Swear To Shake It Up: Panic! At The Disco Concerts in Review

28 songs, three rounds of confetti, two stages, and one flying piano. You want to see a show? Go to a Panic! At The Disco concert. I’ve been a Panic! fan for over five years and have been fortunate enough to see them live in concert four times. It may seem excessive to see the same band four times. After all, how much really changes from one tour to another? When it comes to Panic!, it turns out that the answer is a lot. The reason that Ticketmaster can count on receiving my money every time Panic! announces a tour without fail is because they are the most entertaining, engaging, and exciting performers that I have ever seen.

While I’m usually an advocate for small venues in order to maintain intimacy between the performer and the fans, Panic! is the perfect example of why larger venues such as arenas can be necessary and beneficial. The band has graduated from the House of Blues in Boston to the DCU center in Worcester (a difference of 12,000 people) over the course of five years. However, while I would usually accuse bands of this nature of being on the verge of selling out, Panic! utilizes every aspect of their larger venues. Brendon Urie, lead singer of Panic! At The Disco, consistently uses two stages for his performances: a main stage with a runway that extends out onto the floor and a b-stage at the back of the arena. By employing two stages at shows, he makes sure that even those who couldn’t get seats close to the main stage have an opportunity to be engaged and close to the action. He adds to this engagement of the crowd by implementing a flying piano, which he plays as it moves over the crowd. It allows everyone to feel closer to the performance, as well as makes for an incredible spectacle. As if multiple stages and flying musical instruments weren’t enough, Brendon also walks through the crowds on the floor as he sings “Death of a Bachelor”, an event otherwise known as the “Death Walk.” Starting at one end of the arena and weaving through the floor, he makes his way from one stage to another, stopping for plenty of hugs and greetings along the way. He tries to acknowledge as many fans as he can in the span of the song, including nods, smiles, and handshakes when he doesn’t have the time to stay in one spot for too long. Even fans who are not lucky enough to actually come in contact with Urie can appreciate the gesture (I’ll admit that I’ve cried from my stadium seats not just out of jealousy, but also of extreme joy). The entire arena fills with an indescribable, radiant energy.  

On this tour, the show opened and closed with confetti, with another blast halfway through the show for good measure. The visuals displayed on the screens behind and above the band are either fun edits of accompanying music videos or creative animations illustrating lyrics. Lights dance across the stage and over the audience, multicolored and coordinated to the beat of the music. One of my favorite parts of the lighting at Panic! shows is that while they include lots of lights throughout the show, I have never experienced full-on strobe lights at any of their concerts, which is great for fans (including myself) who can begin to feel ill after witnessing strobe lights in action. In addition to the lights that are designed for the performance, fans also contribute to the lighting of the event. Since the release of the song “Girls/Girls/Boys” off of their studio album Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die, fans have organized the distribution of colored paper hearts that are held up in front of phone flashlights while the song is played live. Originally, the colors were randomly dispersed throughout the venues and were handed out to crowds waiting outside of venues by hand. However, as of the last few tours the arena is organized in rainbow order with the paper hearts waiting on the floor in front of each seat in the arenas. It’s an incredibly beautiful and comforting thing to be a part of, and Brendon has spoken on many occasions about how much he appreciates the display and even considers it to be one of his favorite parts of touring.

If you’re not already convinced, there are still a plethora of reasons why Panic! concerts are worth the money and more importantly are a good time. Brendon is not a fan of talking very much during the shows, between songs or otherwise. However, while this is unusual for most bands, it allows Panic! to play an incredibly long set. This tour, the setlist was 28 songs long compared to the usual 15-20 song range. Although inevitably their most popular songs and singles are constants across all the setlists from every tour, Panic! also does a great job of playing songs off of their most recent album. On this tour for their latest album Pray For The Wicked, they played nine of the 11 songs included on the album. In addition to all the previously mentioned factors, there are small touches throughout the show that can be appreciated and praised. Before their set, Panic! displays a 10-minute countdown clock on the screens on stage. This eliminates the anxiety of wondering when the show will begin, and also allows everyone to be properly prepared for the show to start instead of having to jump up when the show surprisingly starts. In addition, they have a completely live band, consisting of a guitarist, bassist, drummer, three piece orchestra, and three piece brass section. Similarly, they barely use pre-recorded tracks or backing vocals, which is noticeable when Brendon sings his infamous high notes instead of the usual vocals and there is no echo of what was supposed to be playing behind him. In general, Brendon is also super sweet to fans. At the show I went to earlier in the month, he took time to sign a hand-painted jacket brought by a girl on the floor, and always accepts pride flags from the audience to wear proudly across his shoulders during “Girls/Girls/Boys.”

Panic! At The Disco know how to put on a show, and I highly recommend that you find out for yourself by going to one of their concerts. Crowd engagement, long sets, live music, and more enhance the experience and elevate Panic! shows above normal concerts. There is no need to think about whether or not Panic! shows are worth the time and money, because I can guarantee you that they are. Panic! At The Disco concerts are an experience that you’ll never forget.

 

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