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25th April 2019

Live Review: Panic! At The Disco

Eleanor Roberts discusses the showmanship on display at the Manchester date of Panic! At The Disco’s Pray For The Wicked tour.
Live Review: Panic! At The Disco
Photo: Eleanor Roberts @ The Mancunion

Panic! At The Disco’s Hallelujah promises its fans “a moment you’ll never remember and a night you’ll never forget.” They certainly delivered on the latter. The band is, as lead singer (and only official member) of the band Brendon Urie reminded the crowd, almost 15 years old, and the wide range of musical sounds from that timespan was on show at the Manchester Arena.

The show was opened by Arizona and MØ, both of whom performed well, but the crowd truly came alive when Panic! took the stage. Following a countdown and an orchestral opening, Brendon Urie quite literally sprung out of the stage and burst into one of the first songs released from the latest album, ‘(Fuck A) Silver Lining’. Whilst the list was mainly comprised of the songs from the most recent album Pray For The Wicked and the one before, Death Of A Bachelor, the main singles from the first three albums, as well as a couple of songs from the fourth, were performed, reiterating once again just how much the band’s sound has changed.

Particularly noticeable amongst the songs from the fourth album Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! was the one now claimed as a bisexual anthem, ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’. It came complete with a message of equality from Urie, and the audience came together in a show of solidarity by using their lights to create a rainbow flag. The atmosphere of inclusion was certainly something as Urie wrapped himself in multiple pride flags.

Something else which was certainly something to experience was the performance of the final song on Pray For The Wicked, ‘Dying In LA’. Urie travelled through the crowd, greeting fans and accepting roses on the way, only to be flown over the audience on a platform along with a white piano once the song began. Whilst this was certainly not Urie’s only piano piece (aside from anything else, the mediocre cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ featured one) it was certainly the most striking due simply to the fact that a flying piano was not something anybody expected. Similarly, his drum solo towards the end of ‘Miss Jackson’ was also unexpected but still enjoyable.

Less enjoyable by far was Urie’s tendency to insert overly-high notes into as many songs as possible. Although he certainly has a wide range, he frequently lost musicality when reaching the highest notes he sang, leaving an unfortunate resemblance to screeching rather than singing. The presence of this tunelessness was very distracting from the skill shown in the remainder of the set; variation from the original tracks was interesting and showed skill when done in other ways, but the insistence on attempting to reach a pitch which Urie didn’t seem aware was just slightly outside his range was frustrating. A key example of this came in the cover of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which felt like something of a torturous rendition of the classic song.

Regardless of this, the majority of the concert was enjoyable, with vibrant energy and an attitude from Urie which highlighted his delight at the presence of so many people who clearly love the band and the songs. Panic!’s touring musicians, Nicole Rowe, Dan Pawlovich, and Mike Naran, contributed to the atmosphere through their enthusiasm and skill, and overall the night was certainly worth enduring the high notes.


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