tell you, it's a good thing his earpiece was taped to his ear. If it wasn't it probably would have fallen out during the first song with how much this guy jumps around when he performs. You could tell he was truly feeling the music he was singing. It was a part of him and he was a part of it. And this is what made it an amazing concert.

Sometimes when you go to concerts they are fun, but it's almost like just listening to the cd, or unfortunately a less talented version of the songs on the album. Imagine Dragons are not afflicted with this problem. They didn't perform the songs as they're recorded in the studio, they performed them how they would sound best live. He engaged the audience to sing along at key points in the songs and his energy gave the crowd energy. The drums on either side of the lead singer were used throughout the concert as he played them to create a musical experience that got the whole crowd into the music.

My favorite song of the night was one of the first ones played called Radioactive. Here's a video of the song being performed live. This isn't my video, and it's not from last night but their performance style is pretty much the same as the way it was sung last night. Enjoy!

As the concert was coming to a close, the lead singer said "We have just a few more songs left in our set, but we have some good news" to which someone from the audience replied "you're doing them all again?" This got some laughs and I realized that if they did perform them all again I would have loved it. Sometimes at concerts by the time it is over you're ready for it--you've heard the songs you wanted to hear and your feet hurt. Yes my feet hurt and I heard pretty much every song I knew, but I wouldn't have minded them doing the same songs over again. If Libby had said to me "Amy, Imagine Dragons are performing here again tomorrow, I would be there in a heartbeat. That's how amazing this show was. The good news was that they are touring in Europe again in April, and this doesn't really help me, but I think they're planning another American tour, and I'm sure I'll be there when they do. 

As we walked to the bus after the show that the way I was feeling could be described using lyrics to an Imagine Dragons song: 

"Now take it in but don't look down, Cause I'm on top of the world."

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