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Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds on Las Vegas After Tragedy: ‘I Know We’ll Bounce Back’

Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds on Las
Roger Goodgroves/REX/Shutterstock

Adversity brings out the pride in a city’s residents, and in the wake of the horrific shootings at the Route 91 festival Sunday night, Las Vegas natives Imagine Dragons are no exception. “Even though Vegas is seen as this tourist destination, there’s a real sense of community there, and pride,” frontman Dan Reynolds told Variety on Monday during a conversation about both the tragedy and the city that spawned the band. “It’s devastating.”

Have you ever felt unsafe on the Vegas Strip?
Typically no, because there’s so many cops and people around that you typically feel safe. But now with events like this it makes you feel a little more concerned about being in public areas, period.

Do you know people who were at the show?
My best friend from middle school was [at the concert] bartending. He was on the phone sobbing, telling me he barely got out of it. He hid behind the bar, and right when the gun shots paused, he jumped over and said there were people all over the ground. He ran, hopped a fence and got into a stranger’s car. And my brother is an anesthesiologist [at a city hospital] — people were coming in all night with gunshot and shrapnel wounds.

Do you think anything could have been done to prevent the shooting?
I don’t know the answer to that. If someone has enough hate in their heart, they’re going to try to find a way and act upon it. There’s only so much you can do. I have a friend who’s on the police force in Vegas and I know that they have been working tirelessly and responded within just a couple minutes, and they’ve been on the scene since last night. They did an incredible job from what I’ve seen. It’s just devastating.

Do you ever fear getting on stage?
Yeah. I really try to put that out of my mind, always. We have really thorough security at all our venues, we have the infrastructure to be able to put in metal detectors and we always go the extra mile in that. Of course, I’ve had the thought creep into my mind to have some sort of fear, but I refuse to let anyone take away the most beautiful part of humanity for me — which is music and gathering people together.

Will the band be changing anything about your security?
Even though we have a high level of security at our shows, we said, “Let’s bump up the security even more.” We’re going to do everything in our power to make our concerts a safe space.

Are you thinking about doing a tribute concert?
It’s just so soon right now. I’m more concerned about making phone calls to make sure I haven’t lost any close friends in this process — one of my best friends since childhood was there. But from there I’m sure we’re going to do everything we can as a band to try and help our hometown, and I’m sure we’ll put our brains together and see if we can find a way to help.

What do you love about living in Vegas?
Vegas has a community and a culture that, for the most part, the world doesn’t know about. People think of Vegas and just think of hotels on the strip. There’s cool music venues for locals, the Red Rock Fountains, Lake Mead. I take a lot of pride in the city and I think it’s a beautiful place that’s continuing to grow, and we’re not going to let some individual strike fear into people’s hearts. It’s a resilient city and I know that we’ll bounce back and be even stronger.