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Imagine Dragons performed Saturday at the Los Angeles edition of the Budweiser Made in America festival like it was their last show — and in one way, it was. For the final date in support of their 2012 album Night Visions, the band hit the stage with a high level of energy and maintained it throughout their 80-minute set, which featured crowd-surfing/drum-smashing frontman Dan Reynolds and awe-inspiring solos from the other band members.
Reynolds's percussion talents were on display the entire night, as he switched back and forth between singing and complementing the band's official drummer, Daniel Patzman. Reynolds opened the show with a drum solo and ended the night by literally picking up his bass drum and hurling it 10 feet after performing the band's biggest hit, "Radioactive."
Imagine Dragons employed every opportunity possible to connect with the crowd. After enticing the concertgoers to sing Blur's "Song 2," one of Reynolds's favorite songs, he dived into the moshpit and crowd-surfed while singing live.
Reyonds also shared the spotlight with his bandmates. Guitarist Daniel Wayne Sermon and drummer Platzman had plenty of opportunities to showcase their skills. Sermon's opening for "Amsterdam," in particular, was his virtuoso moment among the night's many highlights.
Kendrick Lamar also shared his time with his crew. Though Lamar's show was simply billed under his name, it was actually a showcase of the fellow Top Dawg Entertainment superstars: Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and ScHoolboy Q. Lamar and Q expressed excitement about performing at a festival in their hometown for the first time. And their enthusiasm showed. Q was more animated than usual, jumping up and down the entire time, even when playing his slower songs like "Studio." He was drenched in sweat by the end of his segment.
Lamar delivered his usual high intensity, but he appeared genuinely humbled by the reception. He thanked the crowd for singing along to "good kid," "m.A.A.d city," "Swimming Pools," "Poetic Justice," and "B---, Don't Kill My Vibe," songs from his Grammy-nominated debut album released almost three years ago.
Although Iggy Azalea achieved pop-star status this past summer with her hit "Fancy," at Made in America she played many of her older, more underground songs that put her on the map and displayed her rapping skills. She also put her sex appeal to work, wearing snug short shorts and a crop-top, the perfect ensemble for her enthusiastic twerking. She also offered a surprise when Rita Ora joined her for their collaboration "Black Widow." Their fantastic onstage chemistry spilled over into "Fancy," as Rita stayed onstage to dance while Iggy performed the summer smash.
Capital Cities arguably played Saturday's most feelgood set. They taught the crowd a Capital Cities linedance, gave the Bee Gees' disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" an airy pop makeover, and followed set-closer "Safe and Sound" with a plea for everyone to remove a layer of clothing.
Compton rapper YG is featured on so many songs with other artists, so his 45-minute set did not allow him enough time to perform some of his records— like "Who Do You Love" and "My Hittas"— in their entirety. However, it was a nice bonus for Jeremih to come out to sing their banger "Don't Tell Em."
There were plenty standout moments among the 19 acts that played L.A. festival on Saturday. Afrojack danced and sang along to all the songs in his vivacious DJ set. A Tribe Called Red incorporated A Tribe Called Quest samples and a Native American dancer into their show. Multi-tasker ZZ Ward played harmonica, keyboards, and guitar. X Ambassadors performed with Jamie N. Commons, and Jay Z/Kanye West producer Hit-Boy kicked off the day, with Audio Push and Rich Boy among several promising new acts.The Los Angeles Made in America event continues Sunday with shows with 20 more acts, including Kanye West, Steve Aoki, John Mayer, Rita Ora, Chance the Rapper, Weezer, and Juanes. An East Coast version of the festival is simultaneously taking place in Philadelphia this weekend and includes J. Cole, Chromeo, Steve Aoki, Kings of Leon, Pharrell Williams, the National... and Kanye West pulling double-duty.