The above words were uttered by one Eliza Mairead Imagine Dragons Fan, Esq. yesterday in the car when I told her I was worried about her at the Imagine Dragons concert last week, because she all but went catatonic for the 2 hours the band played. I asked her several times during the show if she was going to barf and/or pass out because she just seemed weird, but apparently when you take that girl to see her favoritest band in the history of favorite bands that have ever favorited, that is what happens. The child didn’t even clap for most of the songs, for god’s sake.
Jim and my version of the culture wars mainly consists of vying to introduce Eliza to things that will blow her mind. It’s just so damn satisfying because she is almost always up for it. Rock classics, Broadway meta-puppet theater, experimental audience-participation sketches, live podcasts, feminist martial-arts epics — she might not adore all of them equally, but she will roll with it and take it in and have opinions. And then she will probably go home and mash elements of it into whatever story or comic or novel she is currently writing. (Current project: fantasy epic featuring a society of wolf-ish creatures in alternate universe New England-ish forests. I don’t have details because I’m not allowed to read until the draft is finished. My favorite of the ones I’ve read so far was the time she had a writing exam that basically asked her to write an alternate-universe fanfiction of a short story they’d read in class, which she spun into a story about unicorns traveling through a tear in the multiverse barrier because they wanted to go to college. It was inspired lunacy.)
Anyway. SO. Imagine Dragons.
I heard Radioactive three years ago on a TV ad and it had two things going for it: drums, and that apocalypse gasp. Hello, song of my dreams!
Eliza got my discarded iPod not long after, which really was the start of her musical exploration. Although we were still controlling what went on it, within those parameters, she started figuring out her taste. Although Jim really has done yeoman’s work instilling an appreciation for classic pop sounds in our children, they both follow my tendency toward the bombastic and so Eliza fell into her first musical fandom. I have always claimed I would support my children in whatever their musical choices turned out to be, but let’s be real, thank god I haven’t really had to test that with One Direction fandom or one of those MURRICA!-type country singers. Though Imagine Dragons’ full catalog doesn’t fill me with the kind of transporting delight Eliza experiences, they are eminently listenable and I like some of their songs very much.
In January I saw that Imagine Dragons a. would be releasing a new album soon and b. would be touring, and I saw my chance to a. blow her mind b. escape the tyranny of the goody bag. If she wanted to do something special for her 10th birthday, I said, I’d take her to an Imagine Dragons concert instead of a birthday party. This was completely unfair of me, and it worked.
Flash forward to July 1, when she and her school-bestie, who is almost an equally rabid fan, and her sibling, the sibling’s BFF, and assorted parents spent the day in Boston. We toured the Science Museum, ate at Wagamama (where we initiated the other girls into the delights of edamame), and then went to the show where, needlescratch.
We could not see the band from the fancy upgraded seats Ticketbastard had talked me into. I spent some quality time during the various opening bands with guest services, we got better seats, and not a minute too soon.
After that it was incumbent upon the band to deliver, and they really did, to the tune of Eliza’s catatonia and my dance-flailing. One of my favorite things about seeing a band live is how it’ll make you see songs you’d dismissed on the album in a new light. My favorite song in a show is rarely my favorite song on an album, and indeed, my favorite song on an album often shifts after a show changes my perceptions.
I’m never as fond of the band’s happy upbeat songs (there’s a reason I have a playlist called Mopey Troubadors), but they really worked well live.
That said, I can’t deny the thrill that went through me when they upped an already-impressive drum line-up by adding 3 more drums to the stage for the section of the show that led up to Radioactive, which is still my favorite of their songs. So. Much. Banging. It was glorious.
And then 3 days later I was talking to someone who complained that the show was too loud and she seemed politically aligned with me and like a nice lady who had raised a nice kid and she was friends with some of my friends but I could tell it was never going to click between us because what are you doing at an Imagine Dragons concert if you’re going to be negatively surprised by the amount of drums. That speaks to a disturbing lack of pre-show research, and I can’t support that kind of cavalier attitude toward life.