Ryan Smythe ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
There’s something special about a stadium show. Even if it is just the first band in a three-band lineup playing to a mostly-empty crowd, a little extra energy seems to flow from the stage. That is exactly what happened when Nico Vega took the stage ahead of the Naked and Famous and Imagine Dragons. Lead singer Aja Volkman patrolled the stage in a sequin-studded onesie for nearly thirty minutes, capping off her time by climbing on top of Dan Epand’s drum kit with an extra pair of drumsticks.
As energetic as that performance was, the Naked and Famous stole the show with their very first note. The lights dimmed, and the bass started to play, causing the DCU Center to vibrate. Bodies humming, the band walked in from stage right to their instruments. As the first notes of “A Stillness” left Thom Power’s acoustic guitar, the light show began its strobing pulse. A spotlight traded off between him and other singer Alisa Xayalith when each sang their parts. The controlled build of the song erupted with a key change as twin spotlights highlighted the duo, showing off Power’s mid-song switch to an electric guitar.
Once their intro was over, Xayalith greeted the crowd with a bubbly, “Hi!” before diving right into “Punching In A Dream.” The lights turned to the audience, with pink spots revealing three distinct groups: those only watching through their phones, those enthusiastically singing along, and those clearly unaware that bands other than Imagine Dragons mattered tonight. That last group started out the set with blank stares, but by the time “Girls Like You” hit its crescendo, nearly everyone was at least bobbing their heads.
With each song alternating between their new album “In Rolling Waves” and their first release “Passive Me, Aggressive You,” the energy of the band only escalated. By the time their final song of the night, “Young Blood,” came around, it looked like Xayalith wanted to take off and fly around the crowd. She may not have spoken much in between songs, but everything else she did was so enthusiastic and infectious that the whole stadium was dancing along with her.
This was a perfect setup for Imagine Dragons. Taking the energy that the Naked and Famous left behind, they beat their way into the stadium with all four core members: singer Dan Reynolds, bassist Ben McKee, and guitarist Wayne Sermon joining drummer Daniel Platzman on separate drum kits for “Fallen.”
Keeping the tempo up, the band wasted no time getting the crowd involved by throwing the lyrics to the chorus of their second song, “Tiptoe,” up on a massive screen. Extending it with a call-and-response, Reynolds hooked the crowd before saying hello in the break before their next song.
With his three bandmates calling Berklee College of Music home, the energetic singer played up the Boston/Massachusetts connection by poking fun at Worcester’s pronunciation, letting the crowd know that he needed some help from McKee to get the pronunciation just right.
Before returning to the music, Reynolds took an extra moment to address the crowd with a voice quivering with emotion, saying that for the first four years, “it wasn’t like this. It was only this past year that all of this happened…thank you so much for supporting live music.”
The whole night erupted with energy from there on out, enthralling the crowd filled with children as young as elementary school and as old as grandparents. After fighting for recognition for years, it’s good to see such a successful run for this amazing band.