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Imagine Dragons brings audience to feet

Playing a musically eclectic set as diverse as the tracks found on the band’s solo album “Night Visions,” Imagine Dragons took the stage Tuesday night, launching the USF Sun Dome’s fall concert season.

The show began with a subdued ambiance. The stage filled with a large selection of drums, trees hung with spotlights and a backdrop with twinkling lights gave the illusion of a night sky to create an outdoor, mellow design – a deliberate theme lead singer Dan Reynolds said he created to take the audience out of their school and work mindsets.

The gentle beginning quickly turned into a percussion-heavy sea of lights and sounds cascading over the shrieking crowd. 

What begin as a night sky turned into a screen to accompany the set list, including at times, a screen to display the live performance for those who may have not had the greatest of seats.

With only one album released, the band played effortlessly through the set as though they were seasoned veterans and their execution was all proof they needed to explain why they are already headlining shows. 

The Sun Dome provided an arena for which Reynolds told the crowd he is not accustomed.

“I don’t know how to play venues like this,” he said. “It’s too big. I’m used to playing clubs.” 

Even though the crowd was seemingly filled with an abundance of students, the band’s performance was enough to get even some of the older audience members to their feet dancing to the songs. 

Just before the entire arena was brought to their feet as the band begin to perform “It’s Time,” Reynolds told the audience that the past week had been with highs and lows.

With sounds pairing perfectly with that of Imagine Dragons, The Neighbourhood opened for the headliners, greeted with screams from the crowd.

For some bands, opening with the biggest hit may be a daring choice; The Neighbourhood accepted the challenge and proved with their performances that they have staying power.

Though “Sweater Weather” has been given a lot of radio play, the audience showed great familiarity with most of the other songs, proving the band is more than just a one-hit wonder. 

The flawless execution of every song cancelled out the subtle set design of a fog machine matched with simple white strobe spotlights, foreshadowing the potential that the band will one day soon be headlining their own tour. 

Reynolds said despite going through personal strife this week, the show was helpful. 

“This week has been a hard week,” he said. “There is a lot going on in my life. Playing these shows has been a redeeming value every day.”

Enthusiasm filled the arena as the audience sung along to “Demons,” upbeat “On Top of the World” and even a cover of Ben E. King’s legendary “Stand By Me.”

Though a crowd favorite, the performance of “Underdog” was still reminiscent of the soundtrack that accompanies Walt Disney World’s Electrical Light Parade.

Anticipation grew as the crowd awaited the last performance of the night, the band’s most recognizable hit, “Radioactive,” which topped charts for weeks this summer.

It began with Reynolds banging on the oversized drum, as the crowd recited the opening verse’s lyrics.

Finally joining in, the band exceeded expectations, giving an astounding, theatrical performance. 

Toward the end, the entire band joined in with Reynolds as they banged on the plethora of drums, filling the crowds ears with a cascade of percussion. 

The lights went out across the stadium, and just when the audience the performance was over, the band quickly belted out the chorus one more time to the continuous chorus of drums and electric guitar, ending the night with the crowd screaming in unison, “Radioactive.”