I should have expected it, but when Panic! at the Disco performed at House of Blues on Jan. 30, I felt out of place.
The first sign should have been all of the teenagers accompanied by their parents in line. The second sign should have been all of the fingerless gloves they were wearing. But for whatever reason, I thought to myself repeatedly, “This won’t be that bad.”
And I tried to get into the spirit beforehand. I really did. I made my eyeliner a little heavier than usual before the concert; I tried to make my bangs hang in my face a little more than usual.
As the concert progressed, though, it became much too clear: I was about eight or nine years too old to be at this concert. Most of us had our Panic! phase in 2005 when A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out came out. I still get a little giddy whenever I hear “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage” or “Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off.” (I mean, who doesn’t?) But with the exception of a few gems from that album, most of us have moved on.
The show opened with “Vegas Lights,” the third track off of the band’s newest album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! Lead singer Brendon Urie emerged wearing a gold tuxedo jacket to a chorus of teenage girls screaming.
It became evident immediately: Panic! fans go hard. Everyone knew every word to every song at this show. That took away from what could have potentially been a great show — It is really, really difficult to enjoy the music when you can’t actually hear it.
At a point during “The Ballad of Mona Lisa,” the teenage angst hit a pinnacle when Urie belted out the words with true heart-melting precision.
Urie knows his audience, and he certainly caters to it. He knows that the majority of his fans are rebellious teenagers who will swoon when he takes his shirt off or drops a couple of F-bombs. He plays up this fact majorly — and admittedly very well. You have to give him credit — the 26-year-old has been in this business for nearly a decade, and has had plenty of practice.
During the song “Nicotine,” they showed lingerie-clad women on the video screens, and I turned around to check out the faces of the bored parents standing in the background. It’s impossible to put their expressions into words — it was a mixture of shock and “I-can’t-believe-I-let-my-kid-
The band played plenty of old songs, including “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage” and “Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off.” But as the new songs continued, it was difficult to stay engaged.
At one point — in the middle of a song — I turned to my friend Brooke and asked if she wanted to get Warren Late Night after the concert. We spent the remainder of the song discussing mozzarella sticks and chicken strips. While everyone else was screaming and dancing and waving signs that said “I LOVE YOU BRENDON!,” we were standing motionless with our arms crossed talking about fried food. We were just like the bored parents behind us.
It picked up a bit though, with the most successful song off of the band’s new album, “Miss Jackson.” It had a fun beat — though not a beat that involved headbanging, as one of my neighbors found necessary — and catchy lyrics. The room reached peak volume when Urie did a backflip.
The encore involved parts of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” — getting the attention of some of the parents in the background — followed by the song that defined our middle school years, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” It ended the evening on a perfect, nostalgic note.
So, putting aside any get-off-my-lawn emotions, it wasn’t a bad show. Urie has an unbelievable voice that transcends any genre. He captivated and entertained a large group of people, which, yes, is the goal of a concert.
But wow, I’m old.