I left The Schottenstein Center Tuesday night with a new, profound appreciation for the alternative pop and punk genres, as Panic! At the Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor” tour introduced me to contemporary stylings from three great bands.
I might be ostracized for this, but I never went through a Panic! At the Disco phase when I was in middle or high school. In fact, for years I could never tell the difference between a Fall Out Boy or Panic! song, due to similarities in their contemporary punk rock style, angsty lyrics, incessantly long song titles as well as Patrick Stump’s and Brendon Urie’s respective vocal range and clarity. For years I had admired from afar, and like a fine wine, Panic! At the Disco’s hit “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” only bettered with age.
I had expected to see many of my fellow college-aged students at this show, who have since graduated from wearing punk band t-shirts, ripped skinny jeans and Converse high tops during Panic! At the Disco’s peak of fame. However, I was surprised to see a large portion of the crowd looked younger than me. I could only guess a lot of fans in attendance were early high schoolers. This wasn’t a complaint by any means — I think there are many teens who can appreciate messages dripping with trepidation from Panic! At the Disco songs. It just felt a tad awkward having this in mind when frontman A/J Jackson from one of the opening bands, Saint Motel, addressed the crowd toward the end of their set:
“I hope you made a friend tonight. I hope you find love tonight, but most importantly, I hope you make love tonight,” Jackson said.
I cringed as my eyes rolled over the young teenagers all around me.
Due to the throng of people checking in at the door, congregating at the merchandise stands and concessions, I was delayed getting to my seat and I missed Saint Motel’s opening number, “Cold Cold Man.” Before last night’s show, I had never heard of the band’s name; however, every song in their set sounded familiar to me in some way, even if the band’s stage presence was poor and made for an unmemorable performance.
That said, I rather enjoyed the catchy hooks in Saint Motel’s setlist. I have certainly heard and enjoyed the tunes “My Type” and “Move” in commercials before, and I am compelled to check out more of their music after this experience.
Similarly, I had never heard of Misterwives before last night’s performance, but I now feel obliged to hear more of their music.
Compared to Saint Motel’s entire set, the visual stimulation in Misterwives’ opening number “Imagination Infatuation” was a refreshing change of pace. I could feel the burst of energy coming from lead singer Mandy Lee’s dance steps and powerful vocals. For such a petite woman, her performance packed a punch. My only qualm with the band’s execution was that Lee’s voice became breathy as the set progressed. I could barely recognize the melody in their popular tune “Machine,” but the vigor in the entire band’s overall performance made this forgivable.
After Misterwives’ set, a loud timer graphic displayed on the screen left the crowd in anticipation for Panic! At the Disco’s performance. As blood-curdling screams emerged from fans when the clock neared zero, and the band took the stage for an explosive performance of “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” a smash single from their latest album, “Death of a Bachelor.” It was a fitting choice to open the set, and established the mood for the entire show, which was indeed a good time.
Because I’ve routinely listened to recordings of Panic! At the Disco tunes featuring Brendon Urie’s mid-range vocals, I was quickly reminded during this show of his powerful falsetto. He was the real star of the show — the only original member of the band remaining, he wore a glimmering gold jacket, while the touring band kept it classy in all-black suits.
This gold jacket matched the band’s gilded performance, coupled with raining sparks during “Golden Days.” Though this song is also on the latest installment, “Death of a Bachelor,” the renditions of classic, punk numbers like “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” and “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” matched the contemporary feel of the band’s newest album.
From there, Urie walked off stage to a video transition of him being bound and tased, which I could only assume signified the death of a bachelor. He reappeared on a small stage across the arena with a white, glittery piano, and delivered a beautiful performance of “This is Gospel.” The glow of phone flashlights in the audience perfectly accentuated the silver confetti raining down from the rafters.
A refreshing rendition of Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” comically reminded me of the young age of the overwhelming majority of the audience. Diehard fans who had sung along with every song word for word up until that moment suddenly fell silent, while I nodded my head and sung along.
Urie addressed the crowd infrequently between songs, but each interaction with the audience was meaningful. After a performance of “Girls/Girls/Boys,” which highlighted the band’s support of the LGBT community, Urie held a rainbow flag at his microphone stand, while audience members held multicolored paper hearts with pride.
“You guys are going to be the ones to change the world,” Urie said. “And I’m going to be right there with you.”
The band then captivated the adoration of everyone in the arena with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a tribute to Urie’s favorite songwriter in the LGBT community, Freddie Mercury.
Despite Urie’s lack of interaction earlier in the show, he thanked the crowd immensely for coming to see the show before performing their timeless, smash hit “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”
“I dedicate this song to you,” Urie said. “Without you guys, this would just be a sound check.”
Urie cemented the feeling of love and triumph for members of the LGBT community with a powerful performance of “Victorious,” just as explosive as the opening number in the set. The song’s robust melody and lyrics left me feeling hyped, and I walked home with a more confident stride in my step.