Panic! At The Disco
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney NSW
October 6th, 2018
At this point Panic! At The Disco need no introduction. If you’re reading this you’re emo ass knows exactly who this band is and exactly how incredible they are live, hell you probably had a Brendon Urie poster on your wall at some point. Regardless of the band now really just being Urie’s solo project, after over a decade the show still holds up.
We begin with lines. Lines for food, lines for merch and lines to get in. It’s in these classic fan culture environments that you make the best of friends; that general social excitement resulted in an almost packed arena thirty minutes before the opening act. It’s worth mentioning the group of five in the seats who decided to perform a fully choreographed light dance using phone torches and managed to get half of the dance floor to join in. The things people do in the face of boredom with a deprivation of internet.
The night begins with Central Coast-native E^ST. As I was lucky enough to see this gloriously talented artist kill it at Yours And Owls a week prior (coverage here), I was pretty excited for her debut arena performance… and I was not the only one; Jumping on to the stage with Alien friends in hand, She bounces around with the confidence of a veteran. With a fantastic setlist mix of bangers off of her newest EP Life Ain’t Always Roses and older jams including my personal favourite and all round crowd pleaser ‘Life Goes On’, it’s impossible to keep your eyes off her entrancing performance and she leaves the stage with an arena full of new fans in tow.
Time to Panic! The set opens with confetti cannons and the opening bars of ‘(Fuck a) Silver Lining’ are hammered out by the energetic touring band. Urie swings onto stage with the energy of a 10-year-old on a sugar high and the crowd seemingly straps in for an intense night. His stage presence is genuinely captivating, and every eye in the room follows him as he prances through absolute banger ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time’, classic hit ‘Ready To Go’, and the danceable masterpiece ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’ which honestly I’ve yet to be able to sit still through that song so seeing it live was a particular highlight. ‘La Devotee’ and ‘Hallelujah’ follow with a similar response; the crowd are singing back every word and Urie is showing off his ridiculous vocal range that seems to only been strengthened since his stint on Broadway, if that was really even possible at this point. This is followed by the classic ‘Ballad Of Mona Lisa‘, which really is an example of how much his vocal talents have improved. His performance is honestly captivating.
Speaking of vocal range… Now I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I’m pretty sure Panic are the only band in recorded history that have pulled off ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ other than Freddie Mercury himself. Needless to say, the performance of such cover never fails to impress, and the additional visual replication of the music video was an amusing touch. The show continues with a slew of older tracks including the pop anthem ‘Golden Days’, the sensual ‘Casual Affair’ and ‘Vegas Lights’ and the energetic ‘Dancings Not A Crime’. The latter of which seems to hit the crowd with a burst of energy.
It’s at that moment we enter the portion called ‘Make everyone in the crowd either cry or chill’. Starting with the ode to original drummer Spencer Smith, ‘This Is Gospel’, which garnered a passionate response from everyone involved; that song has a talent for hitting you in the heart. It’s followed by the classic jazz tribute ‘Death Of A Bachelor’, then he walks to the piano… “My mum used to play this to me, to calm me down as a kid” Urie’s cover of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ is actually tear-jerking and the fact the piano so smoothly transitions into ‘Dying In LA’ just assures there isn’t a dry eye in the room. ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ has turned into somewhat of an LGBTQ anthem; by the end of the song Urie has about 70 flags around his neck and everyone’s torches are coloured, making the arena look like one colourful nest of fireflies. It was truly an experience for everyone Urie included:
“The fact you’ve done that lets me know we’re all on the same page”
After some interesting transition music, the next portion of the show starts off with the wondrous ‘Nicotine’ which has one of the coolest drum bits they’ve ever done and it’s done justice live. It’s followed up by an energetic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ as a tribute to his stint on Broadway in the Kinky Boots production, written by Lauper herself. The rest of the set was filled with more songs from their last three albums, including ‘High Hopes’, ‘Miss Jackson’, ‘King Of The Clouds’ and ‘Crazy=Genius’, his stage presence continuing to thoroughly entrance even those who were seemingly exhausted. ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ is the only song left from Pretty Odd that makes it into the setlist these days, that being said it’s definitely appreciated as it’s met with the warmth of an old friend. It’s also immediately contrasted with the aggressive anthem that is ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’. I’d best describe the two as the difference between a good and a bad acid trip.
Then it was time…
The encore provided a lot more banter then the rest of the show, which gave a more intimate vibe. Beginning with the single off of their newest album Pray For The Wicked, ‘Say Amen’, Urie proceeded to grab a beer, put his sunnies on and proclaim that now that he’s 31 if he downed said beer, he’d be on the floor. Everyone knew what the trip down memory lane was leading up to and the anticipation was palpable.
The iconic beginning riff of ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ plays and the vibe transcends to a whole new level of crazy, as the crowd screams back every word. It’s also always really cool to see how that song has changed over the last 15 years. The sets rounded out with the glorious ‘Victorious’; there was fire, confetti, strobe lights, the whole shebang.
It will forever be a treat to see Panic! At The Disco perform and this phenomenal celebration of emo was no exception.
Review Bree Vane @Briebrebree
Revisit our review of Panic! At The Disco‘s new album Pray For The Wicked here
Panic! At The Disco