The All-Star rise of Imagine Dragons

JON BREAM | Updated 7/10/2014

America's biggest rock band goes time traveling en route to Saturday's All-Star Concert at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds:  “I’ve got to say Minneapolis was one of the first places to honestly embrace us.” He’s shown during a sold-out March concert at Xcel Energy Center.
Jeff Wheeler

On Friday, Imagine Dragons will headline the T in the Park festival in Scotland. On Saturday, they will rock Major League Baseball’s All-Star Concert in Minneapolis.

Who schedules these things? Scotland one night, Minneapolis the next.

“That’s not even the beginning of it,” Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynold said last week from — where else? — Norway. “First we went to Canada for the Much Music Awards. Then we flew to Hong Kong for the movie premiere [“Transformers: Age of Extinction”] and then we flew straight to Dover, Delaware, for Firefly [Music Festival] and from that we flew to Europe for festivals. I’ve been in so many different time zones. It’s definitely a great problem to have.”

It’s the problem you have when you’re America’s biggest rock band of the moment.

In fact, the Las Vegas quartet has pulled off something that perhaps no other act has done before: gone from clubs to stadiums on the strength of its debut album.

“I can’t think of anybody else who’s done it,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of Pollstar, the concert journal. “I wouldn’t look to Imagine Dragons to tour stadiums following this show. But they are playing lots of big festivals.”

Said Reynolds: “I can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t think any band could dream of what’s happened or prepare for it. None of us knew it would move at this pace. It’s overwhelming.”

The biggest crowd the Imagine Dragons have faced is about 100,000 at the Rock am Ring fest in Germany and Lollapalooza in Brazil. Reynolds can’t remember his biggest U.S. audience. “I just see faces as far as the eye can see,” he said. “It’s a pretty amazing sight.”

This dude drops “amazings” and “awesomes” like Kanye West drops f-bombs.

The All-Star Concert is being set up for a mere 27,000 people at TCF Bank Stadium. Still, Reynolds is amped.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said with enthusiasm that’s beginning to sound routine. “After the last couple of years, it seems like one thing on top of the next of just dream scenarios. This is one that I think will be one for the books — something we’ll remember always.”

Bongiovanni has a good idea why Major League Baseball tapped Imagine Dragons: “They appeal to a wide demographic, they’re not politically risky, and they’re certainly entertaining.”

Drummer digs baseball

Even though he grew up in Nevada, Reynolds is a St. Louis Cardinals fan because one of his older brothers had a Cards cap — and “we had a Nintendo game when I was young and it was when [Cards slugger] Mark McGwire was in his prime, so it was mandatory to play with Mark McGwire if you wanted to beat your older brothers in the games.”

The baseball fanatic in Imagine Dragons is statistics-spouting drummer Daniel Platzman, who will stay in Minneapolis to watch the All-Star Game (“He’s probably more excited about the game than anything else we’ve done as a band to this date,” Reynolds said) with bassist Ben McKee while Reynolds goes home to celebrate his 27th birthday with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter.

Platzman may also visit with the folks at Infinity Drumworks in Blaine, who make the shells of the drums he plays onstage.

The Twin Cities has been a big market for Imagine Dragons, its frontman pointed out.

“I’ve got to say Minneapolis was one of the first places to honestly embrace us,” he said. “It was the first place playing us on the radio.”