It’s a rare thing, getting to watch a band grow up.
My first (indoors) Panic! at the Disco show was at Roseland Ballroom in May 2008. I say indoors because my actual first Panic! at the Disco show was at Bamboozle a few days earlier, and when I saw them I couldn’t really see them, because I had just broken my glasses in the Bouncing Souls pit. I could hear them just fine, though, and against all odds – they were in their hippie phase, wore lots of beige and had four tattoos between them – I loved them.
But at Roseland I could see them, and they looked like sweet-faced deer in the headlights. Their stage presence was probably best described as “charmingly awkward.” But the songs still made me happy. And so, for good or for ill, I was in for the long haul.
This past Tuesday night – six years, two records/style-shifts, and three line-up changes later – they were at Roseland again, one last time before the places closes down in the spring.
The openers this time around were X Ambassadors and The Colourist.
X Ambassadors had a dark dreamy-draggy-occasional-burst-of-thundering-drums vibe going, which I rather liked. Plus their lead singer is also their saxophone player, which was unexpected and awesome. Verdict: A++, would see them at their own show.
The Colourist was a little bit bouncier; apparently they describe themselves as “majestic rock” and/or “math pop” which, okay, I guess that makes sense. All I can tell you is they had super-intense, high-energy drums (majestic, indeed) that were precise but not cold or stiff, and that when they were done I definitely wanted to see them at their own show as well.
And then Panic! at the Disco came out, and – though I have seen them many times since 2008, I’ve watched the show evolve, I know what’s coming – I was struck, again, by how Brendon Urie has evolved as a front man. Gone is the almost-bashful boy who once wore a ringmaster’s costume, and his place is an actual showman in a glittery jacket and skin-tight leather trousers with a signature back-flip move – which he deployed twice – who finally seems comfortable in his skin.
(I really love that back flip. So graceful, and he makes it look effortless. I live in hope someone will put him in a Broadway show while he can still stick the landing.)