Brendon Urie and his band Panic! at the Disco have been through several transformations over the 13 years of the rock group’s existence. Instead of taking on new names as new members came and went, though, Urie kept the Panic! brand strong.
The frontman and his current band members (Dallon Weekes, Kenneth Harris and Dan Pawlovich) gave Panic! a resurgence in 2016 with the Grammy-nominated Death of a Bachelor. After co-headlining a tour with Weezer last summer, Panic! earned its own headlining arena tour in 2017 — the band’s first in nearly 10 years. But with the way Urie and Co. bring it onstage in the band’s most recent live trek, the Death of a Bachelor Tour, anyone would think they’ve been doing shows of this stature — with the same set of guys — from the start.
The Billboard 200-topping Death of a Bachelor also garnered a younger fanbase, like the one Panic! captivated with its first album, 2006’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and both demographics came together for this tour — proving that Urie has managed to keep the momentum alive and revive the initial success the group had.
Before Panic! even took the Wells Fargo Center stage in Philadelphia last weekend, it was apparent that they were thoughtful in their execution when it came to creating a memorable tour. High-energy groups Saint Motel and MisterWives (who played the hype new single “Machine” from its forthcoming album, due May 19) provided the perfect warm-up for the nonstop spectacle that was to come.
Ramping up the crowd even more with a dramatic (yet aesthetically appealing) 10-minute countdown, Panic! begins the show with “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” — fitting, as that’s exactly what they do for the 75-minute set.
With five albums to the Panic! name, 75 minutes may seem a bit short. But they manage to pack 22 songs into that time, in part due to the fact that Urie keeps his song intros to a minimum and lets the show do the talking — which results in quite the seamless thrill of a show.
Pyrotechnics and 3-D screens projecting lively visuals highlight the energy and rock-star charisma Urie exudes as he bounces around the stage (while fearlessly hitting all his falsetto parts, and then some).
Even the setlist is curated in a thoughtful way, balancing Panic!’s faster-paced tracks with those that focus more on Urie’s powerful vocals — as well as an ode to the band’s debut album, giving older fans a nostalgic adrenaline rush. One of the most exciting moments of the show is during “This Is Gospel,” which Urie tackles on his own on an elevated sparkly piano in the middle of the crowd, and then makes his way through the audience for the title track of the tour.
The spectacle continues for the second half of the show, which features a colorful shout-out to LGBTQ rights during “Girls/Girls/Boys” and the group’s genius cover of Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with Urie’s all-or-nothing effort shining above even the most breathtaking theatrics (including a backflip and a drum solo, all by Urie himself).
“Thank you for letting me do this for 13 years,” Urie genuinely smirks toward the end of the show. If he — and whichever members stick with him through the years — continues this kind of hype on the road, Panic! will be doing this for 13 more years and beyond.
The Death of a Bachelor Tour continues Thursday night (March 2) at New York’s Madison Square Garden.