There are special live music experiences that go beyond the music, the production, the venue. Some live music experiences feel like an accumulation of all your hopes and dreams, the journey you’ve travelled through life. You hold those moments close to your chest, and never want to lose the feeling that overcomes you during the set. It feels like magic.
Seeing Imagine Dragons live felt like magic.
It was the 19th May, 2019.
It was World IBD Day 2019.
To be completely vulnerable, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2012.
Dan Reynolds – the lead singer of Imagine Dragons – is diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.
World IBD Day celebrates the IBD warriors battling Crohn’s & Colitis, whilst aiming to raise much needed awareness for these invisible illnesses.
To celebrate World IBD Day 2021, I’m going to write about how seeing Imagine Dragons live on World IBD Day 2019 impacted me.
Imagine Dragons have always mastered the art of creating joyful music that empowers, inspires and makes you literally feel On Top of the World.
The world they create for their live shows is nothing short of euphoric. With neon lighting, copious amounts of confetti and larger than life beach balls falling from the sky to pass around – you’re always feeling engaged and united with the band, and the crowd around you. Dan Reynolds’ happiness is contagious as he dances around the stage with an energy that never waivers.
Fans scream the lyrics at the top of their lungs and try their best to interact with Reynolds as he jumps off stage and runs through the crowd – without security too. It’s an incredible atmosphere where you feel free to be your most authentic self.
The beauty of this though, is that it’s not without the acknowledgement of the darkness and struggles we experience in life.
Dan Reynolds dedicates moments of the show to speak about his struggles with mental health. I can honestly say, the speech he shared with the crowd at my show was the most vulnerable I have ever witnessed an artist be on stage. I cried. He reassured the audience that it’s OK not to be OK. He spoke candidly about therapy, of taking time to heal and better yourself. He spoke of the importance of health.
As someone who has experienced similar struggles, I felt seen. Being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease changed my life forever. The physical and mental pain, the isolation, the trauma…it was debilitating. Live music has always been a source of hope and light for me. To have overcome my struggles and be sitting in a crowd of thousands, witnessing Imagine Dragons ignite hope and light in the hearts of the crowd, on World IBD Day of all days…speechless.
To be sharing the momentous occasion with Dan Reynolds, it felt triumphant. I felt empowered and accepted. I felt understood. It’s rare that a performer on stage, who travels the world for their job and is put on a pedestal by many, can ground themselves and speak on a level that relates to all.
I’m so grateful for Imagine Dragons; for their inspiring lyrics, for the safe space they create for fans and most importantly, for their brave front man, Dan Reynolds – who is unafraid to be himself, unafraid to be vulnerable. Dan Reynolds is someone who uses his platform to reassure fans that we can do Whatever It Takes to overcome our challenges and that life is worth celebrating.
To learn more about Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis and see how you can show your support for World IBD Day 2021, please visit Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.
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