The final date of Panic! at the Disco’s UK tour was at Kentish Town’s The Forum. After the release of their fourth studio album Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die, Panic! were on top form.
After a prolifically dynamic career, for both musical and personal reasons, I finally got to see Brendon Urie and co. perform. In my recent chat with the Vegas born frontman he was thankful that I happen to be seeing the band now rather than in their ‘awful’ live beginnings.
Arriving approximately three hours before the doors open there are already more than one hundred freezing fans waiting with blankets and donning the bright colours and smudged eyeliner reminiscent of my teen years. Now, 20 years of age, I got the chance to regress momentarily back to the emo hype and bounce along to those songs that defined my youth.
The crowd were predominantly lower teens which made me feel like the oldest person there, apart from the array of parents watching closely as their teenage daughters mosh. Screams of ‘I need to find my dad’ made me feel very out of place, and more like I was at a school disco, I have appeared to have missed the popularity of Panic! with the younger generations. It seems like the original Panic! generation have grown out of it.
The support act were a Copenhagen/New York based band called New Politics. Oozing with confidence (verging on arrogance) from the onset they whizzed through a 20 minute set to warm up the crowd. An extremely energetic and acrobatic frontman stole the show with his breakdancing, a man of many skills it seemed as his vocals weren’t all that bad. However, the band proved to be all style, no substance as the backing track overtook their actual playing. I doubted the authenticity of them as a group the moment the guitarist threw his guitar in the air and it miraculously continued to play. The cynic in me just couldn’t take them seriously as a band, more like 3 show-offs at a school talent show.
Panic! at the Disco bounced onto the stage and jumped straight into ‘The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage’. Despite having drummer and founder member Spencer Smith missing, the band has a lot of on stage chemistry, each of them complimenting the other’s performance styles.
The band rattled through an enormous nineteen song set in just under an hour and half playing tracks that spanned across all four albums. Particular highlights for me were the ones from their stunning debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, with my favourite moment from the whole set coming from Brendon Urie’s intro and the band’s performance of ‘Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off’. I’ll leave the profanities to the lyrics. The huge set list left little time for chatting in between tracks, however, clearly awe-stricken by the reception of the crowd at The Forum, Brendon seemed stunned, telling the doting crowd that he had forgotten some of the lyrics because he had an overwhelming moment of realisation that he has the best job in the world. Seeing this humble, human side of the often super-human frontman warmed my heart. Years of being a dedicated Panic! fan boiled down to a single moment.
The star of the show then, inevitably, was Brendon Urie. Random bouts of falsetto highlighted his insane vocal ability, taking a song two octaves higher than it was written in is a skill only few can execute well. The Panic! songs we all know and love were transcended above what you hear on record. Through ad libs and backflips (!!) they put on an amazing show that really told everyone there that Panic! at the Disco are back and very much at the top of their game.