Panic! at the Disco are an American rock band from Las Vegas, popular with yoots. My daughter is a big fan so we got tickets to see them at Alexandra Palace in London.
This was the second time we’d seen Panic! (this apostrophe is going to wind me up.) The first time was on their previous tour at the Forum in Kentish Town. At the first gig, I was the solitary dad at the back whilst Ella and her friends rocked out down the front. I knew most of their songs, although not intimately, and was really impressed by their performance.
For the Ally Pally gig I was a little more prepared. A few years had passed, I’d got to know their music and looked forward to seeing the show.
If you’ve never been up to Ally Pally, it is a famous ‘palace’ atop a major hill in North London. The palace was not a royal one but instead built for entertainment and recreation as a companion to the original Crystal Palace. It was where the BBC first broadcast television and is now a small museum and large ish music venue.
The queue to get into the auditorium snaked thrice around this large building as we shivered through a November evening, looking down towards the city. It was certainly a long way and a lot colder than our last concerts in the desert.
First up was Tiger Town, a young band from Australia who delivered an upbeat and catchy set. I really enjoyed their set and bought the CD even though I could stream them on Spotify. It makes a nice coaster and hopefully offers a little bit of support to the band.
After warming up the crowd with ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’ and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls just wanna have fun’, the speakers were turned right up for a crazy visual sequence set to ‘Miserlou”. Sharing the Pulp Fiction reference was lost on the yoots around me.
The opening bars of ‘Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time’ sparked the hairs on the back of my neck and got the audience jumping. We’ll ignore the clear similarity to the Rock Lobster bass line.
Panic! at the Disco is now just one man, Brendon Urie supported by a touring band of previous members and travelling museum. Brendon is the chief writer and performer and write some killer lyrics with crazy titles (‘I write sins, not tragedies’). His performances are high energy, intoxicating.
Playing with a larger stage, the band stretched out to really deliver a smashing performance. They rocked through a good selection of their previous albums playing some of their greatest hits (so far.)
I am used to watching creaky old bands so I was blown away at the Forum when he backflipped from the drum riser to the stage. (It was tiny stage!) In addition to his back flipping antics, Brendon also played the drums on some tracks. Half way through the show, he sat at a raised piano and performed Bohemian Rhapsody. This song is one of those of covered but rarely mastered. I am delighted to report he nailed it. He clearly has the talent, the vocal power and ability to hit those notes.
Back down on stage we thundered through the last of the hits and ending with Victorious. There was no encore, there was no need. Panic! had delivered an intense, unforgettable set – there was no where else to go except home.