Daniel and Jessica Sedlar allow that they do not speak much English, and needed to shout to be heard at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Wednesday night.
But the couple from Cologne, Germany are fluent in the universal language of Imagine Dragons — especially the song titles.
“We are on this journey because we won a radio competition last week, in Germany. It was for a trip to see Imagine Dragons. I called the radio, we had to choose three songs. We knew three, yes, of course!”
The couple had been given a quick quiz about Imagine Dragons on the air, and the song titles were the solutions. Daniel recited, “Radioactive,” “Tiptoe” and “Top of the World.” The radio station held the couple’s answers for a day before calling back.
“They told us we would be traveling to Las Vegas!” Daniel said. “They paid, complete, the flight, the Cosmopolitan and this show!”
Said Jessica: “We were flying 12 hours, to stay here, and we are flying back home tomorrow. It is so, so fun!”
This was but one of many tales from Imagine Dragons “Origins” fan experience, which was actually a double-header experience at Stratosphere and the Cosmopolitan on Wednesday afternoon and evening. The unique celebration marked the release of the “Origins” album, the band’s second album in just a little more than a year and a half. A listening party for the new release at the Cosmopolitan precluded the live show.
A heavily cloistered secret among the band’s international fans, the online campaign began in September on the band’s website. Those visiting the site linked into portals, requiring fans to figure out six passwords, then submit an essay to qualify for the invitation-only event. Some radio stations around the world were given tickets and hosted their own contests — which is how the German couple made it to Vegas.
The concert was not open to the public, and was such a closely guarded event that even the band’s hardcore fans in Vegas were wondering what was going on as the band took the stage at the Chelsea.
“To our detriment, we are so fan-focused in creating this, we forget to tell anyone else about it,” Imagine Dragons manager Mac Reynolds said just before Wednesday’s show. “That’s not on purpose. Tonight marked the beginning and end of an album campaign, and this is for the fans. It’s their celebration as much as ours.”
Reynolds spoke of “a crazy series of online puzzles and an online scavenger hunt” that led to the night’s performance. One of the six passwords was a video of the night sky, with flickering lights spelling out the word ORION.
“That was how we started,” Reynolds said. “That was actually the easiest one.”
The first 100 fans to qualify were shuttled from McCarran International Airport to the Stratosphere, where they were given passes for all the rides at the top of the tower and also took part in a reception at 107 SkyLounge. The band was presented on a video, welcoming the fans to Las Vegas, saying they regretted they could not make that particular event — then showed up, in-person, to welcome the group.
“That was very crazy,” Daniel Sedlar said.
The band called out to many Las Vegans who served as catalysts for the band during its formation, including PR Plus owner Alissa Kelly, Studio at the Palms Director Zoe Thrall and Fox 5 anchor Rachel Smith. Original band members Andrew and Brittany Tolman also reunited onstage.
A pair of fans who had seen the band a total of seven times together were swept up in the emotion of the evening. Kelsey Kryger and Taylor Hansbrough made the trip from their hometown of Orlando, Fla.
“We pre-determined that if either of us won, we would take they other,” Kryger said. “I wrote this essay, but I don’t remember what I wrote I didn’t even save it on my computer. Then I got a call, which I let go to voicemail because I didn’t recognize the number, saying, ‘You won!’ ”
“I cried,” Hansbrough said. “We both cried. I was on the kitchen floor, in tears, and here we are in Las Vegas!”