Sound: Panic At The Disco have released two studio albums: one lyrically ingenious and aggressive electronic-tinged pop-punk album and one -mellow, psychadelic, 60's-inspired pop-rock/folk-rock album. As one might imagine, these two sounds did not weave very well into a single Live performance. In accordance with their new jangly guitar sound, Panic shunned pianos and synthesisers on this tour (previously crucial elements to their performances) and tried to translate all of their songs into guitar-only affairs. The result was that all of the synth-driven and piano-driven songs from the first album came off as very thin and transparent. I have nothing against the folky new album (somtimes preferring it over "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out"), but it mjust be said that they didn't have much of a place at a pop-punk driven show co-featuring bands like Phantom Planet and Motion City Soundtrack: essentially, Panic At The Disco's set was a show-damper, and I think most people will agree that the acts preceding them gave a much more interesting show. On serious flaw that is always a problem with PatD is that vocalist Brendon Urie sings primarily from the throat, and has trouble sustaining his voice over the course of an entire set. Reviewing my videos of the concert, I cannot help but cringe at how much he needs to yelp and strain his voice to get the words out. // 6
Perfomance: I think most people in the audience were there primarily to see Panic At The Disco. I was personally very eager to see both them and their garage-revival counterparts, Phantom Planet. Sadly, there was an immediate sag in the audience's energy level when Panic took the stage. The staging was itself much less dramatic than their previous circus-inspired performances-the only visual aspect of this show consisted of flowered string wrapped lazily around their microphones. Their setlist was far from being inspiring:
01.We're So Starving: the introductory track from their newest record and the predictable show opener. This did make for an fun, playful start.
02.Nine In The Afternoon: easily the best song of the performance. It was their newest single and still fresh enough to be a crowd-mover.
03.She's a Handsome Woman: this was where the energy level decreased dramatically. The inclusion of this slow-paced, drugged-out song so early in the show was a definite mistake on their part.
04.Camisado: a slight increase in energy level. This song was the first in a string of tracks from their first record. This song didn't suffer as much from the lack of synths and was quite enjoyable.
05.But It's Better If You Do: one of the hardest songs off of their first album, this one translated well into a uniquely guitar-based performance.
06.Time To Dance: this is one of my favourite Panic songs, but was the biggest yawner of the show. The album version of this track is the most synth-driven one on the record, and trying to compensate for the lack of synths by having the audience vocalise the keyboard riff simply did not work- everyone was lost halfway into the first verse.
07.Behind The Sea: this was the point after which the show became irredeemable. While Panic's new Beatles-influenced pop psychadelia is very enjoyable at home, it simply doesn't have the same effect when it follows much louder, harder-rocking groups like Motion City Sound Track. This is the point when, had I been able to find my girlfriend, I would have gone home.
08.Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off: one of Panic's worst attempts at humour served as the introduction for this song: a callout to all the "sexy ladies" (all of whom were probably dramatically underaged, btw Brendon) just ended up sounding sexist and really ruined this song for me. To top it off, it was quite sloppily performed.
09.I Constantly Thank God For Esteban: potentially one of the most energetic songs in Panic's repertoire, this was effectively ruined by Brandon's increasing strained vocals (most tracks on the first album are drastically out of his range) and his reliance on audience sing-alongs to carry him during the choruses.
10.There's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey: actually not a badly performed number, though it was audibly bare from the lack of layers that are present on the studio album.
11.The Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed): from this point forward, songs from "Pretty. Odd." were played almost exclusively, dragging the show to a terribly show ending. Brandon's vocals continued to deteriorate over the next few songs.
12.Northern Downpour: an Acoustic song that was pretty, and low enough for Brendon to manage decently. It was done fairly well, but may have done a little better near the middle of the set, when we were all a little less tired.
13.I Write Sins Not Tragedies: panic's most famous song, successfully ruined by Brendon's inability to reach the notes.
14.Pas De Cheval: more off of the second album. Brendon practically had to yell the chorus to be able to get it out. The backing vocals were delightfully well done, though. It was a good pick as a closing song. // 6
Overall Impression: I saw Panic At The Disco at the Metropolis in Montreal on May 13, 2008 as part of the Honda Civic Tour. Opening for them were Fuelled By Ramen labelmates Phantom Planet and The Hush Sound, as well as special guests Motion City Soundtrack. Sadly, all three of the opening acts managed to outdo them. The three first acts made this into an immensely lively and interactive show, calling for audience participation, and generally keeping a humorous and energetic mood. Panic At The Disco, however, were unable to Live up to their Status as headliners and delivered only a mediocre show. I definitely felt disappointed, as even online videos of them manage to capture a certain energy and flamboyance they have on stage. I actually hope to see them again, just to give them a chance to redeem themselves, because if this show was as good as they get Live, then they don't have much going for them. // 5