The "Show Me" state of Missouri showed Yahoo! On The Road an awesome time on Wednesday night by singing/screaming along to Imagine Dragons and Owl City! The purple caravan dropped in on a balmy St. Louis at the incredible Pageant theater in the Delmar Loop district -- the biggest venue on tour yet, and for good reason!
Plus, the backstage had a massive shrine of all the bras, underwear, and random sundries scrawled with frantic love messages thrown on stage over the years. Included in the Wall of Fame-Worship: An inflatable E.T. in a bike basket, a strap-on baby bump, and a full window mannequin, in a bikini of course.
The adorable Adam Young of Owl City opened the show with his infectious electronic indie pop that had fans fourteen to forty swaying and starry-eyed. The seemingly shy Minnesota native was bursting at the seams with smiles and shuffles as he flew through his set of yearning love songs and uplifting, car-bumping anthems.
We asked Young what's it like to be on the lighter style of electronic music in the midst of digital behemoths like Skrillex and DeadMau5 dominating the scene in an exclusive pre-show interview. Ever sweet and diplomatic, the musician told us, "I've always wanted to write music that made me feel uplifted and made me feel like I can fly anywhere, go anywhere, do anything, and just kind of leave reality from time to time. My music's sound chose me in that respect, so I was never like, 'I wanna make these really light sounds because this list of reasons.' I just made music and that's what happened."
Young continued, "While I love Skrillex and DeadMau5 and the harder stuff, the way I tend to write just happens to be more catchy and melodic and light." While his music can be described as light in tone and texture, "light" could certainly describe Owl City's effect on the crowd Wednesday night, as we all felt a little lifted afterwards.
With their expansive rock, headliners Imagine Dragons saturated the exclusive show with powerful vocals and explosive songs making for a performance that had everyone from the front row to the video editors watching in the production truck in absolute awe. For the practically flawless band with Berklee training and sights on Coldplay-level respect, their story is your classic coming-of-fame tale.
Founding member and bassist Ben McKee recalled a fledgling band's nightmare come true in our pre-show interview. "Originally we were driving ourselves around in a string of three cars, usually Subaru station wagons," McKee remembered. "Then we graduated to an airport shuttle bus with the wheelchair lift and everything. We were playing our first tour when we were out in that thing, and in Portland while we were playing a show, someone broke into it and stole the like, $1,200 we made during that whole three months of touring, plus and all of our passports and our clothes."
Worst! They never found the culprits, but drummer Daniel Platzman joked, "We did consider going up and down the street looking for people dressed like us. But we realized we dressed like homeless people, so it would've been impossible to find them."
But that setback didn't stop the band from eventually becoming the band to watch. Despite their serious talent and serious chance of superstardom, Imagine Dragons still take the time to mess with other bands, and each other, while on tour. Let's just call them, "Gentlemen of Humorous Pursuits".
Lead singer Dan Reynolds admitted, "I don't like the word 'prankster', but we do prank each other quite a bit. My favorite prank to date is once in a while we'll get Ben to go on stage when another band is playing. He does this dazed thing: He gets in just his underwear and boots and he just wanders on stage really slowly all dazed and confused during their set. He looks out a the audience, looks around, touches a cymbal, just really, really dazed and walks off. We did it Awolnation, Atlas Genius... The reaction of the crowd has always been, intrigued."
McKee pointed out, "The reaction from the band has varied on the band." Reynolds continued, "We don't want to put anyone on blast, but some people have reacted better than others."
As for shenanigans pulled on each other? McKee recounted a prank on Reynolds when he was showering and asked for soap, and was handed a jar of mayonnaise. Given their penchant for weird organic soaps, it took the singer more than a few moments to realize he was lathering up with condiment. His revenge? Salami in McKee's pocket -- who's a vegetarian.
But my heart goes out to their poor engineer, who was offered a box of donuts with a rented tarantula in it!
Even with the threat of some pretty hilarious/terrifying pranks, any musician would take the risk to tour with Imagine Dragons. With sweeping melodies, insane multiple drum solos, and crescendo after crescendo, Imagine Dragons are the genuine definition of "epic" on stage. Not in that slang-y, meme-y way, but in a straight up Homer's Odyssey/Moses parting the Dead Sea/post-apocalyptic intergalactic space war kind of epic.
Up until this point of our Yahoo! On The Road tour, Imagine Dragons are probably the act to beat. But with Empire of the Sun coming up next, it'll be a battle to the death.
Miss our live stream of Imagine Dragons and Owl City? Check out some video highlights from their performances and full set lists below!
Owl City Full Set List:
- Speed of Love
- Umbrella Beach
- Early Birdie
- Sky Diver
- Shooting Star
- Take It All Away
- Deer in the Headlights
- Good Time
Imagine Dragons Full Set List:
- Round & Round
- Tip Toe
- Hear Me
- 30 Lives
- On Top of the World
- It's Time
- Nothing Left to Say