Imagine Dragons puts on an intimate concert for lucky Bangkok fans
There’s a chilling scene in the documentary Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, which shows members of the rock band The Police being shepherded through a crowd in a limousine. There’s no sound but the thud-thudding of hands on their car as it passes, and the screen fills up with nameless faces peering in through the glass, frightening in the ferocity of their fandom. Little wonder these artists live rarefied lives in impenetrable towers and tinted cars. And we’re left, willing to pay heavily to see our musical demigods in the flesh, belting out the tunes that build or break our hearts.
One such opportunity came to a fortunate few on Friday, September 8th when the multi-platinum, biggest-rock-band-of-the-moment, Imagine Dragons, performed at the new Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park hotel. The by-invitation-only concert was organized exclusively for 500 guests and loyalists of the Marriott Rewards programme, to celebrate the launch of the 1,360-room hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22, the flagship brand’s first Marquis designation property in Asia-Pacific. Bringing the band to Bangkok is Marriott’s latest offering in partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG), to go above and beyond what’s typically expected of a hotel chain.
“By joining the biggest name in hospitality with the world’s leading music company, Marriott and UMG are providing music fans around the world with unique, exclusive experiences with some of today’s brightest stars at some of the world’s most prestigious properties,” explained Mike Tunnicliffe, Head of UMGB, US.
A deceptively simple stage was contained within a makeshift tent by the hotel’s pool and before the concert began the gathered glitterati, which included influencers and press from around the world, milled about sipping wine, nibbling on hors d’oeuvres, and toying with the free, flashing glasses provided at the door. The mood changed in an instant at 8:30pm when smoky blue lights lit the stage. Front man Dan Reynolds’ utterance of “Sawadee khap” was borne across the tent by world-class acoustics, causing fans to cheer as a riotous one in return. And in response the band—made up of Reynolds, Wayne Sermon on guitar, Ben McKee on bass, and Daniel Platzman on drums—launched into the first song of the evening, “Thunder”, the hit single from their latest album, Evolve.
Reynolds was engaging and oddly relatable, dressed in a loose, half-sleeved, button-down shirt, bouncing to the beat and hitting his vocal highs. The talented band did an epic job of maintaining the spirited energy of the crowd as they ran through their 60-minute set, highlights of which included “Believer”, “It’s Time”, “Whatever It Takes”, “I Bet My Life”, “Walking the Wire”, and of course, the longest-charting single ever on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts, “Radioactive”—which had Reynolds holding court banging away at a large drum while frenzied fans chanted along to the catchy hook.
Despite their arena rock feel, the big, booming choruses, and the grandiose anthems, the scaled-down cozy venue seemed to work fine for the Las-Vegas quartet, who got their start playing the casino circuit there.
Many times through the show, being a few hands away from Reynolds’ outstretched arm and Sermon’s wavy-haired, guitar-wielding person, I had to pinch myself. How is this band, that sells out stadiums and has already won two AMAs, five Billboard Music Awards, and a Grammy—didn’t Target just spend a staggering $8 million on a single ad with them?—come to be playing in Bangkok to a group no larger than the crowd at any Thai wedding… and for free?!! It’s the sort of money-can’t-buy experience that Marriott expects will differentiate them from their competition, and that memorable Friday night the proof was undoubtedly in the pudding.
One look at the adoring throng clawing for the drumsticks Reynolds casually threw out at closing was enough proof that this was an unforgettable experience; the kind of experience that builds the kind of loyalty you can’t put a price on.
For concert replay and other information, visit: www.facebook.com/marriottrewards
By Rianka Mohan