Imagine Dragons Perform At 2022 KROQ ‘Almost Acoustic’ Christmas Party

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the iconic L.A. event and also featured Jimmy Eat World and The Black Keys.

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Imagine Drgaons - Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Imagine Dragons, Jimmy Eat World and The Black Keys were among the stars performing at the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Party.

The event marked the 30th anniversary of the iconic L.A Christmas party and was homecoming for Almost Acoustic. Longtime program director Kevin Weatherly, is back at the helm and, after a two-year absence, the show also returned to the Kia Forum, having spent 2019 at Honda Center in Orange County.

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There’s something to be said about Christmas radio shows that pop up across the country every December. More traditional music festivals have their perks, and definitely the headliners, but KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas has the hits. Each set is jam-packed with songs the crowd will inevitably sing along to, even if they didn’t realize how many songs they actually know — a stark contrast to waiting for that one TikTok chorus and then losing interest. And a station like KROQ has decades of hits, and the artists behind them, at their disposal.

“KROQ, you’re the reason we have a career. Thank you for that,” said Imagine Dragons’ frontman, Dan Reynolds. Following a more laid back but shredding set from the Black Keys, complete with familiar puffs of smoke floating up from the crowd, the chart-toppers closed out the night with a colossal performance. Showcasing how radio-heavy their catalogue is, Imagine Dragons powered through their biggest tracks including “Believer,” “It’s Time,” “Natural,” “Radioactive” and their Arcane hit “Enemy.” With a setlist and performance crafted for stadiums, it’s easy to how the contemporary act worked their way up to headline status.

There’s a very specific history when it comes to the SoCal KROQ sound and the bands that helped shape it. Over the years, a handful of veteran KROQ bands have become regulars at the Christmas show. The Black Keys, certainly no strangers to this event, brought a ripping musical technicality in their tight, bluesy set that included alternative staples “Tighten Up,” “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Howlin’ For You.” The slowed-down, acoustic intro for “Little Black Submarines” had the audience lighting up the Forum sky with their flashlights before ending the set with everyone on their feet for the dancey “Lonely Boy.”

A couple of other KROQ mainstays, Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Eat World, embarked on their 5th and 6th Almost Acoustic Christmas, respectively. Ben Gibbard and company snuck into the crowd’s feelings with poignant lyrics and sing-alongs to “I Will Possess Your Heart” and “Soul Meets Body.” Jimmy Eat World, having played Almost Acoustic Christmas more times than any other band on the lineup, showcased a parade of hits.

Kicking off strong with “A Praise Chorus,” they continued to jam through timeless songs that everybody knows and will forever be known to alternative music fans like “Pain,” “Bleed American,” the ultimate crowd participation song “Sweetness” and the track that put them on the map, “The Middle.” They were the only band to do a Christmas song, their cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas.”

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