Panic! At The Disco

Gig Review: Panic! at the Disco, O2 ABC, Glasgow, 2nd May 2011

Having ditched two members and reinstalled the exclamation mark, Panic! at the Disco are back in the UK determined to prove they’re as exciting and relevant as they once were when they first hit our stereos back in 2005.

You would think, for an established band, it would be easy to find a support band that either a) sounds like you, or b) are good at getting crowds warmed up. Apparently not, since Love Letters (1) are simply dreadful. From their opening note to their last, they play such a dull set that they make Creed sound dangerous and exciting. It’s perhaps telling that they only play a fifteen minute slot, but really, Panic! should know better. Last time they conducted a full UK tour, they brought Metro Station along with them. I would have happily suffered a half hour Metro Station set over Love Letters’ fifteen minutes.

It’s important to point out that the majority of the audience in attendance is made up of teenage girls. So, Panic! at the Disco (9) could play the worst set of their lives and still receive a rapturous applause for every word spoken by frontman Brendon Urie. Thankfully, that needn’t be the case. Ready to Go (Get Me Out of my Mind) is more than just an opener – it’s a statement. This is truly a band revitalised, feeling that they have something to prove after their questionable second album ‘Pretty. Odd.’ and the departure of songwriter/guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker; by the song’s conclusion, they’ve made their point.

Choosing to go straight into But It’s Better If You Do from their debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, is calculated genius. Brendon and Spencer Smith know that their fanbase didn’t respond favourably to the Beatles-influenced second album, so they choose to draw heavily from their first album and latest release, Vices & Virtues. There is simply never a drop in momentum for the whole night, not even when there is a massive technical fault during Nine in the Afternoon (one of few songs that fans did react warmly to from Pretty. Odd.). This just gives Brendon some free time to completely charm everyone in the room, and lead us all in an a capella cover of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls. Complete unadulterated fun.

The energy truly peaks during Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off – not a soul in the room was still, and it was tough to hear the band over the voices of the crowd. Importantly, the Vices & Virtues tracks fit into the setlist seamlessly, and most people had already learned all of the words, knowing exactly when to clap, stomp, or shout along. From new Trade Mistakes, into old-favourite Camisado, and then back into modern Panic! with new track Hurricane, the collision of new and old felt completely natural. Indeed, most bands save their “big” song for their encore – Panic! choose to finish with the finale from Vices & Virtues, Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…), a massive exclamation mark at the end of an energised album and set.

Panic! at the Disco arrived for the first date of this UK tour with something to prove. Mission truly accomplished. I have but one complaint, and that is that they should drop their cover of The Smiths’ How Soon is Now? simply because it feels very out of place.

Brendon Urie mentions that this has been his favourite show to date – a crowd-pleasing statement, perhaps, but he may very well be telling the truth. Both he and Spencer visibly were having the time of their lives, and it’s not hard to see why. Panic! at the Disco are back.


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