High hopes for Panic! at the Disco

By Staff Writer Kylie Cooper

There was once a time when mention of Panic! at the Disco beckoned thoughts of eyeliner, song titles that are far too long to remember, and four band members. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” joined the ranks of classic emo anthems and was their only song many people were familiar with.

Five albums later, the only remaining member Brendon Urie—sans eyeliner—dances across stage in a gold jacket hitting high notes that leave the audience in awe.

The LA-based band behind chart-topping “High Hopes” came to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Saturday, January 19 as part of Leg 2 of the Pray for the Wicked Tour.

Opening the show was Betty Who, who brought impressive dance moves and catchy lyrics. Preceding her was Two Feet, whose guitar- and bass-heavy songs reverberated deeply throughout the audience.
Similar to Leg 1 of the Pray for the Wicked Tour this past summer, where rising star Hayley Kiyoko and ARIZONA were the opening acts, Panic! brought out musicians whose styles differ from, yet compliment, their own.

Of course, the show-stealer was Urie, who made his appearance by jumping onto the stage from a lower level, instantly exuding charm and youthful energy as silver streamers cascaded down into the audience.
His vocals were superb—and arguably even better than some original recordings, as he added falsetto to lyrics. The cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, a song Urie believes to be “the best song ever composed,” was notably astounding; even Freddie Mercury lowered the high notes when performing live.

Urie also showcased his impressive range during “Death of a Bachelor,” the title song of Panic!’s fifth album, as he walked through the crowd hugging fans.
The 31-year-old’s talent doesn’t stop at singing. In addition to playing the piano for three songs, Urie also played the guitar during “This is Gospel” and had a drum solo in the middle of “Miss Jackson”…and then did a backflip immediately after the solo.

Accompanying Urie were touring members Nicole Row on bass, Dan Pawlovich on drums, and—the newest face to the stage—Mike Naran on guitar.
The string and brass trios served as a beautiful background to the concert, a touch that makes Panic!’s sound unique.

Amid the roaring flames on stage during three songs, the colorful strobes that reached across the arena, and the popping graphics that graced the fourteen soaring screens framing the stage were beautifully simple moments that made the sold-out concert feel like a personal show.
Urie floated across the arena while playing a suspended piano during “Dying in LA,” a raw and powerful ballad about chasing dreams in Los Angeles but turning up with nothing.
A sole spotlight drifted down on him as fans swayed back and forth with their phone flashlights. It was a beautiful moment.

Equally touching was “Girls/Girls/Boys”, when the entire audience held colored paper hearts up to their flashlights to create a luminous transgender flag in the balcony, a pride flag in the lodge, and a bisexual flag on the floor seats.

The hearts project was created in 2017 by two fans and has persisted during each performance of the LGBT+ community anthem ever since.
Urie’s genuine appreciation and love for his fans was felt during his speech reminding everyone of “just how important you are—not just to me, but in the existence of everything.”

Of the 28 songs on the setlist, my favorite performance was one new to Leg 2 of the tour: “The Greatest Show” from ​The Greatest Showman: Reimagined​ soundtrack.

And the greatest show Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked Tour is.

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