Imagine Dragons is one of the biggest bands in America today if not the world. That goes without saying. Ever since its original formation in 2008 the band has sold millions of albums, earned more than its share of awards and nominations, appeared on any number of TV shows, and entertained audiences the world over. It even has a brand new single out on the soundtrack to the new romantic dramedy Me Before You. Even in taking some obviously much-needed time off, the band still isn’t showing any sign of stopping. That is because this summer the band will release its first official live recording in the form of Smoke & Mirrors Live. It will be released Friday, June 3rd via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Whether or not a person is a fan of this Las Vegas, NV-based band’s audiences will agree that this record is one more of 2016’s top new live recordings and yet more proof of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leading name in live recordings. This is proven in part by the concert’s set list. That will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance and the overall production are just as important to note in the recording’s presentation as the show’s set list. The concert’s varied platforms and packaging are just as notable in the recording’s presentation as the set list and overall stage show. They round out the most notable of the recording’s elements. Each noted element shows in its own way to be of its own importance to the recording. Altogether they show clearly why Smoke & Mirrors Live is one of this year’s top new live recordings. They also show once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment stands tall to this day as the leading name in live recordings today.
Imagine Dragons’ new live recording Smoke + Mirrors Live is one of 2016’s top new live recordings. It is also more proof as to why Eagle Rock Entertainment stands tall to this day as the leading name in live recordings. This is proven in part through the concert’s set list. The concert boasts a total of twenty songs. Some of those songs stand alone and others are part of mini-medleys. In all the show’s set list pulls almost evenly from both of the band’s albums so far. No fewer than seven songs were lifted from the band’s 2012 debut record Night Visions and ten others from Smoke & Mirrors. The band even included some songs that were included only in certain limited editions of Smoke & Mirrors in the set in the form of ‘Warriors’ and ‘Thief’ alongside a cover of the song ‘Forever Young.’ That covers the show’s twenty total songs. While the set list does an impressive job of covering the band’s body of work so far, there is a slight issue with the set’s presentation. The concert’s Blu-ray/CD combo pack features the concert in whole on Blu-ray. However some of the songs included in the concert’s Blu-ray presentation were omitted in its CD presentation. What’s more, some of the interludes that are included in the Blu-ray presentation were also omitted from the CD presentation. It is problematic to a point that the noted elements have been omitted from the set’s CD presentation. But thankfully at least in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack audiences do still get the full set list and concert experience regardless. Not having the DVD presentation this critic cannot comment on that presentation. Keeping that in mind the set list still proves to be its own important part of S+M Live’s presentation. It is not the show’s only important element. The band’s performance couples with its overall production to form another of the recording’s most important elements.
The set list presented in S+M Live (as it will henceforth be known) is its own important part of the recording’s presentation. That is because it lifts liberally from both of the band’s current albums including songs that were only available in exclusive limited editions of Smoke + Mirrors. Even with the set list being abridged–so to speak–in the recording’s CD presentation, placing the CD with the Blu-ray in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack makes up for that and for the omission of the interludes, too. While the set list ultimately proves important in its own right to the recording’s presentation the band’s performance and stage production are collectively just as important to the recording as the set list. Front man Dan Reynolds keeps audiences completely entertained both in the concert’s more reserved moments and those that are more fiery. That is because of the emotion and energy that he exuded in each moment. Simply put he showed that he was completely involved in the performance. He wasn’t just phoning it in. Sadly there are performers who do try to phone it in. In some cases it works. In others it obviously doesn’t. Luckily his is neither case. His band mates—Wayne Sermon (guitar), Daniel Platzman (drums), and Ben McKee (bass)—along with the rest of the band’s touring members mirror that energy in their own performances. The collective whole of their performances will keep audiences at home just as entertained as those that were in attendance at the concert’s recording.
On a related note to the band’s performance, the concert’s general stage production plays its own role in the recording’s presentation. There’s no pyro or seizure-inducing strobes at any point through the show. Rather, the band utilizes a minimalist set for its show. There are some monitors that utilize lights within their displays. But they are really the extent of the show’s “special effects.” This limits the use of the lights which in turn actually makes them a hugely element in illustrating the mood of each song’s mood. The lights brighten at all of the right moments and dim in the same fashion. They even change colors at just the right moments in order to help illustrate the songs’ mood. When they do start pulsating, that action is limited even in those moments. Simply put the minimalist production used in the band’s stage show proves just as important to the band’s performance as the band’s performance itself. The two work hand in hand in entertaining audiences and keeping them engaged. They show in whole that they are indeed just as important to the concert’s presentation as its relatively extensive set list. They are hardly the last of the recording’s most notable elements. The concert’s platforms and packaging round out its most notable elements.
The set list presented in Smoke + Mirrors Live is its own important part of the recording’s overall presentation. That is the case even with the set list varying between the recording’s visual and audio presentation. The band’s performance and stage production couple for another important part of the recording’s presentation. That is because they work so well together to entertain audiences with their collective energy. There is no arguing the importance of each noted element in the recording’s overall presentation. As important as they are to the whole of the recording they are not the recording’s only important elements. The varied platforms and packaging of the recording are just as important to its presentation as any of the other noted elements. In regards to its platforms it is available in the Blu-ray/CD combo pack which is being examined here. It is also available in a DVD/CD combo pack, standalone DVD and Blu-ray platform, and various digital platforms. This might not seem like much on the surface. But in presenting it in all three formats (and each format being “extended”) Eagle Rock and Universal Music have covered all of their bases. They have essentially reached out to every possible audience group. This was an extremely wise course of action for all involved. The recording’s packaging is just as important as its platforms. That applies primarily to the concert’s physical platforms. Audiences will note that the packaging for both the DVD/CD combo pack and Blu-ray/CD combo pack is exactly the same. It presents both halves of the recording in a gatefold packaging. The discs are each placed on their own spindle in their own respective spot inside the packaging. This greatly reduces the odds of damage to the case and the discs. Audiences that are familiar with multi-disc CD packaging will note that many labels today use thin, plates in the middle of a standard sized CD case in order to save space on CD racks. That does save space. But as thin as said inserts are, they are very prone to breaking because of their fragility. The material used for inserts in multi-disc DVD and Blu-ray packaging is more durable, making it smarter for that platform. Keeping all of this in mind, the packaging used for this (and many other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment) might be bulkier than those from other labels. But it is more durable and better protects the recordings’ discs. So to that end, Smoke + Mirrors Live’s packaging proves in the bigger picture to be just as important to its presentation as its set list, stage production and performance by the band. Each element is equally important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation. Even the program’s main menu plays its own part in the concert’s presentation. Audiences get to see the band prepare for its performance in the recording’s menu. There are also snippets of said performance played against the menu. And they aren’t just short, little snippets either. They are solid samples of each song. Between that and everything else that has been noted audiences get in whole here a recording that audiences in whole will appreciate. This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band’s body of work.
Imagine Dragons’ new live recording Smoke + Mirrors Live is a recording that every viewer will appreciate. This applies regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the band’s body of work. This is due in part to the recording’s extensive set list. The band’s performance and its general stage production work together to keep audiences entertained and engaged from beginning to end. The packaging of both the DVD/CD and Blu-ray/CD combo pack plays its own important part in the recording’s overall presentation, too. The concert’s main menu proves important to its presentation, too even as minor as it may seem. Each element is important to the concert’s presentation in its own special way. Altogether they make Smoke + Mirrors Live a concert that audiences will not only appreciate but will agree is one of 2016’s top new live recordings. They will agree, too that it proves once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment still stands tall as the leading name in live recordings. It will be available in stores and online Friday, June 3rd. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:
More information on Smoke + Mirrors Live is available online now along with all of Imagine Dragons’ latest news and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.