Curiosity, in music, is anything but a nasty flaw. It is thanks to our curiosity that we were able to see and discover the live talent of Panic! At The Disco, at the O2 Arena in London. No regrets. Live Report.
The stage doesn’t seem too far in front of us when we arrive at our block. Arizona has just started their first title in a simple but effective set. It’s a total discovery. Pop with effects and a tender side, they do what they can to occupy this immense space offered to them, in front of a quite classic black and white background. We feel them between excitement and intimidation. Rather cool, we note them on the artists-to-watch list.
It’s MØ that comes next. And what better as an introduction than the absolutely effective Lean On. It’s hard to remain impassive. We have fun at least as much as MØ who, on stage, gives everything she has, hops, dances, improvises and rejoices in her presence on this, once again, huge scene. As for her set design, lights and some white drapes, some shadow effects and projections of trees or moon do the trick.
But we’re not going to lie, we are clearly there to see the showman Brendon Urie sow panic in the arena… (yes because to say of the O2 that it is a disco… meh). And so the fateful moment comes after a countdown to make the amateurs of 24 blush. Urie sprout on stage in his Golden jacket, matching micro in hand. And it begins with (Fuck a) Silver Lining… the start of a setlist of twenty-eight titles that rock the arena.
With his backflips and his smooth and funky dance moves, no doubt is allowed: Brendon Urie is a very good leader, a showman of a kind that we barely see anymore on such large stages. Let’s add to this a sacred and powerful voice, starting from a deep bass to climb in highs worthy of the most iconic rock screams. Hey Look Ma, I Made It, Crazy=Genius, The Ballad of Mona Lisa, Dancing’s Not A Crime… All excellent titles that stand out as much as the incredible Nine in the Afternoon, This is Gospel, High Hopes, Miss Jackson and Roaring 20 ‘s.
The band sets fire to the stage. Literally. So, certainly, not everyone is Rammstein when it comes to playing with fire, but it has its little effect. With majestic lights, lasers and confetti everywhere, we have no doubt: it’s a big prod. And we can’t help but like it. Just to confirm this, Panic! At the Disco allow themselves to beautifully cover a few songs like I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt), The Greatest Show (The Greatest Showman) and of “the greatest song in rock’s history” according to Urie (and not just him): Bohemian Rhapsody, of Queen, of course.
The first one is a suspended moment… Once again, it’s very literal since Urie finds himself playing on a white grand piano (this is the second grand piano of the evening, I say let’s go for it), a few feet above the crowd. The second is an uplifting explosion, at least as good as Hugh Jackman’s version. And the third still works like gangbusters, no matter where.
The first set ends with Emperor‘s New Clothes, devilishly sublime, before a vibrant encore: Say Amen (Saturday night), where a Thursday changes into a Saturday, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, where we return to the very beginnings of the band, and Victorious, where they give a last shot of adrenaline before we exit the arena.
Knowing how to reuse (and also divert a little) religious imagery without going too far, Panic! At The Disco show up as defenders of the wicked and the rejected. From this show, we retain a beautiful atmosphere, an acceptance of all (as seen with Girls/Girls/Boys and its LGBTQ+ flags of light in the audience), and a sort of rock’n’roll Church of which the priest ends up shirtless. We had high hopes, they were reached. And as long as dancing is not a crime, we will continue to dance with Panic! At The Disco.