Tonight, Panic! at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor tour comes to a close. I attended the Duluth show a few days ago on April 12th, Brendon Urie’s birthday. Brendon Urie is the sole remaining member of Panic! at the Disco and he wrote and recorded the band’s fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 in early 2016. The album was the first of the band’s to reach number one and opening week was also their highest recorded sales of any of their albums. It is also the first album to feature none of the former band members. Though Brendon Urie is the one one that wrote and recorded the album, he chose to continue using the name Panic! at the Disco in thanks for everything the band, and subsequent fans, have given him in life.
I have a great love of music and I quite literally grew up with Panic! at the Disco. My generation entered adolescence around the time Panic! at the Disco’s hit single, “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies”, gained popularity. Because of this, most of the people in my age group all consider this song one of the anthems of our generation. Though it may have been one of their first songs to escalate in popularity, it certainly was not the last. When the set list for the Death of a Bachelor tour was released online, I knew that I needed to attend one of their shows. It was as if Brendon Urie personally crafted the set list based on my own list of favorite songs.
As we all gathered into the arena of a sold out show in Duluth, the excitement was evident. On screens near the stage, there was a clock counting down to show time. With every passing minute, the crowd became more and more excited. Finally, it was time. The clock reached zero, the lights went out and the crowd cheered. Quickly, the stage came to life with vivid graphics as the performers began playing “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time”, one of the hits from the most recent album. Brendon Urie took the stage and jumped into the song while greeting the crowd. Urie also showed off his impressive vocal range by belting out high notes not just through the opening song, but also through the entire show. Urie’s vocal range spans an incredibly impressive four octaves.
After an incredible opening, Urie moved on to performing another hit from the new album, “L.A. Devotee”, which is one of my favorite songs. Following this song, Urie performed some of the band’s hits from earlier records including, but not limited to, “Ready to Go”, “Golden Days”, “Vegas Lights” and “Camisado”. Then Urie brought the crowd back to the new album by performing the Death of a Bachelor song “Hallelujah”. He then transitioned to playing older songs, “Nine in the Afternoon” and, one of my personal favorites, “Miss Jackson”. After this, Urie seemingly disappeared from the stage while the screens depicted a scene of Urie being kidnapped and electrocuted by Fall Out Boy member, Pete Wentz.
Then suddenly, Brendon Urie appeared in the middle of the arena on a platform, seated at a piano. At this point in time, Brendon Urie was a mere twenty feet from my seat. Naturally, being a huge fan of Panic! at the Disco and Brendon Urie specifically, this moment was incredible. Urie then began performing the piano version of another personal favorite, “This is Gospel”. While seated at the piano, playing the keys and singing the emotional classic, the platform that Urie was seated on began to rise, giving people in the middle and back of the arena an up close view of the performance. The crowd peacefully sang in unison with Urie, a moment that felt as if we were all deeply connected, if only for a moment, because of the personal connection we all had to the lyrics.
Urie then surprised us again by walking through the crowd back to the stage, all while performing the new hit song, and also the title of his new album as well as the name of the tour, “Death of a Bachelor”. If you’ve ever seen a live concert, you will know that some bands are incredible live, sounding just as they do on a studio album. You will also know that some bands are not great live performers, some running out of breath easily throughout the show. This is not the case for Brendon Urie. Amid hundreds of fans clamoring for an interaction with him, Urie not only performed the song well, but his voice sounded completely unfazed, as if he was standing still rather than climbing his way through fans to the stage.
Up next, once back on the stage, Brendon Urie performed Panic! at the Disco classic, “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” followed by another one of my personal favorites from the new album, “Emperor’s New Clothes”. Next up was “Nicotine”, “Crazy = Genius” and “Let’s Kill Tonight”. Then Urie showcased even more of his vast talents by performing a drum solo/cover/medley to hit songs “24K Gold” and “Bitch Better Have My Money”.
Up next was another incredible moment of the show. Throughout the entire tour, fans have been cutting out paper hearts in the colors of the rainbow, passing them out, and then shining their phone lights trough them during the performance of “Girls/Girls/Boys”, a song whose meaning can be summed up simply by its lyrics “Love is not a choice”. The hearts represented the support of the LGBTQ community and the view from the arena was colorfully stunning. After performing the song, during which the screens featured the faces of many famous icons in the LGBTQ community, Brendon Urie asked us all to keep our shining hearts up in the air. He then spoke to us in a way that I will never forget. He thanked us all for showing support for the community, declaring that the Duluth show had the best coverage with the hearts of the tour. He then told us all that, amidst the hate and tragedy the world is experiencing now more than ever, love would unite us and overcome the negative. He vowed to join the revolution dedicated to equality, side by side with fans. The crowd erupted in cheers at the touching words from the performer.
At this point in time, the concert was quickly coming to a close with only three songs remaining. Next up was a cover of Queen’s vastly popular “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Urie not only sang the song but also played the drums. Then, in another favorite moment of the night, the crew and touring band surprised Brendon with a birthday cake, singing him Happy Birthday along with a completely sold out arena of his fans. After blowing out the candles, Urie thanked everyone involved and declared that his 30th birthday spent performing with his fans in attendance was the best that he had ever had. Being a part of this moment was special to us all since this was a rare moment that did not happen on any other night of the tour. Spending Brendon Urie’s birthday by cheering him on and hearing him sing some of my favorite songs was truly magical.
Still on a happiness high from the birthday surprise, Urie performed fan favorite “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies”. This song was one of the band’s first big hits ten years ago and still remains a favorite of many. Sadly, the show had to come to a close. But not before Urie performed yet another hit from the new album, and another personal favorite song of mine. Brendon Urie closed the Death of a Bachelor tour by performing “Victorious”. Needless to say, the lyrics to the song reflected how we all felt: “Tonight we are victorious, champagne pouring over us, all my friends were glorious, tonight we are victorious.”
In an incredible performance with high energy, visually stunning stage graphics, lights and pyrotechnics, and the release of streamers and confetti, the crowd sang along with the closing performance by Brendon Urie. After thanking the crowd, Urie exited the stage, bringing an official end to the Death of a Bachelor tour in Duluth. As my first Panic! at the Disco concert, this show was absolutely phenomenal. It had the best graphics that I’ve ever seen in a live show and has now become my all time favorite concert. I’ve been to many over the years and loved most of them, so I do not take this lightly. I genuinely mean it when I say that Brendon Urie delivered the performance of a lifetime that night in Duluth. I am incredibly honored to have been so close to him when he performed on his 30th birthday. I will wear my Death of a Bachelor tour shirt, that I went through Hell and back through the merchandise line to get, with pride for many years to come. There is nothing more that I can say to properly articulate what an incredibly meaningful experience the Panic! at the Disco: Death of a Bachelor Tour was to me.