Panic! At The Disco Thrive During RodeoHouston Debut

Brendon Urie was all smiles at his RodeoHouston debut
Brendon Urie was all smiles at his RodeoHouston debut Photo by Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™
Panic! at the Disco
NRG Stadium
March 3, 2019

Brendon Urie is no stranger to big stages.

Just last August, the emo rocker turned pop crooner sold out the Toyota Center while touring in support of his band's sixth studio album, Pray For The Wicked. It was quite the performance, but the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is another animal entirely. It's a bigger stage, a much larger venue and a daunting landscape that keeps performers a good 20-plus yards from their closest fans.

Somehow, Urie made it look easy.

In front of 74,738 screaming fans - the second largest crowd so far this season - Panic! at the Disco made their RodeoHouston debut in grand fashion. Clad in a gold jacquard blazer and sporting an exaggerated pompadour, Urie trotted around the star-shaped stage as if he had done so dozens of times.

He was flanked by a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a string ensemble: two violinists and a cellist. Later in the show, the string ensemble was replaced with a brass section. Throughout it all, a comically large grin was plastered on Urie's face as he belted out hit after hit, occasionally generating shrill cries from his fans with his falsetto.

Much like they did on their last visit, Panic! neglected much of their older material in favor of their later releases. Just two songs from the A Fever You Can't Sweat Out and Pretty. Odd. were played: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" and "Nine In The Afternoon."

For many of us, those two albums defined this band. But both of those records are now more than a decade old, and Urie's fanbase is largely made up of teenagers who grew up listening to 2013's Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die — a solid LP in its own right.

Panic!'s newer songs proved to be just as rich as their older material. "Girls/Girls/Boys" explores sexual identity; "This Is Gospel" laments a former bandmate's struggle with substance abuse; and in "Emperor's New Clothes," Urie admits that, despite their fleeting nature, he still finds himself chasing both fame and fortune.

Despite focusing on his latest releases, Urie made time for two of his oldest singles as well as a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." But save for those three tracks, his act was as up-to-date as possible. Because Panic! is far less interested in holding my ear and far more interested in connecting with a younger audience.

Which is why Sunday's show likely won't be their last time gracing RodeoHouston's iconic star-shaped stage.

Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
Ready To Go
Hey Look Ma, I Made It
LA Devotee
The Ballad Of Mona Lisa
Nine In The Afternoon
One Of The Drunks
Dancing’s Not A Crime
This Is Gospel
Death Of A Bachelor
The Greatest Show
High Hopes
Miss Jackson
Roaring 20s
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
Emperor’s New Clothes
Say Amen (Saturday Night)
I Write Sins Not Tragedies
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever