With Panic! at the Disco’s “Pray for the Wicked” tour visiting both Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri, many had “High Hopes” leading up to the Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. concert dates.
The concert opened with a literal bang, as silver confetti was fired into the crowd, cleverly coordinating with the opening number, “(F--- a) Silver Lining.”
Lead singer Brendon Urie sprung up from below the stage clad in leather pants, golden blazer and clasping a matching gold-topped microphone.
Urie was accompanied throughout the concert by a nine-piece band complete with violin, viola, cello, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, Dan Pawlovich on the drums, Mike Naran on guitar and Nicole Row on Bass.
The utilization of the live instrumentalists wowed junior Payton Adams during the show at Omaha’s CHI Health Center.
“It wasn’t just a CD playing and his singing. It was the trumpets, the violins, the guitars, the drums, all that stuff, everybody together, there, 100 percent live,” Adams said. “It made everything more emotional … There was more ‘oomph’ behind it. There was more passion; so that’s what made you feel the passion in the audience.”
Urie sprinkled sporadic whistle-like falsettos throughout almost every song, demonstrating his expansive vocal prowess.
“When I listen to it on my phone, he hits the high notes. But hitting the high notes over my phone and in person are two different things,” Adams said. “When you try to sing along to something like that, when he hits the different notes or whatever, it makes you realize just how difficult that really is and how talented he is as a singer.”
Sophomore Gina Bisacca, who went to the concert Kansas City’s Sprint Center, echoed the astounding contrast between a recording and the true effect of Urie’s voice.
“When you’re listening to a recording, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is really cool,’ and you can tell they put a lot of work into it, but when you hear somebody sing it live, it just adds that extra bit to it,” Bisacca said. “Brendon also has a really good vocal range. So when he sings in concert, he’s more likely to add in some extra flares and stuff you might not hear in the original recording.”
Urie brought inexhaustible energy to the stage and a display of dance moves reminiscent of the Mad Hatter’s flatterwacken. Just as the song says, Urie conveyed “Dancing’s Not a Crime.”
Freshman Liz Litton said Urie had an “an overall really fun stage presence” at the Saturday, Kansas City show.
Vibrant background videography, light shows and lasers accentuated the band’s theatrics on a lit stage shaped like Panic! at the Disco’s triangular logo. A white, floating piano that Urie road over the crowd, and not one, but several instruments that ascended from below stage throughout the show contributed to the band’s dramatic flare.
“The atmosphere was wild,” Adams said. “It was a concert, but you could tell with how much coordination and with all these different elements that he brought into the show how much time he put into it.”
After nearly 15 years since its first release, Panic! had a large repertoire of songs, both new release such as “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” and classics like “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” The band has also covered “The Greatest Show” from the “The Greatest Showman” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The wide range of songs was Litton’s favorite part of the performance.
“The best part was that the set was two hours long. That was such a long set compared to the typical one, and Panic! has so much music over the years that it definitely allowed them to get a good variety of their stuff in,” Litton said. “I also love that they always do ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ It shows just how crazy Brendon Urie’s range is.”
Panic! at the Disco’s “Girls/Girls/Boys” is considered by many an anthem for the LGBTQ community. To pair with the song, fans shined lights through colored hearts to create a rainbow effect provided by the Panic! at the Disco Hearts Project, a volunteer, fan-based organization.
“There’s this project at some of the shows where some fans will work together to cut out these hearts. They’re different colors … and these fans will come in early and place them at all the seats so when fans shine a light through, it’ll shine and make a rainbow around the arena,” Bisacca said. “When they get to that part of the concert and everybody has those hearts out lit up, it just looks so amazing.”
Bisacca applauded Urie’s effort to create an inclusive, encouraging atmosphere.
“(He was) really positive, wanting fans to realize they’re important, not just as a fan base, but important as people in general,” Bisacca said.
For Adams, it was Urie’s character and inspiring comments to the crowd that made the experience complete.
“(My favorite moments were) the moments where he displayed his true character and values as a human being; the moments when he gave his little spiels, like … about how we’re obviously meant to be here,” Adams said. “That just made him more relatable and made everything more fun, because not only could you appreciate the music, but you could appreciate him as a human being too.”