Festival Hall, Melbourne
Saturday January 28, 2017 :
As I entered Melbourne’s Festival Hall, I was unsure of what to expect from Panic! At The Disco. The band hadn’t graced our shores since 2014 (as part of Soundwave) – meaning that they hadn’t played live here since the final departure of founding member Spencer Smith. The crowd was a strange mix of young fans (who seemed extremely passionate about the new material), and older fans (who were still holding on to the nostalgia of 2004’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out). I fell into the latter category.
As soon as Panic! bounced onto the stage, it became extremely clear that this was a one-man show. Everybody was there to see Brendon Urie – the bands front man and soul (non-touring) member. Never before have I seen a musician perform with so much energy for the entirety of a set. In fact, the only time Urie slowed down was when he was playing piano. Apart from that, he was running, jumping and even back flipping (yes, it happened multiple times) for the whole show.
The set list was mostly focused on newer material, although old gems such as ‘Time To Dance’ and crowd favourite ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ made an appearance. There was even a cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which was done really well (despite being an incredibly hard song).
While the performance was solid, touring and releasing music under the name Panic! At The Disco feels like a bit of a cop out. The material is so far removed from the band’s initial creative output that I feel it would be better to simply work under the name Brendon Urie. After all, it is a solo project.
All in all, the gig was thoroughly entertaining, but the magic of 2005 is gone. Panic! At The Disco is a whole different beast now.
Reviewer and Photographer : Cormack O’Connor