Though the two bands look bizarre sharing a stage, REO Speedwagon’s emotive hard rock and Imagine Dragons‘ sculpted alt rock somehow make sense together. Imagine REO SpeedDragons united this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performing the elder band’s 1978 hit “Roll With the Changes.”
The culture clash is evident at first in the above clip, with Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds adding awkward auxiliary percussion over the song’s anthemic gospel-rock riffs. But the stage-cramming supergroup works better than it should: Reynolds and Speedwagon singer Kevin Cronin have oddly complementary voices, and both bands showcase different sides of the arena-rock spectrum. SpeedDragon stretch out the song past the climactic “Keep on rolling” chant, adding in some dueling guitar solos and gospel yelping.
Though the performance is probably a one-night-only affair, the groups are busy enough on their own. Imagine Dragons released their second LP, Smoke + Mirrors, in February and have intermittent tour dates scheduled from the end of the month until February 2016. REO Speedwagon also have concerts booked throughout the summer and fall.
Kimmel started forming unlikely, pun-friendly supergroups in February with his “Mash-Up Mondays” series. The first pairing featured Weezer and ZZ Top (as “Wee-Z Top”), followed by the union of Haim and funk legends Morris Day and the Time (“Morris Day and the Haim”) and a combined Aloe Blacc and New Jack Swing kings Blackstreet (“Aloe Blaccstreet”). It’s a shame he wasn’t able to create Talking Radioheads or DeerhoofHunter.