When my friend and I arrived at the Wiltern, we saw that the line stretching around the block was a sea of teenage and early 20-somethings clad in Panic! At the Disco paraphernalia and too-trendy ripped jeans. We actually debated selling our tickets because the concert looked over-sold. Reaching the front of the line, we snuck in our cameras and found that there weren’t that many people there. This, however, was a gross miscalculation; soon we were smashed up against everyone in sweltering mess of music and dance.
I was in awe when Panic! came out. The audience rushed the stage as soon as the dropcloths hiding the set were pulled off revealing a small windmill and raised stages for the drummer and keyboarder. Immediately, the dancers, wearing costumes with feathers, sequins, and leather, began showing off their best moves. They commanded the crowd’s attention for the entire show, and the more songs they played the more the crowd’s enthusiasm grew.
The Hush Sound opened, playing in the mediocre way that most opening bands do. However, this was the last night of the tour, so there were some moments that deviated from what I expected. During one of the Hush Sound’s songs, Brendon Urie, the lead singer of Panic!, ran on stage and started singing with them. The crowd went wild. The other members of Panic! also ran on stage and played tricks on various members of the Hush Sound. At one point, they disassembled the drum set and ran off stage with it. The atmosphere of the crowd was instantly changed from one of anticipation for Panic! to smiling and laughing.
After Hush, the Dresden Dolls came on in a flourish of lights. They played very well, and got the crowd ready for Panic! This punk-rock duet’s hit song “Coin-Operated Boy” was a hit, but so was, surprisingly, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” during which they were accompanied by Brendan Urie. The irony of a rock band playing a number one hit pop single was entertaining and the emo/rock spin they placed on the song was the perfect way for the Dresden Dolls to close their set.
Finally after about an hour or so of waiting, Panic! At the Disco hit the stage. Opening with, fittingly, “It’s Time to Dance” they took the crowd by storm. The crowd immediately became a bouncing sweaty mess of happy and impassioned fans. The drummer was continuously throwing drum sticks into the audience and Brendon was always pointing at a member of the pit and smiling and winking; this drew the crowd in and made us all want to scream and dance to draw his attention and get recognized. The opening bands ran on stage and took Polaroids of Panic! and threw the pictures into the pit. Panic’s playing and singing, which sounded even better than their CD, only contributed to their amazing performance.
Despite that these boys are only 19-year-olds, the way they played and gelled made them seem like seasoned pros. Song after song they continued to amaze and keep the crowd pumped, using the choreographed dancers to enhance their brilliant songs. My favorite Panic! song, “There’s a Good Reason Why these Tables are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought of it Yet,” was also my favorite performance. Brendon, during the instrumental portion of the song, began waltzing with one of the dancers on stage and then walked down into the area between the stage and the crowd before running on stage again to sing. Despite the cliché, I soon found myself falling in love with, not only the lead singer, but each and every member of this band. I was not alone. When they ended, the crowd yelled and called for more, but to no avail. This was one concert I wish could never end.