×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Concert Review: Panic! at the Disco Brings Theatrical Flair to Forum

At one particularly crowd-pleasing point during Panic! at the Disco’s show Friday at the Forum, Brendon Urie played the group’s cover of one of the “Greatest Showman” songs, from the recent tribute album devoted to that film, and it’s not hard to see why he would gravitate to the musical.

Urie’s so much of a showman in every sense of the word that sometimes this Los Angeles arena stop on the band’s “Pray for the Wicked” tour felt like a circus, too. But through psychedelic light shows and major stage theatrics, Urie remained an ever-capable ringmaster, showing off and showing why he’s got the charisma, musical talent and stamina to be one of music’s longest-lasting leading men.

Urie started the show by jumping out from the floor, kicking off a fast-moving show with “(F— a) Silver Lining.” From there, he played nearly all of the group’s latest album, while sprinkling in surprising deep cuts like “Ready to Go” and “Casual Affair.” He barely addressed the audience in the concert’s first act, but that didn’t make it impersonal. He let loose on songs like “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” and “Dancing’s Not a Crime,” and even when he’s slightly uncoordinated, his joy is infectious — look no further than the ever-fluid crowd for proof.

He did get more personal, though, after the concert’s first hour — and, somehow, more theatrical. For “Death of a Bachelor,” he got down in the crowd to walk through and personally shake hands while accepting some Valentine’s Day roses. It was a charming moment as, during the song’s percussion break, he took time to thank individuals for coming out. From there, he transitioned to perhaps the most memorable part of the show.

Taking to a white piano near the back of the Forum, he shared an anecdote about having an aversion to learning how to play the instrument as a child, but knowing he’d be more receptive to playing songs that he actually liked. He then launched into a rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as the platform he and the piano were on lifted up toward the ceiling, floating across the auditorium as he transitioned into his own “Dying in L.A.” It was perhaps the highlight, and certainly the most personal moment, of the show, offering a breathtaking display as Urie’s small floating stage was brightened by the lights of hundreds of cell phones.

Audience participation played a strong role in another one of the show’s standout moments. Upon finding their seats, ticket-buyers could find a heart-shaped message instructing them to shine their phone’s flashlight during “Girls/Girls/Boys,” which has taken on a life of its own as a celebration of bisexuality, as part of #PATDhearts, a fan-created movement aimed at promoting unity and acceptance. When Urie played the song shortly after getting back to the stage, fans followed the instructions, lighting up the stadium with lights of all colors as Urie donned a rainbow cape and diverse faces and the word “Love” flashed on the screen behind him. It was a powerful moment, and Urie took the time after to acknowledge those who might be bullied or marginalized. “You do belong,” he told the crowd.

Later, he played Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which isn’t a new stunt, as he acknowledged. The band has been playing the song live ever since recording a cover for the “Suicide Squad” soundtrack. But since the Queen biopic named after the operatic hit found major success at the box office and awards circuit, it had a new resonance — or at least the younger set of fans might have been better able to sing along. And there’s no doubt that Urie has the vocal chops that would likely impress Freddie Mercury himself. Throughout the entire concert, he experimented with everything from astonishing falsettos to guttural growls, showing off a incredibly wide vocal range and a practiced control over it.

Urie, whether he was strutting or pausing to let loose on the drums, could easily anchor the concert without all the smoke and mirrors. But that doesn’t mean the stage set-up wasn’t gorgeous. The stage, in the shape of his “Pray for the Wicked” triangle, came to life often, allowing Urie to lift up from and descend down into for easy transitions. It was a sensory overload, and there was always something to look at. That includes his band: bassist Nicole Row and guitarist Mike Naran ooze cool and played off each other and the crowd, often leading the stage while Urie was gone between songs. Even the percussion sections had simple choreographed moves at certain points.

It’s worth noting that Urie largely stayed away from his earliest music — except, of course, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” the song that catapulted Panic! into Warped Tour superstardom. If Urie’s tired of playing the hit, it’d be understandable. But he turned it into a moment of gratitude, reflecting on pretending to be a rock star in front of the mirror as a child to the tune of Blink 182’s “All the Small Things.”

“To be here now, you know, as like a rock star, you’re not supposed to get all sentimental and tear up a little bit — but I get a little bit choked, and it’s very cool, and it’s all because you guys let me live the dream,” he said, launching into “I Write Sins” as the song “that got it all started for Panic!”

It was the penultimate song, as Urie ended with “Victorious,” which was quite fitting. The show, as Urie played his new songs and seemed to have a ball, came across as a victory lap for the musician. And after Friday night’s show, it’s easy to say that victory lap was well deserved.

More Music

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • 'This Is Us' Composer Siddhartha Khosla

    'This Is Us' Composer Siddhartha Khosla Signs With ASCAP

    Siddhartha Khosla, one of the busiest composers in TV with ongoing assignments for “This Is Us,” “The Kids Are Alright” and “Marvel’s Runaways,” has made the move to ASCAP, the performing-rights organization announced Wednesday. For all of his steady television gigs, “This is Us” remains by far the most prominent, partly because he provides prominent [...]

  • Sara Bareilles Premieres New Album at

    Sara Bareilles Premieres New Songs, Declares Love for Obama at Intimate L.A. Show

    “I know it’s been a really long time since I made a record,” said Sara Bareilles, introducing a night of mostly new music at the Troubadour Tuesday. Hearing some shouted assents from the audience, she parroted back what she heard to be some fan umbrage about that. “’You bitch!’” she echoed, bemused. “Well, I’ve been [...]

  • HALLIE ANDERSON AND JESSICA PAGE Mom

    Mom + Pop Promotes Hallie Anderson and Jessica Page to Co-General Managers

    Mom + Pop Music has promoted Hallie Anderson to co-GM and head of marketing and Jessica Page to co-GM and head of digital, the company announced today. They had previously served as VP of marketing and VP of digital strategy, respectively. “Being able to promote, empower and support Hallie and Jess in their new positions [...]

  • Jay Wilson Joins Mascot Label Group

    Jay Wilson Joins Mascot Label Group as VP of Publicity

    Jay Wilson has been named VP of publicity for Mascot Label Group, the company announced today. A veteran of Republic, Glassnote and Universal Records, In his new position Wilson will conceive and implement media strategies for the company and its roster of artists such as Beth Hart, James Morrison, P.O.D., Robert Randolph and the Family [...]

  • pharrell brain child show

    Pharrell Teams Up With Atomic Entertainment to Push 'Edu-Tainment' for Kids of Color

    Pharrell Williams may best be known as a Grammy-winning musician, but the 45-year-old is singing a different tune these days as the executive producer of “Brainchild,” a new Netflix series that teaches kids about science, technology, and current events. Co-created by Atomic Entertainment, the show is a spinoff of the New York-based production company’s “Brain [...]

  • Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid

    Tencent Music Shares Drop Despite Solid First Earnings Report

    Proving that good is not always good enough, Tencent Music Entertainment shares fell 9 percent after the Chinese company released its 2018 earnings, wiping out $2.7 billion in market capitalization of what is arguably the biggest audio music service in the world. Chalk it up to big expectations and a short track record: Wednesday’s earnings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content