Panic! at the Disco. Live. It was my 8th grade dream coming true.
But before that, Walk the Moon made my junior year of high school dream come true. Before that, Magic Man made my freshman year of college dream come true. The truth is, any of the three bands playing at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Tuesday night could have headlined and done exceptionally well, but instead they were put together on one bill, for what was one of the best line ups I’ve ever seen.
Waiting in line, some friends and I were trying to guess which band people were there to see. The hipsters were there for Walk the Moon, the ones dressed a little edgier and with more makeup were there for Panic! But the guy with the audacity to ride his bike to the venue, in true hipster prime, had to be there for the less well-known Magic Man, we decided.
Magic Man came out almost unexpectedly, seeming to catch everyone off guard with a powerful performance that started off extremely strong. They gave off a beat that made everyone want to dance, for better or worse (I was the latter, in this case). The Boston natives have a rich sound, that makes the layers of the bass, synthesizer, guitar, and drums very evident, especially with lead singer Alex Caplow’s vocals on top of it all.
Closing with “Paris” it was evident that Magic Man was not an opening band, but rather an equal with their counterparts for the evening.
Coming out to the Game of Thrones theme music, Walk the Moon did their best to make a power move and steal the show from Magic Man, and preemptively from Panic! at the Disco, and almost got away with it.
On “Lisa Baby,” the group was able to shine as individuals, with the iconic bassline and incredible guitar-playing standing out yet complementing each other perfectly. The energy they brought was, as always, more than enough to get the crowd pumped up, and the stylistic changes they brought for their live performance added a fresh sound to a band I’ve seen four times, and has yet to disappoint.
They closed with their classic, “Anna Sun,” but the live performance of their not-yet-released song “Shut Up And Dance” makes the upcoming album highly anticipated.
The Cincinnati natives have a way to make music that brings back nostalgia, even if they’ve only been around since 2008, with “Anna Sun” coming out in 2010.
But if anyone was bringing nostalgia to the LC, it was going to be Panic! at the Disco.
Now, I realize that most people may have fallen off the Panic! train at this point, and may not have really kept up with them since middle school or early high school, but that is precisely why they’re so great to see live. Every song you’ve heard before sounds like classic, and anything you haven’t heard before sounds almost as great. Simply put, they perform exactly how you would want them to perform.
“Perform” is another important word, because if Magic Man and Walk the Moon put on a show, then Panic! at the Disco put on a performance. Coming on stage to the iconic theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” with western video scenes and pictures displaying behind them, then transitioning into a club light atmosphere with a light show, Panic! upped the ante with their multimedia affects. The show was filled with coordinated lights, fog machines and the screens in the back showing everything from “Wayne’s World” scenes to what was probably a screensaver on your parents first Windows computer
Their live performance showed an extreme diversity between the songs off every album, which isn’t necessarily as apparent or appreciated on the recorded versions of their music. What really showed the groups’ range, however, was with their cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Panic! at the Disco might be the perfect band to try to pull something like that off, between the vocal skills from Brendon Urie, that definitely do justice to Freddie Mercury, and the band’s ability to scale the faster part of the song up in typical Panic! fashion.
It only took a few songs for Urie to take his shirt off, much to the liking of the female members of the audience. But despite the screaming fans, dramatic flare of the set and his own backflips on stage, Urie remained humble and personable throughout the show.
“The first time we played in Columbus was here (at the LC), we opened for Fall Out Boy in 2005, and we might as well have been playing for the crew before they opened the doors, nobody listened to us,” he joked.
Songs like “Time To Dance” kept their promise and had everybody in the pavilion dancing and singing. Through the concert flare, it was evident that the band had matured and honed their skill, showing off ranging vocals, guitar, and piano for an impressed and enthralled audience.
Although the band is four albums deep, songs like “Camisado” and “But It’s Better If You Do” off their first album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” were still the most fun live. More recent hits such as “Miss Jackson,” “This Is Gospel,” “New Perspective” and “Let’s Kill Tonight” shouldn’t be discounted, however, and added more outlets for a great performance.
Playing to the success and nostalgia of their first album, Panic! at the Disco closed with one of their singles, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” to a very satisfied audience, myself included. While I was incredibly impressed with the show, the only real disappointment was that the second album, “Pretty. Odd.” was snubbed, with “Nine in the Afternoon” being the only song to make it off the album and onto the set list.While that album was certainly stylistically different from the pumped up performance they were going for, a few songs spread throughout the concert could have provided a change in pace and an exhibition of talent and range for the band. This complaint, however, is trivial in the scope of Panic! at the Disco’s performance as a whole.
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