Panic! at the Disco at The Woodlands, 8/19/2014
Photos by Violeta Alvarez
Panic! at the Disco Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion August 19, 2014
Panic! at the Disco in 2014 is definitely not what it was before. The "baroque rock" band that joined the likes of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance in 2006 to capture the souls of teenage girls going through their respective "scene queen" phase now only consists of one original band member, lead singer Brendon Urie. Co-founder Spencer Smith couldn't join Panic! during this summer's "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" tour because he needed to take some time off to deal with repercussions of alcohol and substance abuse, while other members each left somewhere along the band's eight-year, four-album timeline probably due to creative reasons.
Urie being the only remaining original member seems fitting, though, because he is and always has been the charmingly hyperactive, attention-seeking one in the band -- the type of person every pop rock band wishes to have as their front man. You'd think so many losses would force Panic! to downsize. However, Tuesday night they played the biggest venue they've ever played in the Houston area, and played it well.
This being their second time in Houston within a year, you could tell that the band loves this city and this city loves them, especially when Urie stripped his clothes off three or four songs into the 22-song set. The Pavilion may not have been completely packed last night, but the audience that was there was completely invested.
Panic! at the Disco emerged at a time when the amount of wristbands on your arm was indicative of your real dedication to a certain band, and those types of hardcore supporters still make up the majority of Panic's core fanbase. When they came on stage performing "Vegas Lights," the blue-haired girl and her friend in front of me shared a hug, as if thinking, "It's finally happening!" And never have I seen so many people actually follow the cheesy audience-interaction attempts of an opening act.
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I'd like to say that the experience was as thrilling and nostalgic as I expected it to be, but it wasn't quite there, in part due to Urie's lacking his huge stage presence and comedic personality. Maybe he was just having a bad night, or maybe he was restrained by having to constantly worry about controlling the drum machine-looking synthesizer rectangle at the front of the stage. Take that away, and hopefully we would've gotten more theatrical showman and less douchey rock star.
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But what he seemed to be lacking last night in the personality department he made up for with his energy and vocals. I used to sing the whole A Fever You Can't Sweat Out album in the mirror and wish that I had Urie's voice, and that still holds true. He constantly showed off his ability to hit unbelievable high notes throughout the night, making people's eyes widen as they looked at each other in disbelief. Seriously, how is that even possible?
This contagious energy, along with the multiple backflips and the up-to-par "Bohemian Rhapsody" cover, ultimately made for quite an enjoyable night. In 2014, Panic! At the Disco is still releasing successful music while proving their longevity at the same time. And I have to say, if they happen to come back to the big H anytime soon, you can count me in because there's just no way I can resist that soaring...Alto 1?
Personal Bias: I have a long connection with P!ATD. My babysitter played their CD in the car when I was nine and got me hooked. We would have competitions to see who could sing the high notes the best.
The Crowd: Either people in their early twenties or late teens who remember jamming out to "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" in their rooms, or teenagers who seem like they have a blast at Warped Tour each year. A surprising number of bros.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Guys! I just got selected for World of Warcraft beta testing!"
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