Written By Matty Jiles
Although Brendon Urie is the sole remaining full-time member of Panic! At The Disco, the band’s live show really shows off the fact that Panic is a team effort.
On Tuesday, July 18th, 2018, Panic! At The Disco graced Chicago’s United Center with their own unique brand of over-the-top- theatrical fun. Aided by hits from all of Panic’s six studio albums, the band put on one of the most high energy shows you’ll see today in the pop or rock scenes. The show rarely gave the audience a minute to relax, throwing high energy sing-alongs continuously through the night. This was not a bad thing at all, as the set was extremely upbeat and fun.
After an enthralling strings intro, the show kicked off with a bang, literally. The band slowly ascends to the stage from platforms, until a moment of silence hits. The lights go dark, and a spotlight hits center stage. Finally, Urie makes his grand entrance, springing up in the air with the sound of a bang, and kicking off “(F**k A) Silver Lining”. This song was perfect to kick off the set and immediately got the audience dancing and screaming along.
Although the set primarily contained songs from Panic’s three most recent albums (Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, Death of A Bachelor, and 2018’s Pray for the Wicked) older favorites were among the highlights of the night. “Nine in The Afternoon” featured Urie playing Piano, along with horns and strings. This was one of the most musically fulfilling moments of the night, as this song really came to life. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” was the sole song featured from Panic’s debut album, and showed why, as it had one of the best and loudest crowd reactions throughout out the night.
Panic is also no stranger to covers, and this time had two to offer. Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” has become a fan favorite, and it is still one of the nights best moments. Urie’s impressive vocal range along with the band's musical skill helps bring this challenging and legendary song to life. The band also performed Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” which gave Urie a moment to talk about his Broadway experience on “Kinky Boots” (which has noticeably given Urie a new level of stamina with his singing). This was a truly impressive and fun cover that fits in with the band’s set well. Who would have known that Brendon Urie singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” would end up being so entertaining?
Panic! At the Disco is known for their shows being a big production, and the Pray for The Wicked Tour took their production to the next level. Colorful lighting and the graphics on the screen behind the band allowed each song to have its own unique feel and made the show very dynamic. The show left me in absolute awe many times, as the production crew made the show feel like no other. The stage crew also helped make some pretty incredible moments happen. From Urie playing piano on a flying platform during “Dying in LA” to a brief yet impressive drum solo by Urie on a drumset that popped up from a platform under the stage. There is no doubting Urie’s incredible talent and stage presence, but the crew allowed him to showcase his talent even more and take it to the next level.
Not only was Panic’s show visually spectacular, but the level of skill from each of the touring members really added lots to the band’s already bombastic songs. Alongside Panic’s current touring members (Nicole Row-bass, Kenny Harris- Guitar, Dan Pawlovich- drums) was both a horns and strings section. The added instrumentation helped make the songs feel grand, dynamic, and epic in a way that the albums can’t. These songs come to life in a whole new way, and it was really fun to hear strings and horns highlighted throughout so many songs. This is something that sets Panic apart from other bands and helped make their set really one of a kind.
Every person on the stage helped add their own unique personality to the show. Guitarist Kenny Harris jumped with the crowd lots of the night and was truly a joy to watch perform. Drummer Dan Pawlovich looked like he was having a great time pretty much the entire night, and his drumming helped make the songs feel big. Bassist Nicole Row, Panic’s newest member, brought a whole new level of skill to the band as she was able to add her own little twists to the bands already groovy and fun basslines. All while dancing with the crowd and giving a very lively performance. The band used each and every inch of the huge stage and made an effort to interact with as many people in the crowd as possible. They were also incredibly in sync, often vibing off each other's energy and creating great moments interacting with each other.
It was extremely apparent that Brendon Urie was happy to be performing for the sold-out Chicago crowd. As mentioned before, Panic is far from a one-man show, and all of it’s moving parts helped create something truly special.
(Fuck A) Silver Lining
Don't Threaten Me with a Good Time
Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)
Hey Look Ma, I Made It
The Ballad of Mona Lisa
Nine in the Afternoon
Dancing's Not a Crime
This Is Gospel
Death of a Bachelor
I Can't Make You Love Me
(Bonnie Raitt cover)
Dying in LA
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
(Robert Hazard cover)
King of the Clouds
Emperor's New Clothes
Say Amen (Saturday Night)
I Write Sins Not Tragedies