Panic! At the Disco and us, we have history.
We have been listening to them for years now, we even crossed the English Channel to go and see them at Reading festival last summer. So this time, when we learned they were coming back to France (twice !) to promote their new album Death of a Bachelor, we decided to go big. We decided to go grand. We decided to go meet and greet.
The morning of the show, we started queueing around 10am. There were some people there, but not as many as we thought. After a few hours of waiting and people gradually arriving, the band’s manager Zach Hall called to the VIP’s.
It was 5:30pm.
We were freaking out.
He went through the list of names and we entered the venue, gathering in front of the venue’s bar. Soon the tiny room was filled with people, all of them excited and anxious – mostly anxious – to meet their favourite band. All around, the atmosphere was friendly even though some people were pushing and trying to get there first. But that’s just how shows go, I guess. Anyway, Zach quickly reminded us of the rules – no hugs, no long conversations, no asking them to sign stuff – and we started queueing again. That’s when we realised two things. 1) we were going to meet them for real 2) we were going to have to take our picture in front of everyone else. Now, I’m guessing this was for the sake of speed, but it would have been way nicer to have a bit of privacy. Taking a good picture is hard enough without a bunch of people staring restlessly at you. With barely enough time to hive five them and say hi, it was over. We took our poster – which miraculously survived the concert without getting crushed too much – and ran to the barrier. Then we began waiting again.
Not too long afterwards, the venue was filled with fans who were all ready to go. When the opening act walked onstage, the entire audience was buzzing with frenzy – it was time to dance. I’m imagining it must be very hard to open for bands like Panic! At the Disco, as they have a very loyal and almost manic fanbase. And yet, when Rocky Nti started playing, the audience was immediately won over by this English musician and his bandmates. They seemed very happy to be there and kept taking pictures and videos even as they played. In terms of music, it had a very brit-pop vibe, with loud guitars and an undeniable energy that had the venue bouncing in a matter of minutes. All around, between their very good music and their obvious excitement, it was a very fun set. When they left after about five songs, we were ready for Panic! At the Disco.
Unfortunately, after such a good opening act, there was a very long wait before the main act arrived – about 45 minutes during which many worried-looking crew members walked back and forth across the stage, leading us to wonder whether there had been a problem. Obviously though, we forgot all our concerns as soon as the lights went off and Panic! At the Disco walked on stage. They decided to start with their latest single Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time, which had the audience screaming along. There couldn’t have been a better way to start the show as the first lyrics allowed Brendon Urie to greet us with “Who are these people?” and a wide grin on his face. There was a bit of a problem with the mic during the first two songs – probably because they had underestimated the fans’ enthusiasm and lung capacity – but it was quickly resolved. The set had songs from every album, with Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die being the most represented one. As for Death Of A Bachelor, their latest one, they only played the singles, keeping their usual setlist. It seems very unfair, given that they played two more songs from that album – Golden Days and Crazy = Genius – for the other two dates of the tour and the festivals in England (BBC Big Weekend and Slamdunk Festival). I can’t think of a reason why they would do that, and I’m sure they didn’t mean anything by it, but it still made us feel less important than other fans. That kind of distinction, especially during a tour comporting only three dates, is very weird. Hopefully they’ll play more songs from Death of a Bachelor when they come back in November.
That being said, it was still a very good and fast-paced setlist, with many fan favourites. There was not a lot of interaction with the crowd, but there never is – Panic! At the Disco prefers to play as many songs as they possibly can. They still seemed happy to be there and excited at the idea of coming back. Apart from the lights that changed for every song, there was no scenography – especially when compared to Halsey’s show that had taken place at the same venue months prior. That’s a pity, as a few backgrounds would have really tied their universe together. But then again, Panic! At the Disco is and always was about the music, and even more about Brendon Urie’s voice.
He truly is an amazing performer, always on the move – singing and dancing and belting out these impossible high notes he is so famous for. The guitarist and the bass player, Kenneth Harris and Dallon Weekes are also very good – they spent the entire set running around and headbanging while providing exceptionally good back vocals. They were especially impressive during the band’s cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
All in all, seeing Panic! At the Disco live is always an incredible experience as they know how to work a crowd and always give it 100 percent. Despite the few downsides of the evening, we walked out of La Cigale sweating and thrilled, ready for round 2 (you can still get tickets for their show in Paris in November there).
1 Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time
2 Time to Dance
3 Vegas Lights
4 The Ballad of Mona Lisa
6 Let’s Kill Tonight
7 LA Devotee
9 Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind)
11 Casual Affair
12 New Perspective
13 Miss Jackson
14 Nine in the Afternoon
15 Bohemian Rhapsody
17 I Write Sins Not Tragedies
18 This is Gospel
19 Emperor’s New Clothes
A small bonus: Brendon’s drum solo at the end of Let’s Kill Tonight (warning: flashing lights and lots of screaming)