Panic! at the Disco South Side Ballroom, Dallas Friday, August 22, 2014
From an outsider's perspective, it would seem Panic! at the Disco sings to the age of teen angst -- when you're too young to go anywhere without your parents, when school and life is miserable, and when black eyeliner is the only acceptable look.
That was certainly the case Friday night when the South Side Ballroom was near or at capacity. The attendants were teenagers, who had no fear of PDA, and some chaperone dads to watch on.
As a sort of western-like video played on the stage's backdrop screen, the Panic! at the Disco band members walked onstage to perform its opener, "Vegas Lights." Lead singer, Brandon Urie, made his entrance dressed in leather pants, a black shirt and a gold jacket, but that didn't last long. After just three songs, the jacket was gone and after five, the shirt was off, leaving hundreds of teenage girls screaming over Urie's visible pelvic bones.
But who could blame him? We were in the "dead fucking heat" as Urie described it and it seemed standing still for a period of time longer than 10 seconds was not on his agenda. If he did, it was because he was behind the piano, accompanying songs like, "Nine in the Afternoon." But other than that, he was dancing around, flinging his head back and forth on beat, and entertaining the crowd while on top of the speakers lining the front of the stage.
The highlight of the night came during the song "Miss Jackson." For the first and only time, Urie spoke to the crowd, giving insight into the meaning of the lead single from Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!' "This next song is about a girl I used to sleep with," he said. "I thought we were exclusive. But she had been fucking my friends the whole time. So then I started fucking all her friends."
It was probably the most well-performed song of the night. While some lyrics were difficult to understand, either because the nature of the song was mostly screams or Urie's mouth was too close to the microphone, songs like "Miss Jackson" and "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" were clear and nicely sung.
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However, when the band began its Queen cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody," it was a glimmer of hope for the teens' chaperones. It might have been the only moment that unified the teenagers and their parents, as most everyone in the ballroom knew the words -- or at least some of the words. As Urie played the keys and sang the 40-year old hit, a middle-aged security guard scanned the ballroom for suspicious activity, while miming the words, "Mama mia, mama mia."
The band's encore was "This is Gospel," and its most popular hit, "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies." If someone didn't know all of the songs on the setlist that night, they surely knew that one, as it was their first hit and a pop radio favorite in 2006 (even though some fans in attendance Friday night would have been 8 in 2006, or 6, or even 4... They were young). The crowd loudly sang along, replacing Urie's vocals as he lent his microphone to crowd during the song's chorus. As the song was ending, Urie's did a backflip off one of the loudspeakers. Way to stick the entrance and the exit.
Setlist: "Vegas Lights" "Time To Dance" "The Ballad of Mona Lisa" "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage" "Let's Kill Tonight" "Girls/Girls/Boys" "Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)" "Trade Mistakes" "New Perspective" "Casual Affair" "Miss Jackson" "Nine in the Afternoon" "The End of All Things" "Bohemian Rhapsody" "Lying is the Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" "Nicotine" "But It's Better If You Do" "Collar Full" "Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met...)"
Encore "This Is Gospel" "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"