On Top Of The World: A review of Imagine Dragons live

Early this year, Imagine Dragons announced their Evolve World Tour would bring them to New Zealand. They’d actually toured NZ twice before but not Wellington, so I’d never seen them live before. Stoked at the thought of seeing them without having to pay for flights and accommodation too, my friend Chloe and I bought tickets as soon as the presale was announced to make sure we didn’t miss out.

The Temper Trap was the opening act and they were amazing. I’ve actually seen them before, when they opened for Coldplay in 2013, but I appreciated them much more this time around. They interspersed their set with songs from Conditions, their truly fantastic debut album that I’d somehow forgotten about. Hearing “Sweet Disposition” live was expected but still awesome, as was my favourite song of theirs “Fader” and “Fall Together”, one of their new singles. They were a perfect fit for Imagine Dragons and an awesome opener – honestly, I’d pay to see them headline a show.

Not long after, Imagine Dragons took the stage and blew us all away. It was definitely a show about Evolve, their latest album – usually that would annoy me (fans want the classics!), but Evolve is actually a really great album and I’d been purposefully listening to it a lot in preparation for the concert. The songs translated beautifully onto a live setting, as they’re all such high energy and so much more powerful when performed live. “Believer” was incredible, as was “Whatever It Takes”. Songs from Night Visions were sprinkled throughout the set, with “On Top of the World” being a unexpected surprise (there probably were also a couple from Smoke + Mirrors but to be honest, I was never that into that album so I can’t say for sure).

One cool moment was when the lead singer, Dan Reynolds, paused the show for a few minutes to talk about his struggles with mental illness. He briefly shared how he had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and how talking to someone and turning to music saved his life. He encouraged everyone in the crowd to stay strong and get help if they’re struggling with those same issues. It was a really beautiful segway into “Demons” and gave the song a more poignant, honest feeling that I hadn’t seen in it before.

All up, it was an amazing show. The energy was fantastic – Dan was basically doing his gym workout on stage, singing huge notes while doing high knees running in place. At one point I wondered if he might be lip-syncing because his tone was so even despite how energetically he was moving, but I soon realised that he just has a great voice and great vocal control (and he’s also mad fit). They didn’t have an encore: instead they moved to the other end of the arena and played a couple of a songs on a smaller stage, and then finished the show by playing the final few songs on the main stage again. The night was closed with “Radioactive”, a perfect final song for a perfect night.

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