After five long years, Panic! At The Disco are finally back in Manchester and with their trademark exclamation mark. There’s a huge queue of eager fans snaked around the building. A rainbow of various hair colours populates the view, as well as a few moody boyfriends who have been dragged along by their very keen partners. Not much has changed in five years then.
To warm up the crowd are the relatively unknown band Love Letters (**). Not many people in the crowd have heard of them before, and it seems like no one really cares either. They’re just here to see P!ATD and them alone. Love Letters aren’t all that great. Even though the scheduled set is only 20 minutes long, they only play for 15 minutes and even that seemed to drag on a bit. They quickly become stale, and each track just blended into the next. There’s a bit of arm waving and a few cheers, but other than that it ultimately results as a pretty poor set. Quick frankly, the crowd don’t need a support act to get them ready.
As soon as the lights went down, ear drums around the venue are raped by the sound of just under 2000 screaming girls, shrieking at the mere sight of Panic! At The Disco (****) taking the stage. Don’t get me wrong, the teenage girl inside me was quite flustered too (and if you take that out of context, you’ve got to change your train of thought). They blast into new single ‘Ready To Go’ which has the whole room bouncing along within moments. From there on the two-piece just keep the hits coming; ‘The Ballad Of Mona Lisa’, ‘Lying Is The Most Fun…’ and ‘Camisado’ are just some of the epic numbers consisting the band’s set.
Each song is played to perfection, with Brendon Urie‘s beaming smile breaking every girl’s heart in the room and highlighting every note in the melody. It’s hard to find a band that is as good live as they are on record, but Panic! are definitely one of them.
However, their set isn’t exactly perfect. Brendon spends a lot of time dicking about with his voice when he should be singing the songs the people want to hear. A bit of variation for the norm is good in a live show, but when it’s each and every song it gets a tad tedious and irritating. Playing not one but four covers doesn’t work greatly in their favour either. That’s four songs the P!ATD could have played from any of their own three albums. To their credit, the covers were executed brilliantly.
The gig as a whole was a bloody good one. It’s refreshing to see a band that loves music as much as P!ATD does, and a band that plays for their own amusement as well as their fans. Still, I can’t help but feel, that they have to step things up a notch when they take the stage at the bigger festivals later on in the year.
Written by Andy Roberts