Imagine Dragons raises a record $2 million at Las Vegas gala

Updated September 15, 2018 - 9:39 pm

The annual Tyler Robinson Foundation gala is much like Imagine Dragons, the band that founded the charity: Start small, work hard and blow up.

The fifth TRF Foundation Rise Up Gala drew 800 supporters to Palace Ballroom at Caesars Palace on Friday night, raising about $2 million. That number nearly doubles the take from the 2017 event, bringing the all-time total to about $6.5 million to provide assistance to those suffering from pediatric cancer and their families.

TRF’s rapid growth, ignited by Imagine Dragons’ international fame (the band just capped a yearlong world tour) and support from Las Vegas power players, is nothing less than staggering. The event was launched in 2014, in a small event space at Hard Rock Hotel’s convention center.

About 250 guests participated in the inaugural event, which raised $315,000.

Even those in the band’s inner-circle say they never envisioned TRF’s swift evolution.

“If you’d told me five years ago that within a few years we’d raise $2 million in one night, I would have had a hard time believing it,” the band’s manager and TRF Vice Chairman Mac Reynolds said Saturday morning. “But it’s like when you have a small band, you never imagine playing the Grammys, but it happens. It’s the same thing.”

TRF is named for the the late Tyler Robinson, the teenager from Provo, Utah, who found solace and inspiration from the band’s music, especially the song, “It’s Time.” Robinson died of a brain tumor at age 17 in March 2013.

“I think Tyler would have been amazed at this,” Imagine Dragons guitarist Wayne Sermon said on the red carpet before the event. “He would have had his mind blown.”

During the band’s performance that capped the night, Dan Reynolds’ voice quivered as he recalled Robinson’s impact on the band.

“Tyler touched me very deeply,” Reynolds said from the stage. “I have struggled with my religion, my faith, but tonight I feel he is here with us.”

Saturday, a bevy of Vegas Golden Knights and soon-to-be Planet Hollywood headliner Criss Angel enlivened the gala’s live auction.

The Golden Knights offered two auction prizes: A package of 14 signed jerseys, 14 VIP suite tickets to the team’s next home game against the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena (with all food and beverage supplied) and a ride on the Zamboni (it was not specified if everyone rides the Zamboni, or just one guest). The other was a four tickets to a Golden Knights game and another four VIP tickets to the team’s official gala in January.

Two bidders spent $44,000 apiece on the Ducks’ package. Two spent $30,000 each on the game/gala package. The total take from just those two Golden Knights auction lots was nearly $150,000.

Meantime, Angel had donated $50,000 before the event and won a silent-auction bid for $9,000 for a trip to Fashion Week in New York in February. From his table during the live auction, Angel pledged another $50,000 to TRF — provided Imagine Dragons makes a return appearance at Angel’s next H.E.L.P. (Heal Every Life Possible) cancer charity fundraiser, tentatively planned for next September at Planet Hollywood.

Angel’s organization supports pediatric care, and is named for Angel’s 4-year-old Johnny Crisstopher, who is being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Johnny and Shaunyl Benson, the boy’s mother and Angel’s ex-wife, joined Angel at Saturday’s event.

Actor and comedian Joel McHale hosted the event for the second time. He was suitably sarcastic, and consistently funny, once again jabbing at Mac Reynolds, who used to wear his hair tied in a ponytail.

“It’s good to see you’ve finally cut the ponytail,” McHale said. “I’m sure it was getting caught in revolving doors.”

Bassist Ben McKee later took on McHale from the stage. McHale noted McKee’s suit — a mustard-colored three-piece splashed with GUCCI logos, which the musician wore with a matching tie — but without a shirt.

“What did the folks at Gucci say when you bought that suit?” McHale pressed.

“They popped champagne!” McKee said, then referred to the suit as, “The ‘Spy Kids 4’ of suits,” bringing up one of McHale’s critically panned movies.

The band dealt several awards during the night. The Golden Knights accepted the Community Impact Award, Live Nation was presented the Corporate Humanitarian Award, 17-year-old Florida singer/songwriter and pediatric fundraiser Tris Weeks was presented the TRF Ambassador Award, business executive/Imagine Dragons business manager Jeff Schwartz was honored with the TRF Legacy Award.

Just as the program was about to conclude with an auction of guitars, Live Nation Vice President of Touring Omar Al-Joulani pledged another $100,000 to ensure the gala hit the $2 million mark. That conversation was at the side of the stage, outside of the formal fundraising effort just a few feet away.

The night ended with the Dragons’ live performance, many songs just called out by the band as if they were playing at the Pub at Monte Carlo or Beauty Bar on Fremont East. They closed with their lone cover, Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me.”

The song is a favorite of Reynolds, who soulfully sang, “Lean on me, when you’re not strong. And I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” You felt that friend, the young man whose bravery started it all, was singing along.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like