Following the June release of Pray for the Wicked, Panic! At The Disco embarked on a national tour of the same name, and for the second year in a row, the band nearly sold out the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. A sea of concertgoers filled the entire stadium from the floor all the way to the top sections, buzzing with electricity for Panic! At The Disco. Right around Nine in the Afternoon, the show sprang to life, and frontman Brendon Urie popped up into the air from the floor on stage ready to rock and roll, decked out in black leather pants and a glitter-sequined gold and black blazer.
Big sound. Big energy. Big personality. Big show. Panic! At The Disco brought it all to the table and didn’t half-ass anything. To match the booming reinvented sounds of the last two albums—Pray for the Wicked and Death of a Bachelor—the band included a stringed instrument section, as well as a brass section, in addition to guitarist Kenneth Harris, drummer Dan Pawlovich and newly appointed bassist Nicole Row. Incorporating these two small ensembles not only filled the stage with more instruments but also added another dimension of a fuller sound, reminiscent of old-time bandstand tunes. Mimicking the band production, the light show also had a big production of its own. Toyota Center was lit up with vibrant psychedelic colors, as well as entrancing textured visuals on the back panels on stage. Cannons of confetti, showers of sparks, heart lights flickering throughout the audience, flames blazing from the ground and fireworks were also some of the other flashy stage antics that kept the live experience dynamic and entertaining.
Emitting a modern-day Sinatra with a dash of Bowie, Brendon Urie is a quirky ball of energy bursting at the seams—so much so he feels the need to backflip off platforms—and with every performance he delivers, he never disappoints and consistently puts on a great show. At the Toyota Center—and on every tour date no doubt—Urie did not hesitate to showcase his talent and musicianship, and he definitely did not hesitate to let loose his firecracker personality on stage. It was an impressive feat that with an entire man-made stage with a lot of room to cover, he worked it effortlessly, jumping, dancing, strutting and singing his heart out. Going further, Urie took to the floor space, walking through the crowds singing “Death of a Bachelor,” and took to the skies of the stadium during “Dying in LA.”
One of the main draws of Urie’s performance were his vocal talents, and where he found the stamina to fill two hours of intense vocal performance is a mystery. The set list spanned across Panic! At The Disco’s discography with selections from:
- 2005’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,
- 2008’s Odd.,
- 2011’s Vices & Virtues,
- 2013’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!,
- 2016’s Death of a Bachelor and
- 2018’s Pray for the Wicked
In addition, Panic! At The Disco also included covers of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and, of course, their rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which Urie joked that he both loved the song and hated it—hated it because he didn’t write that hit song. Nevertheless Urie met a challenge that demanded a vocal marathon, and he succeeded with flying colors. Even when he was nerve-wrackingly flying and floating hundreds of feet in the air through the stadium with a heavy white piano, Urie maintained a high performance level without faltering. Notorious for his falsetto capabilities, Urie milked them into every song whether or not they were written in the original vocal melodies. His vocals effortlessly soared to new heights into the stratosphere, hitting notes that have probably not been heard from Urie before, especially in his tactful performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And when he wasn’t singing to high heaven, he crooned deeper, rich and soulful tones that resonated in audience’s hearts.
Not only did Urie demonstrate his vocal musicianship, he also indulged in other instruments as well. Throughout the show, he geared himself up with a piano, guitar and had a drum battle with Pawlovich. Urie didn’t just dabble on these instruments, though—he slayed on them, which was inspiring to witness. He’s not a one-dimensional artist—he’s a well-rounded musician with a diversity of talent.
Panic! At The Disco are a treat to see in the live space, filling every second, every minute with entertainment and keeping audiences on their feet dancing and wanting more. More than a regurgitation of greatest hits in set timeframe, the band delivered a visually appealing and bombastic, explosive performance. There’s a reason Panic! At The Disco is still around today and bigger than ever, boasting an upgrade to arena tours and a Grammy nod, to which Urie accredited the group’s success to his fellow band members, the crew and especially the fans. He’s a king of the clouds serenading to his loyal followers, grateful for their undying support.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. You all have impacted me.”
Text and photos by Siri Svay
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.