Panic! At The Disco
w/ A R I Z O N A, Hayley Kiyoko
San Jose, CA
August 14, 2018
Review by Jared Stossel.
The last time that Panic! At The Disco graced the halls of SAP Center, it was a much different time. Twelve years ago, to be exact. MySpace was a thing, the band had only one album under their belt (their highly-acclaimed debut A Fever You Can't Sweat Out), there were four members, and the venue even had a different name (HP Pavilion). Twelve years and six albums later, and vocalist Brendon Urie remains the sole member of the act, rounded out by a massive live touring lineup compiled of a guitarist, bassist, drummer, brass and string section. While many do yearn for the days of Fever You Can't Sweat Out and the nostalgia that is packed with it, Tuesday night's sold out 'Pray For The Wicked' Tour stop in San Jose proved that this is by far the strongest that Panic! At The Disco has ever been.
The show was opened by emerging dream-pop singer/songwriter Hayley Kiyoko, and it was clear that people showed up early so that they could catch her set. Kiyoko has become a bit of a force to be reckoned with, already selling out venues around the country as she performs tracks from her debut album Expectations. Electro-pop/rock act A R I Z O N A took the stage for a main support slot, filling the packed arena with gorgeous instrumentation and trance-like sounds from their 2017 debut album, GALLERY. Both Kiyoko and A R I Z O N A set the mood perfectly before a countdown clock popped up on the screens lining the stage, announcing that Panic! would be making their return to the Bay in ten minutes.
As soon as the lights went down, the entire band's stage set-up rose up from below, with a string section playing an opening piece before Urie popped up from underneath the stage and launched headfirst into "(Fuck A) Silver Lining" as streamers covered the audience on the floor. "Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time" from Death of a Bachelor followed, as a shot of fireworks were set off over the stage at just the right moment. Urie may be one of the most charismatic frontmen in modern rock out there today, as he utilized the entirety of the massive stage set-up that Panic! brought along with them on this run.
A plethora of some of Panic!'s biggest and brightest tracks reigned supreme throughout the show, with songs from every record making an appearance in some capacity. During a portion of the show, Urie drops below the stage, only to ascend back up on a gigantic grand piano and dive into "Nine In The Afternoon", a track from the psychedelic-infused Pretty. Odd. "Golden Days" featured a cascade of golden sparklers that only accentuated the impressive notes that Urie hit throughout the song.
About halfway through the show, Urie descended into the crowd, and in Frank Sinatra style, performed "Death of A Bachelor" while shaking hands and walking through the aisles to get to the back of the arena, where he jumped onto yet another grand piano. Only this time, it floated over an audience that lit up with cell phone flashlights, making it look eerily like he was traveling over the night sky. "Dying In LA" may be one of the best songs Urie has written under the Panic! moniker, and his performance on that grand piano provided one of the most memorable moments in live music this summer. He returned to the stage where the crowd lit up with brilliant technicolor as the band powered into "Girls/Girls/Boys" and a cover of "Girls Just Want To Have Fun".
"Miss Jackson" provided yet another highly memorable moment, in which Urie performs a drum solo on a pop-up drumset (yes, he's a multi-instrumentalist), and accents it with a backflip before jumping back into the song's chorus on vocals. "Crazy=Genius" brought pyrotechnics of the highest degree with a big-band-swing-meets-rock-band sound reminiscent of something you'd hear in Aladdin. Their fan favorite cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" was impressively performed, and I'm willing to say that they're the only band out there other than Queen that could successfully pull this song off. "Emperor's New Clothes" signaled the end of a powerful set before the band returned to the stage for a three song encore consisting of "Say Amen (Saturday Night)", emo anthem "I Write Sins Not Tragedies", and the electrifying "Victorious".
A few years back, I was a little worried about whether or not Panic! At The Disco would reclaim their throne after losing so many members in the original lineup. Now? Not so worried. Urie and co. brought one of the best shows of the entire year to San Jose, and fans should be eager to see them come back to Oakland next year.
Panic! At The Disco Setlist
(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
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Robert Hazard cover)
King of the Clouds
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
Emperor's New Clothes
Say Amen (Saturday Night)
I Write Sins Not Tragedies