January 20, 2014

Panic! at the Disco arouses some euphoria at the Uptown

Dancing showman heats up the room with nonstop energy.

It only lasted about 75 minutes, but the sold-out Panic! at the Disco concert at the Uptown Theater on Sunday night uncorked the vitality and enthusiasm of a show twice its length.

The band from Las Vegas, led by the relentlessly stylish and exuberant Brendon Urie, has evolved over its past two albums, away from its early pop-punk/emo sound to one more rooted in dance-rock and synth-pop anthems. It was a move precipitated by the departure of two founding members in 2009.

Sunday’s set list drew songs from all four of Panic’s albums, including its latest, “Too Young to Live, Too Weird to Die,” and despite the variations in style, the songs all had a few things in common: relentless energy, irresistible grooves and torrents of colorful lyrics.

Urie hit the stage dressed in a leather jacket and leather pants. He would pay the price for his slick fashion. The floor was packed from stage to soundboard, and all that body heat made the room a bit steamy, like it was summer outside.

But he is a kinetic showman, and he ignored the heat and inflamed the mood in the place by dancing demonstratively about the stage and arousing more fervor from a crowd of more than 2,000 that sang along boisterously and in unison to nearly every song. Some of the call-and-responses were so on-point it was as if they’d been rehearsed.

They opened with “Vegas Lights,” one from “Too Young,” then “Time to Dance” from their debut album, now more than eight years old. Urie didn’t spend much time on chitchat and banter. Rather he led his three-piece band (with help from some synthesizers and sequencers) from one song right into the next, pausing only when he needed to mop the sweat off his face.

The crowd was as unwavering in its response as the band was unabated in its musical and visual assault. And there were plenty of visuals: lights, videos, flash pots, fog, all fomenting the energy in the room. During “Miss Jackson,” Urie executed a perfect backflip off the drum riser, sending the crowd into a fit of hysteria. They reacted even louder to his sky-scraping falsetto, which he discharged several times.

There were a couple of midtempo moments, like during “Casual Affair” and “The End of All Things.” Otherwise, it was pedal-to-the-metal, and the crowd kept up with the pace, whether it was a newer song, like “Girls/Girls/Boys,” or an older one, like “Nine in the Afternoon.”

They closed with their only Top 10 hit, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” At that point, Urie had shed his leather jacket and shirt but was still in high-aerobic form, still stoking a crowd that left the place looking as happy and spent as he was.

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