Panic! at the Disco at Rogers Arena, 8/11/18
Panic! at the Disco is now the Brendon Urie show. And if Saturday night at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena is any indication, fans have absolutely no problem with that.
Before Panic!’s fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor, was released, frontman Urie was the only original band member left—Spencer Smith and Dallon Weekes left to pursue other projects.
Saturday night literally blasted off with Urie being shot out of a trapdoor in the stage (a triangle-shaped creation with the classic Panic!-brand exclamation point etched onto it).
The first track was “(Fuck A) Silver Lining” off of the latest album Pray for the Wicked. Urie and his band were pure energy, and the packed Rogers arena would not sit down for the remainder of the show. The band consisted of some truly top talent that included a three-piece string section.
Some may be surprised to hear that the angsty band they loved so much in high school—the one that gave them countless replays of the “I Write Sins and Not Tragedies” video—can at this point in time stuff a stadium with screaming fans.
That’s all Brendon Urie.
Quite simply, Urie is charismatic and highly performance-consumed. Part of his contemporary draw is definitely his vocalization and support of the LGBTQ community. Rogers was littered with rainbow flags on Saturday, and Urie would drape himself in a few of those flags before the night was through. “Girls/Girls/Boy” really drove the love home for a lot of people that night.
But more than anything, Urie proved his star power by pulling out that four-octave-range voice—the thrilling falsetto that does not often make its way onto actual recordings of his songs. He showed, without a doubt, how he landed a starring role in Kinky Boots on Broadway last year.
The guy is a powerhouse.
Adam Lambert better hold on tight to his role with Queen right now. Urie can definitely give him a run for his money both with those iconic Freddie Mercury numbers, and with dancing and pizazz.
The audience ate up Panic! classics like “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” and “Golden Days.” “Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)” from Vices and Virtues was the first truly euphoric moment in the evening, with an infectious celebration vibe spreading across the auditorium.
One thing that should be mentioned: “Nine in the Afternoon” is a beauty. Fans adore it and it was a whimsical addition to Urie’s lineup. But ignoring the rest of the Pretty. Odd album is a shame. It is a stellar compilation with beautiful, orchestral track after beautiful, orchestral track.
But the highest point in the evening came when Urie levitated over the auditorium on a baby-grand piano while singing “Dying in L.A.” and Bonnie Raitt’s “If I Can’t Make You Love Me”—a track that his mother used to play for him.
Urie sang Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” a nod to his Kinky Boots family (she wrote the music and lyrics for the play). But it was his rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that truly drove home what Panic! and Urie are all about: power, fun and grandeur.
By the time Urie got to “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”—the song that started it all for Panic!—fans were delirious. While a lot of Panic!’s music can be deemed ‘dark,’ there was nothing dark about Saturday night.
“The fact that you’re here tonight proves you know what love is,” Urie told Rogers with a massive grin on his face.
That seems to be entirely true.