Concert Review: Panic! at the Disco @ Sound Academy

Panic! at the DiscoRows of teen girls were pressed in tight against the guardrail, ready to scream (and continue screaming all night) for Panic! At The Disco, playing Toronto’s Sound Academy on February 1st.

The openers went on early (X Ambassadors at 7:30 and The Colourist at 8:20) and it was a long wait for Panic!, one blonde girl passing out before the band even went on, having to be lifted up and out of the crowd by security. Another security guard was busy offering bottled water to guardrail girls (and their boyfriends) and the atmosphere—the dehydration and clammy air—was reminiscent of summer festival shows.

Then, the teen girls panicked(!) and Brendan Urie—with much credit going to his gold, glittery suit—brought the Disco vibe. Sharp beams of (mostly) green and blue lights added to the iridescence of Urie’s getup, while the band charmed the crowd by playing through a list of old and new favourites: early on, they played “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is press coverage” from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005); midway through, and the opening lines a nice complement to Urie’s gold attire, “Hurricane” from Vices & Virtues (2011); a few songs later, “Nine in the Afternoon” from Pretty. Odd. (2008); and a solid selection of material from their newest album, Too Weird to Live, Too rare to Die! (2013). In fact, Panic! managed to cover their new album almost in its entirety, save for “Girl That You Love,” “Far Too Young to Die,” and “Collar Full.”

Panic! at the Disco

It was “Nine in the Afternoon,” though, that has the best visuals: the projection of an antique clock face was slowly replaced by a projection of stained glass. The band somehow managed to pull the audience through changing atmospheres, a disco to a cathedral, both equally gorgeous and complemented by the blazing enthusiasm the crowd had for Panic!

Urie got back on stage for the encore, shirtless. He mentioned Sam Harris from X Ambassadors (who, by the way, just dropped their new EP, The Reason) and Harris’ inimitable dance moves. They played “Girls/Girls/Boys.” Then Urie began asking where the weed is. Where’s the weed? Someone’s going to be very happy when they find a bag of weed on the floor, he rambled on. He left the stage to check the dressing room, then came back on stage with a smirk, and a joint pinched between his fingers. “I found it. I, shit, I found it. That’s fucked up you guys, I have a real problem.” He lit up on stage and took a drag, and I could see security glancing back and forth at one another. Do we let this pop-punk star smoke a joint at Sound? It’s Toronto, so they decided yes, yes we do. Urie ended up flinging the joint into the crowd.

Panic! closed with “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and left me with a strange uncertainty, wondering if Urie’s joint smoking was actually a problem for him, or if it was for dramatic effect, like his backflip.

For more concert photos, click here.

Leah Edwards | @leahhedwards

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