Having released new EP ‘Papernote’ a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t surprising that they were playing a lot of new material, but it was interesting that they chose to put in two unreleased songs: ‘Warriors’ and ‘Come My Way’ (whose titles were confirmed by the band on Twitter). ‘Warriors’ was my favourite song of the set, and actually the one that I arrived on. Bad timing on my part meant I missed the first couple of songs that they played, but if the first half was as triumphant as the last half then Tigertown performed the set of their lives.
What can I say about Panic! At The Disco that hasn’t been said before?
The band have been around for twelve years now, and they certainly haven’t had a lack of press coverage, so it’s been difficult to write this review – it’s impossible to find a new angle on a band so adored by fans and the media. ‘Death of a Bachelor’ has been one of the most celebrated releases of the year so far, thanks to its genre-defying mixture of jazz, rock and dance influences, and for a band who nearly lost themselves on their previous album – 2013’s bland and repetitive ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die’ – they came back with a vengeance, taking their place at the top of the pop-rock pile once again.
You’d think that after over a decade of performing vocalist Brendon Urie would be supremely confident, expecting the large crowds that they so easily draw, but he seemed humbled and extremely thankful, introducing final track ‘Victorious’ by enthusing “If I haven’t said so enough tonight, thank you so much for being here! This might be the biggest headline show we’ve ever done!”. Having sold out Alexandra Palace two nights in a row – the same feat achieved by labelmates twenty one pilots just the week before – it certainly wasn’t a small achievement.
Being the only original member left (and currently the only official member of the band: Dallon Weekes, Kenneth Harris and Dan Pawlovich are only touring members) all eyes were on Brendon. His sparkly pink jacket, penchant for backflips and eye-watering high notes certainly helped keep them there.
As soon as he stepped onto the stage the crowd came alive, screaming the words to every song they played without fail. Playing ‘Misirlou’ from ‘Pulp Fiction’ as the intro track definitely helped rocket the anticipation through the roof in the moments before they came out on to the
I was surprised that the new songs were embraced as passionately as the old ones, particularly because the album hasn’t even been out for a year at this stage. The amount of people cheering when ‘Golden Days’ began was equal to the people who were excitedly dancing during fan favourites ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ – accompanied by a brass section – and ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’, which Brendon introduced by saying “Alright, this is a new song! If you don’t know the words, it’s okay…”. His distaste for that song is never going to go away!
There wasn’t a moment in the set that fell flat. Brendon is a born performer, and I’ve never seen a lazy moment from him on stage: he works his ass off at smaller shows (well, Brixton is small for them but it’s pretty large for most bands) and during their festival slots (particularly their Reading festival performance last year). I still think Brendon goes a little too over the top on the falsetto sections of some of the older songs (particularly towards the end of ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’) but the new album is perfectly suited to the random vocal licks he adds into the songs. The piercingly high note he held at the end of ‘Death of a Bachelor’ elevated it to a goosebump-inducing level, making it a moment I’m never going to forget.
I have no idea how they performed eighteen songs in an hour and twenty minutes, but it felt like the show was over before it had even begun. I was grateful, though: I had to leave twenty one pilots performance before the encore, but due to their early finish it was possible for me to stay to the end and enjoy every single moment.
With five albums stuffed full of hits, and countless singles from movie and video game soundtracks, Panic! At The Disco have a huge amount of songs to choose from when they craft their setlists. With all of the touring they’ve done over the years they’ve definitely streamlined the order and the tracks that they choose. They still squeezed in their cover of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which was recently included on the soundtrack for the ‘Suicide Squad’, and with it being the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death in just a few days it was extremely poignant. Brendon began climbing up to the piano sat on the top of a platform towards the back of the stage, announcing on the way that they were going to “do a song now that isn’t a Panic! song, but goddamn I wish it was”. Any band that are brave enough to cover a Queen song once deserve immense levels of respect, but to perform it as regularly as they do is proof that Brendon is confident in his abilities and knows exactly how good he is.
With trailing golden confetti streamers bursting out over the crowd at multiple points through the set, constant blasts of CO2 decorating the stage, and an extreme drum battle pitting Brendon against Dan, I didn’t know where to look for most of the show: particularly because Brendon’s shadow was prancing across the wall to the left of the stage, and you could see him performing in all of the windows lining the sides of the hallowed hall. Alexandra Palace is a beautiful venue, and it’s the perfect place for Panic! At The Disco to perform – I can’t imagine seeing them in a place more suited to them.
The band have announced a huge American tour running from February to April, supported by MisterWives and Saint Motel, and that’s following the run they’ve got scheduled for Australia at the start of next year. I can’t imagine the guys will be gracing our shores again within the next six months, but I’m already eagerly anticipating their return.