Probably one of the most important elements of any live performance is fun and when Panic! At The Disco showed up at the Oakdale Dome in Wallingford, Connecticut that is exactly what they brought with them. The Las Vegas musicians are currently the headliners on a U.S. tour to promote their latest album Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die which dropped last October.
The anticipation of fans waiting outside in freezing temperatures was enough to keep them warm or at least ignore just how cold they really were. Once inside things heated up quickly with openers X Ambassadors. The alternative group from Los Angeles delivered a blend of melodic rock with a slight hint of something reggae or ska. The music had the crowd engaged and dancing.
The next act was The Colourist from the OC of CA. These pop rockers got a very generous welcome from Connecticut where, they made a point to mention more than once, they had never been to before. The first half of their set was pop music that was good but a bit predicable. However, the second half picked up some momentum and included songs that were more innovative and/or had great hooks. The band definitely has potential.
The next time the lights went down, the crowd was ready for what they had come for. Panic! At The Disco started things off with the anthemic homage to their hometown. “Vegas Lights” from the new album pumped up the already high energy in the room even higher. Things just got better from there.
P!ATD packed sixteen songs and an encore into an hour and a half. The crowd was treated to tracks from the band’s entire catalog. Signature tunes going back to A Fever You Can Sweat Out resulted in sing-alongs to “Time To Dance”, “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is The Press Coverage”, “Camisado”, “Lying Is The Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” and “It’s Better If You Do”. Only one song from Pretty, Odd made the setlist but when it was “Nine In The Afternoon” that was fine. Album three, Vices and Virtues, lent “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”, “Hurricane”, and “Ready To Go (Get Out Of My Mind)” to the mix.
Of course the main purpose of this tour is to introduce old and prospective new fans to Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die. Panic! At The Disco did very well in the selection of the seven songs they chose to showcase. Between superb performances, the production elements of each number were perfectly crafted. For “This Is Gospel” the LED light panels were turned into stained glass windows, in front of which Brendon Urie took the audience to church with inspiring vocals and a whole lot of attitude. For the first single “Miss Jackson” there were steam jets and just before the final chorus the band did a “freeze frame” in front of walls of red lights. To initiate the resumption of the music, Brendon did a backflip from the drum platform. In and of itself the move was impressive, but earlier in the set he had taken a moment to talk to the crowd and apologize for his performance as he was fighting a bad case of the flu. In fact all of Urie’s vocals along with his overall energy throughout the evening were wonderful. Any weakness was more the fault of the sound crew which was the only downside to the entire show.
Another dramatically effective production was for “The End Of All Things”. Urie and the piano stood alone on stage bathed in blue light. This ballad is already a very haunting song and the staging along with the live emotional interpretation made it even more moving. The other tracks from Too Weird… performed during the regular set were “Casual Affair” and “Nicotine”. Most of the audience were very familiar with the new material which, of course, made the experience better for them and for the band.
It was very refreshing to see that not only has Panic! At The Disco’s fan base grown up but they have also garnered a lot more male followers. The majority of the attendees were 16+ and the room seemed to be pretty evenly divided between guys and gals. Combined with the maturing of Panic’s music, it was a very good combination.
Having served up such a great main course for themselves and the audience the band had to return to the stage to finish the meal with a perfect dessert. First came the latest single “Girls/Girls/Boys which, despite the cold outside and his illness, Brendon performed shirtless in homage to the music video. The evening closed with the perfect cherry on top; “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, the band’s very first smash hit single. It proved why there is an exclamation point in Panic! At The Disco.
You can find out the rest of the tour dates and cities at www.panicatthedisco.com