Panic! at the Disco as they existed 13 years ago, were vastly different from the current incarnation of the band. In the mid to late 2000’s, the band was made of Brendon Urie – the sole constant member of the band – Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brent Wilson. After releasing their monster debut album “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” as teenagers, they skyrocketed to fame during the pop punk/emo boom of that era. But despite a little more than a decade of lineup changes and in-band drama Brendon Urie has managed to keep the Panic! at the Disco brand both relevant and fresh, approaching each studio album with a different style.
The latest Panic! at the Disco album, “Death of a Bachelor” is the band’s most commercially successful album to date, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, becoming the first Panic! album to go platinum since Fever, and even earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album. Urie himself has evolved into one of the most gifted vocalists in alternative music today. With his velvet voice and sky high vocal range, Urie approached the “Death of a Bachelor” album in the style of a Frank Sinatra record with a brass band backing over his vocals. On top of that, Urie has also grown into a top notch live entertainer.
Currently Panic! at the Disco are on an arena headline tour across North America, dubbed the “Death of a Bachelor Tour,” the show arrived in Worcester, MA on Saturday night and brought with it the buzz of a big time prize fight.
The first of two opening acts, Los Angeles based, Saint Motel took the stage promptly at 7pm playing mostly songs from their most recent album, “saintmotelevision.” In similar fashion to Panic! at the Disco, Saint Motel brings an entire concept with each album, their stage was adorned with a vintage TV console that played visuals along with each show. Frontman A/J Jackson didn’t shy away on the big stage, playing the arena as if it was their crowd in attendance. Saint Motel played a handful of songs including “Born Again” and the album’s first single “Move.”
Following Saint Motel, was New York indie pop band MisterWives. The colorful six piece put on a set that was a dance pop extravaganza with frontwoman Mandy Lee delivering the performance of a seasoned pop star. MisterWives onstage chemistry is a huge part of what makes them a pleasure to watch onstage. Their stage setup was a cacophony of colors right down to the hair colors of the band members of which they had the personalities to match. MisterWives are gearing up for the release of their highly anticipated second album, “Connect the Dots” due in May and played a trio of songs from the forthcoming album, including the album’s recently released first single, “Machine.”
As soon as Misterwives walked off stage, the anticipation began to build for Panic! at the Disco to come on. The feeling in the arena was comparable to the atmosphere of a playoff hockey game or UFC fight, thousands of people waiting with baited breath for the main event to start. For the final 10 minutes before their set, there was an onstage countdown clock which drew louder and louder cheers with each passing minute.
When Panic! finally took to the stage at the DCU Center, the crowd was in hysteria, cheering almost louder than the music. Opening with the high energy number “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time,” frontman Brendon Urie was strutting his stuff, and smiling ear to ear right from the get go. It would become clear that while still performing under the name Panic! at the Disco, the spotlight belongs to Urie. Right around the halfway mark of the show, Urie appeared on a shiny, chrome piano behind the soundboard to play a solo, piano arrangement of “This Is Gospel” a song off their 2013 album “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die.” Urie followed that by walking through the crowd to get back to the stage, putting on the full Sinatra routine for “Death of a Bachelor” the album and tour titular track. As he made his way through the arena floor, Urie was dropping 1940’s colloquialisms like darling, honey, or pal in a true crooner fashion, while interacting with his crowd and wowing them with his charisma.
There are few fan bases as passionate as this one, and it showed in a big way on Saturday night, the crowd hung on every note and cheered and sang along from the first song to the last, even taking it upon themselves to hold up rainbow colored paper hears during the LGBT anthem “Girls/Girls/Boys.”
Most of the evening’s setlist was drawn from the previous two albums including the bands’ 2013 comeback single “Miss Jackson” during which Urie did an athletic backflip off one of the stage risers. Earlier on in the set they paid tribute to their popular debut album by playing a medley of songs from it, playing bits and pieces of “Camisado,” “But It’s Better If You Do,” and “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” and near the end of the show playing “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” in full, as it is perhaps the band’s signature song. Other setlist highlights included a downright stunning cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the set closing “Victorious” which featured everything from pyro and confetti to the venue lights coming on halfway through the song while streamers fell from the ceiling.
By the time the smoke cleared and the fans began making their way to the exits, the general consensus in the crowd was clear, Panic! at the Disco vocalist Brendon Urie has grown into one of the best frontmen and entertainers in the business today. He has everything you need in a rock star, the good looks, the lavish fashion sense, an impeccable vocal range, and the right bled of charisma and bravado that it takes to keep all eyes on him. There aren’t many vocalists or bands that dare to cover “Bohemian Rhapsody” but if you’re going to, you have to take it and run with it the way Panic! does, and create an audio/visual treat for the fans.
Between the showmanship of Urie and his band, the passion of the fans, and the production value of a big time show Panic! at the Disco proved that they’re top notch entertainers in the prime of their career.
Photos from Death of a Bachelor Tour in Worcester, MA - 03.03.17
3/7/17 - Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center 3/8/17 - Cleveland, OH @ Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University 3/10/17 - Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills 3/11/17 - Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena 3/12/17 - St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center 3/14/17 - Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena 3/15/17 - Omaha, NE @ Baxter Arena 3/17/17 - Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center 3/18/17 - Orem, UT @ UCCU Center 3/19/17 - Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena 3/21/17 - Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theater 3/22/17 - Portland, OR @ Moda Center* 3/24/17 - Las Vegas, NV @ Mandalay Bay Events Center* 3/25/17 - Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena 3/26/17 - San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena 3/28/17 - Inglewood, CA @ The Forum 3/29/17 - Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Arena 3/31/17 - Allen, TX @ Allen Event Center 4/1/17 - Houston, TX @ Toyota Center 4/2/17 - Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center 4/4/17 - Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center 4/5/17 - Saint Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center 4/7/17 - Birmingham, AL @ BJCC Arena 4/8/17 - Memphis, TN @ FedEx Forum 4/9/17 - Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center 4/11/17 - Greensboro, NC @ Greensboro Coliseum Complex 4/12/17 - Duluth, GA @ Infinite Energy Center 4/14/17 - Orlando, FL @ Amway Center 4/15/17 - Sunrise, FL @ BB&T Center
Death of a Bachelor Tour Setlist:
Don't Threaten Me with a Good Time
Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)
Camisado / But It's Better If You Do / The Only Difference Between Martyrdom…