Thank you, Panic! At The Disco

Brendon Urie is the vocalist and the sole member of Panic! At The Disco.

Caroline Shaw

U.S. alternative band Panic! At The Disco played at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday and it was a concert experience unlike any other.

Panic! At The Disco is now solely comprised of vocalist Brendon Urie. While he does play with a band as well as play some instruments himself, Urie and his extravagant personality are what truly make the shows. 

Urie is known for his high-energy performances: backflips, microphone twirls, stunning vocals and quirky dance moves. On the Death of a Bachelor tour, Panic! At The Disco managed to engage an audience that filled numerous sold out arenas across the country.

Brendon Urie and Panic! At The Disco are not just known for their upbeat music and colorful performances. The band has also been linked to various forms of activism.

Urie has shown his support for women’s equality, Planned Parenthood and, above all, LGBTQ+ rights. His song “Girls/Girls/Boys” captures his beliefs of equality and acceptance.

The essence of Panic! At The Disco’s music is showy and extroverted which conveys a note of confidence in things that mainstream society may see as unacceptable or over the top.

“Girls/Girls/Boys” in particular has impacted young LGBTQ+ people all over the world. The song has inspired a loving and accepting community where they can express themselves and feel confident enough and strong enough to come out.

Fans walk around with pride flags tied around their shoulders. In Des Moines, there were flags showing pride for gay, bisexual and transgender people scattered amongst fans. During the song, an arena full of friends can become more like a group-hug between new friends.

These flags are met with smiles instead of discrimination. Individuality is embraced instead of shunned. Diversity is celebrated instead of feared.

At almost every venue, a group of fans has been handing out hearts cut out of different colored paper. During “Girls/Girls/Boys,” the members of the audience hold the hearts over their phone flashlights to create a rainbow in the crowd.

The rainbow moves from the crowd to the stage and fans near the stage hand their flags to Urie at the beginning of the song.

I was fortunate enough to be able to pass my own flag to Urie. He took it and clipped it to the microphone stand with a smile and a “thank you, darling” which the crowd met with earsplitting cheers.

Not only did Urie wave the flag on stage, it was also taken backstage and returned to me, signed, at the end of the night. This just goes to show how much he values and supports his fans.

The songs Panic! At The Disco performs that are about hardships get the strongest reactions from fans.

“Girls/Girls/Boys” brings together those struggling with sexuality while “This Is Gospel” is a song Urie wrote for a friend, and former bandmate, who struggled with addiction.

Both songs inspired tears that came from hearts filled with too many emotions to handle. Happiness, pride, hope, determination, fearlessness and love filled the arena to the domed roof.

As Urie played a piano situated on a platform in the middle of the floor, he lifted high into the air surrounded by glittering lights. As he rose, so did the spirits of the audience. They sang the lyrics back to him with the conviction of someone who has experienced the same pain.

That’s what Panic! At The Disco is all about: coming together, getting through life together, celebrating together.

All of this happened in Des Moines.

There were, however, some changes between this tour and previous Panic! At the Disco tours.

Panic! At The Disco shows and shows in arenas tend to have a pit in front of the stage or floor access that is sold as general admission. This tour, however, was seated from front to back. This eliminated the negative experience of being crushed, shoved, pushed to the ground, elbowed in the face and pulled on by disrespectful fans.

The seated floor was a brilliant addition to an arena show. Attendants with floor tickets were not forced to line up outside the venue days before to get the spot on the barricade that they wanted while still allowing the kind of intense energy that surrounds those first few rows.

Urie is definitely a young soul, but he has musical talent that allows him to write very mature music. There are some changes in his performance that may lead to the idea that Urie is, just maybe, growing up.

While he usually takes off his shirt about halfway through shows (he claims due to the heat of the stage lights and pyrotechnics), he kept on his sparkly jacket through the majority of the show and performed in his plain black t-shirt for the last few songs.

Urie also drastically dialed back the number of microphone flips. While he used to do it more than once in every song, he only did it a couple of times throughout the whole show.

Urie still showed off his signature backflip during the song “Miss Jackson”, but it was not as dramatic as it has been in the past. Instead of flipping off the drum riser, he flipped off of the small riser to the side of the drums.

The shift in wardrobe and on-stage tricks would appeal to a wider audience and is perhaps a way of saying “There is more to us than that.”

Panic! At the Disco has shown a lot of growth in the past year. Their summer tour with Weezer showed that they could play on the same stages as the “big boys” — and their performances have become more polished since.

The band is showcasing Urie’s vocal and musical talent more and emphasizing the loving community that surrounds the music and the concerts.

Even though Panic! At The Disco is changing, they are still the same band that fans fell in love with almost 13 years ago and the band that fans are falling in love with every day.

They are the same band that fans everywhere want to say thank you to. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for being there for us. Thank you for having the words we wish we knew how to say. Thank you for believing love is not a choice. Thank you for being with us through the good, the bad, and the dirty.