After skyrocketing to No. 1 on the iTunes charts within hours of releasing Death of a Bachelor, Panic! at the Disco--now only comprising leading man Brendon Urie--traveled to London and New York for special performances. His latest stint was a sold-out show at the Los Angeles Tower Theater, where fans had lined up over 24 hours prior. Fans, family and friends alike filled the theater, including fellow rock musicians Jack Barakat from All Time Low and Ashton Irwin and Luke Hemmings from 5 Seconds of Summer.
Text and photos by Siri Svay
The set, lasting almost an hour and a half, spanned all of Panic!'s discography and could easily be the makings of a "Best of Panic! At The Disco" compilation or any die-hard fan's typical Panic! playlist. Urie performed oldies-but-goodies "Time to Dance," "9 in the Afternoon," "New Perspective," "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" and, of course, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." For the most part, he kept the show moving along without prolonged, awkward small talk transitioning between songs; he got right to the point with cheesy lines to introduce songs.
A cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" crept its way into the setlist, where Urie played the piano, and he jokingly claimed he wrote the song. Ever since he first played Queen's hit around the Vices & Virtues era, he and the song have become an entity--people outright request for him to play it at live shows--and he delivers every time. He does the song with enough justice that it's almost unthinkable to not have it in the setlist.
Audiences who have seen Panic! before know that Urie has incredible live performance ethic, and audiences will always be entertained from the start to the end. He mentioned he was sick and that he apologizes in advance if mucus comes flying out of his mouth, but he still gave a great performance, especially his vocals--he goes gospel and sings with so much soul that he fills the entire theater with his resonant falsetto. For a lot of the songs, he incorporated the high-register vocal run wherever he could, and it was definitely a crowd pleaser because they're usually not written in the original song.
Most of the time, he was standing in the center of the stage with just a microphone and soundboard to modify his vocal filters and play sound effects, but in addition to amazing vocals, Urie showcased his ability as a multi-instrumentalist by playing rhythm guitar ("New Perspecitve," "This is Gospel"), piano ("9 in the Afternoon," "Bohemian Rhapsody") and drums ("Let's Kill Tonight").
Overall, a lot of musical energy was pumped into this show. Being a spectator and a fan, it might not seem like so, but thinking about the entire hour and a half altogether, one has to wonder how he holds himself together night after night with that amount of energy. He's a kid at heart, so spirited and energetic. He's a passionate singer with animated facial expressions, he constantly jumps with the music, breaks out into dance and at one point, he backflipped on the stage and landed perfectly on his feet.
Toward the later part of the set, Urie made a speech about how he's not ending the show with "I Write Sins…" (which would probably be the typical closer) and how he's not doing the encore fake out because, "I don't want you guys stroking my ego--I just wanna play more songs for you guys." Instead, the night ended on a high with "Emperor's New Clothes," which is quite interesting…
Through Geniu.s' #BehindTheLyrics, Urie revealed that "Emperor's New Clothes" celebrates him taking complete control of Panic! at the Disco, so having the song as the closer gives this reviewer chills. The very first lyric states:
Welcome to the end of eras
which can literally translate to the end of the full-band Panic! and he's "taking back the crown" as the sole member. He later writes that "heroes get remembered but legends never die," so with Brendon Urie imprinting his vision on the future Panic! at the Disco, the king is taking his throne.
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.