Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time, and What a Time It Was: The Death of a Bachelor Tour
The day is March 17th, 2017, Saint Patrick’s Day, and I am about to go see Panic! at the Disco on their Death of a Bachelor Tour.
The first opening act for the night was Saint Motel, a fun group with a groovy retro sound. I was quite excited to see them since I had heard several of their songs on the radio before, and quite enjoyed them. They definitely did not disappoint, supplying the audience trickling in with a rousing energy. The band’s lead singer, A/J Jackson frequently interacted with the audience and encouraged us to clap, sing, and scream along. The group is big on visuals paired with the music, and the screens on the sides of the stage that normally show close-ups of the band as they play instead featured a variety of images, including lyrics at some points and retro inspired ads and song announcements. Their set was relatively short, consisting of five songs including “Cold Cold Man” and the irresistible “Move” among others. Though the set was quick, it was memorable and got the audience excited for what was to come next.
The second opening act was indie-pop band MisterWives. This group I knew less about going in than I did about Saint Motel, though I figured I had probably heard some of their songs on the radio before. I was fairly confident that when they began to play I would recognize their sound, and I was correct about that. Their set consisted of a few more tracks than Saint Motel had played, and included the pop fun of “Our Own House”. They were also quite energetic on stage, with the lead singer Mandy Lee bouncing all over the stage in a sparkling jacket. One of the cutest moments of the night came when she dedicated a new song to her “drummer boy,” boyfriend Etienne Bowler who is the drummer for the band. This elicited an audible “aww” from the audience. The entire set was fun and upbeat, much like the band itself. However, as more and more people filled in from getting food and merch in the halls of the Pepsi Center, I could feel the anticipation for the main act growing and growing.
There was then about half an hour before Panic! at the Disco would be coming on after MisterWives finished their set. Lights came up and people began milling about, finding friends and stretching their legs. My friend and I amused ourselves by watching the men who would be working the spotlights for the show get hoisted up to the high dangling rafters and get into position. Then 8:50 hit and suddenly an animated image of a door appeared on the large screen directly behind the stage. This elicited a scream of excitement from the crowd, something I was coming to expect whenever anything regarding changing the stage happened. Then, about a minute later, a countdown showed up on the door, ominously ticking down the minutes until the big event. Every time another minute passed, such as exactly at 5:00 or 4:00, the crowds’ screams would sound again, with the volume getting progressively louder every minute that passed. Finally the clock showed 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and the door opened.
With the opening chords of “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time” we were off for the night. Panic! at the Disco belted through the first few songs with hardly a breath to spare, Brendon Urie a manic ball of energy bounding around the stage hitting insanely high notes galore. I was so happy when the second song they played was my favorite one of theirs, “LA Devotee” and sang along at the top of my lungs. I also screamed a little too loudly after it was over, leading to a coughing attack that prompted my friend to ask if I was alright. I was fine, I was more than fine, I was great! I was getting to see Panic! at the Disco! That was my attitude, and the attitude of what felt like most of the packed crowd throughout the night.
The band kept up the break neck pace it set early on for much of the evening, often transitioning straight from song to song with little time in between. There was a brief slow down period in the middle of the concert. All the lights went out on the main stage, and a short video featuring Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy played on the screens surrounding it. This gave Brendon Urie time to get over to a small stage at the back of the Pepsi Center, near where I was sitting, that was revealed to have a piano on it. He played the beautiful “This is Gospel” from there, then began the trek back to the main stage through the crowd. He hugged, shook hands, and high fived the fans while making his way back and singing the track “Death of a Bachelor” something he later joked about saying, “I love you, but I couldn’t really talk to you guys, I was singing.” The concert then kicked back into full energy mode, with Brendon appearing to relax a bit more and make some more jokes.
The set list featured just about everything a fan could want from a concert. Though much of the focus was on the songs from the Death of a Bachelor album, which makes sense considering it is a tour for that, plenty of older tracks got attention as well. Early on in the show the band ran through a medley of songs from albums like A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and Pretty. Odd. Several songs from 2013’s Too Weird to Live Too Rare to Die also were performed, including “Miss Jackson” and “Vegas Lights.” They performed Girls/Girls/Boys while a rainbow image of famous LGBT+ celebrities flashed on the screens behind them, and the audience became a sea of different colored flashlights due to paper hearts cut out of different colored paper. It was a touching moment that left Brendon Urie marveling and asking everyone to hold up the rainbow of flashlights again so he could take it all in. A couple of covers happened during the concert as well, such as their popular cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel, a wonderfully delightful surprise to my Billy Joel loving heart. I sang my lungs out during that one, and was probably the most excited person in my entire section. Really, I was so into it I may have scared some people near me. Panic! at the Disco finished off on a high point with their signature song “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and left the audience screaming and singing into the night.