Imagine Dragons playing before a sold out crowd at the Great Hall at Union Station in downtown Hartford. (Nick Caito)
Talking to a few people earlier this week, there was a question that came up several times: “Was there something going on downtown Tuesday night?”
The simple answer to that is, well, yes.
You may not know it, but there are concerts happening at Union Station. Yes, that Union Station, where you may have caught a bus home before bringing a car to college, and where the bathrooms smell like fresh bread from Subway.
This concert happened to involve the bands AWOLNATION and Imagine Dragons, both newer bands that play that blend of rock and electronics with beachy left coast overtones that is so popular with the kids these days.
Zeale opening for Imagine Dragons and AWOLNATION at Union Station in Hartford. (Nick Caito)
So popular, in fact, that the concert sold out weeks ago.
There was no question as to how amped this crowd would be, and the rock stars fed off of it and fed into it.
Zeale, a hip hop / rock artists from Austin started into the crowd. Between hyping up his twitter handle (@Zeale) and running around stage spitting lyrics, he asked Hartford to put their hands in the air. It’s always a little awkward when nobody actually puts their hands in the air, but this time Hartford listened.
Dan Reynolds and D. Wayne Sermon (left) of Imagine Dragons, playing at Union Station in Hartford. (Nick Caito)
Imagine Dragons brought on a commanding performance, with frontman Dan Reynolds seeming like he wanted to dive off stage to join the crowd surfers. Cheers went up as Dragons went into “It’s Time,” the song that helped launch their ascent earlier this year.
Going into their third song, “America,” Reynolds paused to dedicate it in honor of the heroes and victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. It was a poignant moment to remember a similar Tuesday eleven years ago.
AWOLNATION at Union Station in Hartford. (Nick Caito)
AWOLNATION played with a similar intensity that just isn’t present on recording, plowing through “Not Your Fault,” “Guilty Filthy Soul,” and launching spine-chilling power behind “Sail.” There were lots of hands in the air.
Aside from being a great show with a huge amount of energy, it was simply a great sight to see more than a thousand people for a rock show smack in downtown Hartford.
Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION at Union Station in Hartford. (Nick Caito)
Though it’s very unique for a venue, keeping the sound system in check was a concern for concerts at Union Station. The expansive room, with tiled floors and high ceilings, isn’t exactly, how should we say, acoustically optimal. Massive black curtains around the room help, and the presence of so many people helped dampen the brutal reverberation.
A less than well-attended show two weeks ago with P.O.D. and Jamey Jasta suffered from a smaller crowd, where the echo seemed to only heighten the vastness of the room’s empty space.
AWOLNATION’s set list:
Intro / Megalithic Symphony
Guilty Fithy Soul
Not Your Fault
Kill Your Heroes
All I Need
Burn It Down
Knights Of Shame