Words: Kelsey Trevan
Photos: Dylan Martin
It’s an absolutely gorgeous Saturday in Melbourne and the sold out crowd are early, and they’re excited. One of the biggest pop punk bands in the world, Panic! At The Disco, are about to play their final Australian show on the Pray For The Wicked World Tour. There is not one type of Panic! At The Disco fan and the crowd was a myriad of age groups, genders and types of people in the 10,000 strong crowd.
Before Panic! took to the stage it was Central Coast local, E^ST who had the task of warming up the crowd for what was already promising to be a night of epic proportions. While the arena had not filled out completely, there was still about half of the crowd to witness E^ST’s set. Accompanied on stage by 3 aliens in costume, E^ST fittingly opened with her track ‘Alien’. Whilst the crowd did completely appreciate E^ST’s performance, and while she put on a great performance, I’m not sure if her electro-pop style was appropriate for the entire crowd. Panic! At The Disco have dabbled in several different genres during their career so while electro-pop fit the pop fans, E^ST wasn’t necessarily appreciated by the rock fans. Along with six of her own tracks, E^ST also performed a cover of All-American Rejects’ classic Gives You Hell that had every person singing along. She was also joined on stage by her aliens again for Gives You Hell.
Once E^ST had wrapped up, the giant screen behind the stage went black for several minutes before a countdown appeared, beginning at 600 seconds and counting backwards and the now full crowd began to get excited. As the countdown approached 20 seconds to go everyone began to countdown until there were no seconds left and the screens once more went black. As Africa by Toto wound down over the speakers, blue light filled the stage and the touring band began to slowly filter onto the stage. Brendon Urie is the sole-member of Panic! At The Disco and he was expectedly the last to appear on stage. Before he appeared, his rather large touring ensemble filtered onto the stage. It began with the string section, viola player Kiara Ana Perico, violinist Desiree Hazley and cellist Leah Metzler, then the brass section, saxophonist Jesse Molloy, trombonist Erm Navarro and trumpeter Chris Bautista and finally the touring band, bassist Nicole Row, guitarist Mike Naran, and finally drummer Dan Pawlovich. Of the touring band, Pawlovich is the longest serving member, having been with Panic! At The Disco since Spencer Smith’s departure in 2013. Row came on board in 2018 as a touring member after the departure of Dallon Weekes, and Naran also joined the touring band in 2018.
The setlist kicked off with one of the leading singles from this year’s album ‘Pray For The Wicked’ (Fuck A) Silver Lining, accompanied by silver streams from a streamer cannon, and it was evident that the show was going to be high octane and high energy. It wasn’t just the people standing that were up and dancing, a lot of the seated crowd also spent a lot of the show on their feet from the first song. Urie showed off his ridiculously impressive vocal range right from the off and blew the crowd away with his high notes from song one, to song twenty-seven. Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time from last year’s highly successful ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ came next with a signature butt-wiggle from Urie whilst singing the lyric “I lost a bet to a guy in a chiffon skirt, but I make these high-heels work” and the crowd lapped it up. There was an incredible energy throughout the set between Urie and the crowd, as well as a lot of playfulness and energy on stage between Urie, Row and Naran. Song three was an oldie, but a goody, Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind), from 2011’s ‘Vices And Virtues’, which overall is a great dance track and really got the crowd moving.
Urie doesn’t just sing and is a multi-instrumentalist, picking up the guitar for Casual Affair and Vegas Lights, and playing piano several times throughout the set. The first piano track came in the form of a Bonnie Raitt cover, Urie played I Can’t Make You Love Me which is a track he told the crowd that his mother used to play for him as a child when he was hyper. Ballad Dying In L.A came next and scattered in the crowd where some yellow torchlights, one of two initiatives fans put together. The yellow lights came from small pieces of yellow paper, held in front of mobile phone torches in memory of those who have lost fights to suicide. It was a beautiful sight to see an arena almost completely lit by torchlight and Urie emotionally informed the crowd that it was so beautiful he felt as if he was going to cry. Urie has always been very publicly supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community and whilst performing Girls/Girls/Boys, not only was he inundated with Gay and Pansexual Pride flags, the second fan initiative came into play. Each section of the arena had paper hearts in various colours, so the torchlight projected the different colours of the pride flag.
In 2017 Urie appeared on Broadway in Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Kinky Boots’ in the lead role, he riffed a little bit of the Goonies theme song The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough before launching into a cover of Lauper’s 1983 hit Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which once again had every single member of the crowd singing and dancing along and it was a really fun addition to the setlist. Another thing than Brendon Urie is well known for is removing his clothing, and backflips. Whilst performing Miss Jackson Urie removed his jacket and gifted us with a backflip off the strings riser. Another cover that Panic! At The Disco are well known for is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Urie did not disappoint. He played the piano during the performance, as well as hitting every single one of Freddie Mercury’s high notes, as well as a few of his own that he added in.
After almost two hours of performing, the time for the set to end came far too quickly. Emperor’s New Clothes was the final track before the 3-song encore. The three encore songs were the highly popular and successful single Say Amen (Saturday Night), which also included several high notes that Urie hit with perfect and practiced precision. Next came the song that made Panic! At The Disco famous, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, where Urie gave the reigns over to the crowd for the majority of the song and the 10,000 fans in attendance did not disappoint and no microphones were needed. Before the final song, Urie thanked the crowd for coming to the show and reminded everyone “You’re already number one. You beat millions of sperm to your Mum’s egg!” before gold streamers burst from the streamer cannons and the band closed with Victorious. It was an absolutely spectacular performance from Urie and company and I personally already can’t wait for Panic! At The Disco to come back again.
(Fuck A) Silver Lining
Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)
Hey Look Ma, I Made It
The Ballad Of Mona Lisa
Nine In The Afternoon
Dancing’s Not A Crime
This Is Gospel
Death Of A Bachelor
I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt Cover)
Dying In LA
The Goonies R Good Enough (Cyndi Lauper Cover)
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper Cover)
King Of The Clouds
Emperor’s New Clothes
Say Amen (Saturday Night)
I Write Sins Not Tragedies