By Brad Haynes
The opening lyrics to Panic! At The Disco’s “Hallelujah,” “A moment you’ll never remember, a night you’ll never forget,” could perfectly sum up the band’s Amway Center stop with the Death Of A Bachelor Tour (that is if you discount the first half of the lyric). It was an incredible show and a night to be remembered for a long time to come.
Thirteen years after Brendon Urie helped form Panic! At The Disco, he’s the only original member of the group left, and whereas in other bands that could be an issue, in this one it is a blessing. Urie and his amazing sense of showmanship IS Panic! At The Disco.
After an engaging countdown that had the audience eagerly anticipating the night to come, the show opened with “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” (a threat that the band would easily make good on). By the end of the song, Urie’s unearthly wailing falsetto had the audience going crazy, and it wouldn’t be the last time that he would unleash his stunning vocal pyrotechnics on the audience. Every time his voice soared into the stratosphere, the audience went nuts.
“Golden Days,” a standout from the Death Of A Bachelor album, found a little more staccato aggression courtesy of a killer baritone sax in the live version. The song was also beautifully augmented with an amazing waterfall of golden sparks raining down on the stage.
When it comes to onstage movement, Urie is right up there with the best of them, easily matching the likes of Bruno Mars, Prince and Michael Jackson. And his lithe dance moves were on full display for the entire evening.
Taking it back to where it all began, the Fever medley contained snippets of songs from the band’s first album, A Fever You Can’t Swear Out, giving a clear example of the evolution of the band’s sound.
A brief intermission video gave Urie time to head to the back of the auditorium where he took to the piano (an instrument that he informed the audience he first began playing at the age of 7) for a gorgeous rendition of “This Is Gospel.” He wasn’t to stay at the rear of the house for long though, working his way back through the crowd, and supplying them with much-appreciated hugs and “daps”, as he sang “Death Of A Bachelor.”
There wasn’t a lot of conversation from Urie during the show (which explains how he was able to fit over 20 songs into an hour and a half show), but he did share how he grew to love the music of Phil Collins and Journey as a child. On chore day, where he announced he usually had toilet duty, his parents would play their records. Another one of the artists they introduced him to was Billy Joel, whom Urie declared a legend among men before taking to the piano once more and launching into the Joel classic “Movin’ Out.”
And the piano wasn’t the only instrument Urie demonstrated proficiency with during the night, taking on drumming duty over a couple of Bruno Mars and Rihanna tracks.
“Girls/Girls/Boys,” with the line “love is not a choice,” served as the band’s anthem of same sex love and saw the entire arena holding their lit phones in solidarity. “It’s a critical time in history,” Urie told the audience. “Not being too political, but there’s a revolution coming. And you’ll be right there. You’ll show them what love looks like. So thank you, thank you very much for inspiring me.”
Once again showing reverence for his musical forefathers, Urie sang the praises of the amazing Freddie Mercury before taking on the band’s version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s fitting that the band would perform one of the late singer’s hits since the two artists share a very similar sense of bravura showmanship.
The evening ended with the band’s first big hit, the oddly titled, but incredibly popular, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” and an entire arena singing with gusto about closing the blankity-blank door! It was gorgeous.
Reminding the audience that he has only recently turned 30-years-old, here’s hoping that we are treated to at least 30 more years of Urie (who will be taking his otherworldly stage presence to Broadway this summer as the lead in the musical Kinky Boots) and Panic! At The Disco.