CD / DVD REVIEW: IMAGINE DRAGONS - Smoke + Mirrors Live

June 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Release Date: June 3, 2016

Rating: 8.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd "Toddstar" Jolicoeur

 

It's interesting when you are presented with a review opportunity to not only listen to a live performance from a band you are not overly familiar with, but when you are also asked to check out a DVD of the same performance (with some additional materials), it can go either way.  The latest release from Imagine Dragons is a live show captured in July 2015 from their Smoke + Mirrors tour.  Opening with an intro that slowly sets the stage; you can hear the anticipation of the audience as they await the bands appearance on stage.  "Shots" kicks things off and it has a great rock quality that is perfect for setting the night alive with energy and music.  The song is a great demonstration of how the band seems to be feeding off the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm.  "Forever Young / Smoke And Mirrors" is a powerful combination that showcases different facets and strengths of the bands performance.  The vocals carry the opening of the duo along with a droning musical interlude.  The guitars shift gears, as do the vocals and soon we are inside the energy of the latter track and its emotionally charged groove.  "I'm So Sorry" kicks the show in a different direction momentarily when guitars come blaring through the speakers.  This is a flash of what the Dragons can do when they focus their attention on the heavier side of their catalog and performance.  The band seems to enjoy these moments as much as any others in the show.  "Demons (featuring Bleeding Out and Warriors)" is the second biggest single of the bands short career, but seems to fit perfectly on the back side of the middle of the set.  This version seems a bit stripped compared to the original, but that doesn't temper the crowd’s excitement or participation.  "Friction" is a heavier track that shows off a different side of the band musically, but seems to fit within the parameters of what they do.  The droning bass and heavy handed drums on this song are a welcome piece of the Imagine Dragons puzzle, as it’s the more intense performance from the rest of the band.  The bands biggest single "Radioactive" helps wind down the show, but not close it out.  The band comes together on this track and pulls out all of the stops musically and physically - this is visually and sonically the pinnacle of the show.  The industrial flavor of rhythm section blends perfectly with the vocals and infuses extra texture into the song, the audience, and the show overall.

 

"It's Time" features a slower tempo, but a cool anthemic vibe that allows the band and crowd to work in unison early in the show.  The audience is totally engaged in the track, singing and swaying as the choruses and bridges allow.  "Polaroid" opens with a vocal call back between the band and the audience, but also helps show the reciprocal love between the band and their fans.  The song has a strong beat and helps keep the flow of the live show moving without getting too labored or heavy.  The band does what they do well and their audience appreciates the effort.  "Gold" in engaging and keeps your attention, while letting the band stretch their legs a bit and deviate from the musical path cut by previous tracks in the live show.  The vibe onstage seems to draw the live audience in and sets the stage for once of the bands bigger tracks.  "On Top of The World" opens with a drum solo that gets the crowd into the show and sets up the lively core of the track that brings the band and crowd together for one of the best feel good moments of the show.  The song shines and adds punch and fun to the set list in one of my favorite songs on the collection.  "I Bet My Life" is an awesome song that allows the band to shine in their natural comfort zone of rock that doesn't lean to heavily to the hard or light.  The audience feeds of the energy of the song and seems to gain momentum as the show progresses.  Set closer "The Fall" blends together different sounds, vibes, and emotions from throughout the performance and ends the show on a mellow groove.  The finale is as strong as the opening without bombastic guitars and heavy beats.  This is the Imagine Dragons being themselves and delivering a great performance from top to bottom - even with the limited catalog they have.

 

CD Tracklisting: Intro - Shots - It's Time - Forever Young / Smoke And Mirrors - Polaroid - I'm So Sorry - Gold - Demons (featuring Bleeding Out and Warriors) - On Top of The World - Friction - I Bet My Life - Radioactive - The Fall

 

DVD Tracklisting: Intro - Shots - Trouble - It's Time - Forever Young / Smoke And Mirrors - Polaroid - I'm So Sorry - Thief - Gold - Demons (featuring Bleeding Out and Warriors) - Amsterdam - Hopeless Opus - On Top of The World - Friction - Release - I Bet My Life - Radioactive - The Fall

 

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