Concert Reviews

Brendon Urie Showed DFW That He’s All the Panic! At the Disco You Need

Same Disco, different Panic. Brendon Urie was a one-man show on Sunday night at Dickies Arena.
Same Disco, different Panic. Brendon Urie was a one-man show on Sunday night at Dickies Arena. Jamie B. Ford
Fans had “high hopes” as they piled into Dickie’s Arena in Fort Worth on Sunday night to see Panic! At the Disco’s Viva Las Vengeance world tour, which kicked off in the Lone Star State with performances in Austin and Houston before stopping in DFW.

Singer Brendon Urie — who is currently the only member of P!ATD — is hot on the heels of the release of the group's seventh studio album, Viva Las Vengeance, brought artists Jake Wesley Rogers and Beach Bunny along for the ride.

Dickie’s Arena opened in 2019, and the pristine facilities almost made the 40-mile drive across Interstate Highway 30 worth it. The 14,000-seat arena was set up with a catwalk-like stage surrounding a small pit that was reminiscent of an orchestra pit at an opera production. The small standing-room-only area was jam-packed with fans who showed up early to catch the openers.

Glam pop artist Jake Wesley Rogers was dubbed “Gen Z’s Elton John” by Vogue, and that energy was on full display as he got the night off to an exciting start. Rogers donned a fabulous all-white ensemble, complete with sparkly red heels that he called his “little Dorothy shoes.” The 25-year-old owned the stage with a commanding 30-minute set and only a touch of pandering in the form of a “Welcome to the Black Parade” medley. It’s easy to see why his star is on the rise.

Next up was Chicago-based indie rockers, Beach Bunny, a group that’s been around since 2015 but rose to fame in a spectacularly Gen Z fashion, on TikTok. Their song “Prom Queen” went viral on the social media platform in 2020, and they recently released their second studio album, Emotional Creature. Frontwoman Lili Trifilio got things started by asking the audience to get on their feet when the “music kicks in.” Very few fans obliged, but the singer had her back to the audience and seemed unbothered, keeping on with the group's fun, easy-listening set with driving rhythms and punk-inspired guitar riffs.

Panic! At the Disco is currently a one-man operation, but that hasn’t always been the case. Brendon Urie and his three friends, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith and Brent Wilson started Panic! in 2004 when they were just teenagers, and the Las Vegas natives’ debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out with the megahit, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” charted their course for success early on. Over the years, the founding members have dropped out of the band for various reasons, and Urie has been the last man standing since the release of Pray for the Wicked in 2018. This begs the question: Why not drop the band name to really take ownership of his solo work and avoid any confusion or expectations from the Panic! fanbase?

Regardless, Urie opened strong, with a rousing performance of “Hey Look Ma I Made It” accompanied by a stunning life-sized cathedral projection that prompted mass uproar from the audience. From the moment the first chords rang out, it was apparent that this was Brendon Urie’s stage. He was backed by a slew of musicians, on strings, brass, a saxophone and even a keytar, all wearing black, which made Urie’s bold-colored outfit stand out even more.The band ran through a few more hits, including “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” and “Miss Jackson,” punctuated by explosive pyrotechnics. Overall the crowd was enraptured, with the exception of those seated in the suites, where the Cowboys game could be seen playing on TV screens, even from across the arena.

Urie’s signature vocals deftly navigated stratospheric high notes, and the abundance of mic twirls, dance moves, confetti and flames made for quite the spectacle.

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After a quick wardrobe change, Urie was back on stage for the second set, which was dedicated to performing Viva Las Vengeance in its entirety. This was a bold choice that was met with mixed feelings from some in the audience. The first few tracks were exciting enough, including Urie’s flawless performance of “Local God,” which was a highlight of the evening. But by the fifth or sixth song, the audience seemed to lose a bit of steam.

Many fans took their seats or opted to sneak out to the restrooms or concession area.
Panic! has been known to shift styles from album to album, and Urie’s latest is no exception. Viva Las Vengeance is heavily influenced by classic rock stars — including one of Urie’s idols, Freddie Mercury —and was even recorded on an eight-track machine for that perfect retro feel.

After changing into his third blazer of the evening, a grand piano materialized from thin air onto the stage to kick off Panic!’s final act, which included “Death of a Bachelor,” “Nine in the Afternoon,” and yes, of course “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” Urie barely addressed the crowd all night, until the very end of the performance when he expressed his gratitude for everyone showing up and gave credit to the opening acts and his touring musicians and crew.

Throughout the show, Urie’s signature vocals deftly navigated stratospheric high notes, and the abundance of mic twirls, dance moves, confetti and flames made for quite the spectacle. The Panic! At the Disco of 2022 is a far cry from the frenetic, emo-fueled sound and vaudevillian aesthetic we all knew and loved two decades ago. Call us old school, but we miss that quirky, original “Panic." Though it's good to be led by Urie back on the Disco dance floor.
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