On January 14 I made the long trek to Manchester, New Hampshire, to attend the Panic! at the Disco concert. Panic! is currently touring for their newest album, "Pray for the Wicked", which was released late June of last year.
I arrived at the VIP entrance, and was later let in to receive the merch that accompanied my ticket. After collecting all my Pray for the Wicked memorabilia, and finding my seat, my friends and I headed straight for the merch line. The workers at the merch table were polite and efficient and wasted no time, so it wasn’t a long wait at all.
An hour later, the lights dimmed, and the stadium became quiet as Betty Who entered the stage. In a pink leotard with matching doc martens and a mesh sequined dress, she looked like a nebula on stage, with her two dancers constantly orbiting her. Her songs were catchy and I found myself starting to sing along. I was dancing in my seat and she shimmied across the stage. Betty was full of energy, constantly pushing further into the performance, enhancing her urgent music and captivating the pit, which moved in swirls along to the whirring music. Her dancers were always on time and grooved with the dips of the song, and never depleted the effort and enthusiasm in their movements. Betty’s dancers and her own moves coupled with her exciting performance felt like driving with the windows down on the highway in the middle of summer. A whirlwind of speed and anticipation.
At the end of Betty’s explosive set, Two Feet took the stage. His music was mesmerizingly detailed. The intricate guitar seemed to echo off itself as each new note tripping guitar riffs. His music was flowing onto the crowd and the unforgettable choruses were pulling the audience into a riptide of looping melodies and mellow chords. The shivering bass rang behind the winding notes. Two Feet was one of the most musically intricate live performances I’ve seen. His impeccable guitar skills mixed with his cool vocals and the heavy electronics swallowed the crowd in a swaying haze that swirled with the whirs of the electronic percussion.
After another anxious waiting period the master came down halfway, and the projections on the stage lit up with the everlasting ten minute countdown. The performance finally started with Brendon shooting into the air from under the stage, and the energy never really went back down. The whole band had nonstop energy both physically and musically, and Brendon’s vocals never wavered. The setlist was composed of insanely upbeat tunes like (F**k A) Silver Lining or Roaring 20s, songs like One of the Drunks and Casual Affair that are like walking in the middle of a road at 3 A.M., and songs like Dying in La or Girls/Girls/Boys that have hundreds of hearts beating in rhythm.
The band’s performance was consistent the whole night, with Mike never failing to smile up at us in the crowd, and Nicole never forgetting to lean down to fans in the pit. The music was always in time and the excitement never faltered. Each new song was with new memories and every person in the stands danced with the swinging cadence of Brendon’s words. The sheer amount of talent composed in the hand of each instrumentalist was exemplified in their ability to switch from pop-punk ballads like This is Gospel to folks based songs from their second album “Pretty. Odd.”, to the likes of rock classics from Queen.
The band’s ability to overcome problems was also evident, when the audio cut out in the middle of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Rather than quit, the band went on, their instruments silent, but they sang along with the audience anyway. Rather than panic, they remained calm and joked with the crowd, Brendon doing handstands and having the audience scream. He even took the extra time he had to reach back into the pit, despite having already done the infamous “death walk” during Death of a Bachelor to reach the B-Stage, in order to sign a jacket a girl made for the tour.
Brendon still managed to be his joking self, and laughed it off when the audio cut back in. They continued without fault, ushering into the crowd into a smooth exit full of loud brass and swinging bass lines.
Additionally, the production of the show was incredibly well done, with the screens changing every second, transitioning with the music and enhancing the performance. They displayed gold patterns reminiscent of those from the 1920s, red flames during Say Amen, or turning wheels in reference to the Ballad of Mona Lisa’s steampunk themed music video. Lights glowed in a thousand different directions and orientations, a show in its own right, illuminating Brendon during every chorus, or accentuating his floating piano. The pyrotechnics and the double dose of confetti, as well as their technical staff’s quick ability to fix the audio, exemplifies the hardworking and skilled members of their production team.
Not once did any of the performers on the Pray For The Wicked Tour dull their energy. The excited performers and bright lights layed over the thrum of the music echoed throughout the arena all night long, and continues throughout each fan’s memory of that night.
Written by Elizabeth Miller.
Foto by Melanie Gomez.
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