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November 16, 2018

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Imagine Dragons’ charitable pulse still strong in Orlando benefit concert

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Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net

Imagine Dragons bassist Ben McKee, lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne “Wing” Sermon and drummer Daniel Platzman perform at the “Imagine a World Without Cancer” gala Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, at the Fours Seasons.

Imagine Dragons Headline Benefit

The Tyler Robinson Foundation benefit gala “Imagine a World Without Cancer” headlined by Imagine Dragons on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, at the Four Seasons. Launch slideshow »

Ben McKee was peacefully navigating the Rogue River in Southern Oregon on the night of the terrible shootings at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

So he did not immediately learn of that tragedy and was not aware even the next day of what had unfolded in Florida as the gay club closed late at night June 12. Those who raft that choppy waterway are unshackled from cell service and blithe to social media posts.

“It was two days later that I got off the river, which is like an eternity, before I realized this horrible, horrible thing had happened,” said McKee, bassist for Imagine Dragons, who had been rafting on the river with his sister over the weekend of the shootings that left 49 people dead and another 53 injured.

“But the first thing I thought was, ‘We need to do something.’ ”

The “we” in this instance is the Las Vegas-based rock band, and the “something” is the freshly announced “All Is One Orlando Unity Concert” set for Thursday night at Hard Rock Live Orlando.

Joining the band in the performance is co-headliner Nate Ruess, frontman of indie pop band Fun, with proceeds delivered to the One Orlando Fund.

The just-established organization is providing support for victims and survivors of the shootings, their families and communities affected by the Orlando tragedy.

How can someone in Las Vegas help support this show in Orlando? Simple: Purchase a ticket to the show for any first responder who descended on Pulse on the night and morning of the shootings. The cost is $150, $200 for table seats, and tickets are available at the Hard Rock Live box office at HardRockLive.com, (407) 351-54893 and Ticketmaster.com.

Members of Imagine Dragons chose Hard Rock Live because of the company’s long association with the band and its own chosen charity, the Tyler Robinson Foundation.

“We’ve worked with Hard Rock a number of times before, in our ongoing TRF events, and they’ve always given us an amazing venue right in our own hometown to perform,” said McKee during a phone conversation from his residence in Oakland, Calif. (he splits time between the Bay Area and Las Vegas these days).

“We played Hard Rock Live very early, and also the Hard Rock Cafe on Paradise in 2008 or early 2009, right around then, for one of our first actual headlining shows.”

McKee said that even in the face of an unimaginable tragedy, he was heartened to see such swift coordination of charitable action.

“If you get beyond all the sensationalism that happens in the first hours after something like this, you see everybody coming together,” he said. “It’s absolutely tragic, but the resulting support is really something beautiful.”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow Kats on Instagram at Instagram.com/JohnnyKats1.

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