It was 2003 or so and I heard my first Panic! at the Disco song on the radio. I was awkward as they come(I would say), terrified of girls, unsure about anything and everything all the time, but I always had music. In previous write ups I have said “there was always music” and this band is no exception to that theme. I went through my teen years and many struggles with the choruses of many bands and Panic has always had a strong nostalgic footing in my heart. Besides, it’s much easier to face these types of things with a sense of poise and rationality. Sorry, momentary flashbacks again. But let’s dive in because I went from cautiously optimistic to celebrating one of my favorite teenage bands this evening of music.
First on the docket was Hayley Kiyoko a singer, songwriter, dancer, director, and actress out of LA. Talk about a resume, sometimes I wonder how people have so much ability packed into one being. Hayley’s energy was clear from song one. Her style on stage is the same as her music videos, where her dancing and enjoyment for entertaining are evident. And she’s no stranger to being outspoken, declaring “I really really like girls!…” at one point and making the crowd go wild. As it goes with many openers I photograph I had little knowledge of her music or politics but sure enough if you hit YouTube her big hits include Girls Like Girls. I need to get on my youtube game before shows apparently!
On deck was a band I have been a fan of for the last couple years and was excited to see live. A R I Z O NA is a band from the opposite end of the country, Jersey, from Hayley and in some ways a much different sound but also very traditional in their electropop sound. But if we are being honest, this is a night of electropop and a time traveling trip back to sounds of the 80s, which I loved every moment of as a kid raised in a house obsessed with 80s music. While photographing I tend to lose track of songs especially in openers but what I can say is they hold up to the hype and their studio sounds as well as such fun dance hits like Don Diablo’s Take Her Place which the band is featured on. Some songs to definitely check out to get the vibe for A R I Z O N A should include, Take Her Place, Cross My Mind, Where I Wanna Be, and Oceans Away.
Armed with a brand new album “Pray for the Wicked” Panic! At The Disco choose Minneapolis to kick off their tour named after the album. If you aren’t aware by now, let me break some news to you right away. Panic! is still a band, they’re still awesome, and they still have their signature sound. But it’s no longer the original members and is a new lineup backing lead man Brendon Urie. That being said, I wouldn’t have noticed until someone notified this morning who was at the show. I was too busy enjoying the music and performance while photographing to pay much attention to who Urie was singing and dance with. The new band members may not be in the original lineup, but they’re awesome and fill in to provide the Panic! sound perfectly. I was not the only one with that opinion, it was fun seeing the sheer number of kids buying merch, taking selfies, and trying to sneak in. In the day and age of technology I’m still surprised people try, but for such shows they do.
We got to see some of Panic!’s new music including one new favorite of mine, “Silver Lining”. Not having seen the band live, I didn’t realize the Urie can move. He was up and down the catwalk of the stage numerous times in the first couple songs alone. I’d have been exhausted already if him. Suffice it to say Panic!’s new band lineup and songs kill it. I had to wait over 10 years to see this band live but feel like it was made up for and envy every fan who got to stay through the entirety of the show. The set list included sever covers including a nod to Cyndi Lauper (whose musical Kinky Boots, Urie starred in) and a great performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Visual treats included a floating piano. The crowd at the sold out Target Center was on their feet pretty much the whole show. I truly hope Brendon keeps his new sounds going for a while. The new age doo wop with 80s electro type sound and vocals are awesome.
Set List: (Fuck A) Silver Lining / Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time / Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind) / Hey Look Ma, I Made It (Live Debut) / LA Devotee / Hallelujah / The Ballad of Mona Lisa / Nine in the Afternoon / Golden Days / Casual Affair / Vegas Lights / Dancing’s Not a Crime (Live Debut) / This Is Gospel / Death of a Bachelor / I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover) / Dying in LA (Live Debut) / Girls/Girls/Boys / Nicotine / Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper cover) / High Hopes / Miss Jackson / King of the Clouds (Live Debut) / Crazy=Genius / Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover) / Emperor’s New Clothes
Encore: Say Amen (Saturday Night) / I Write Sins Not Tragedies / Victorious