Panic At The Disco At The Aragon Ballroom
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By Jenna Goode
On Dec. 10 Chicago alternative radio station Q87.7-FM hosted Twas the Night Before at the Aragon Ballroom. Swedish threesome NONONO, indie-pop duo MS MR and Portugal. The Man opened up the show, warming up the audience for the evening's headliner: GRAMMY-nominated alternative rock collective Panic At The Disco. The holiday-themed show inspired concertgoers to dress in red and green and sport elf hats and other festive gear. There was as much of a party outside the stage area as there was inside with a prop-filled photo area, giveaways and product tastings. But that area nearly emptied by the time Panic At The Disco took the stage.
The band emerged onstage at approximately 9 p.m. and opened with the raucous track "Time To Dance" from their debut album, 2005's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. Lead singer Brendon Urie displayed an explosive energy that he channeled throughout the show with enthusiastic dancing and '80s-inspired screams. The band was dressed very dapper in jackets and ties and had a simple stage setup that included a long white microphone stand that literally held the microphone in a metal hand. The dance beats pounded and reverberated off the high, ethereally decorated ceilings of the Aragon Ballroom.
The band played a solid mix of songs from each of their albums, and kept their momentum with "This Is Gospel," from their latest album Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! The audience clapped with such fervor that the floor pounded along with the beat. The energy increased when Urie showed off his backflip during "Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)." By then, the band had removed their jackets, which prompted the ladies in the front to plead Urie to remove his shirt, to which he responded with, "No, you take it off!"
With all the stage acrobatics during the performance of "Ready To Go…" and their new single "Miss Jackson," the audience was in an uproar. During the latter song, the band made a heart-stopping pause, posing as black silhouettes against the red lights behind them, before thundering back to life to finish the song.
The most memorable part of the evening for me came when the band performed songs by Journey and AC/DC. When the opening riffs to Journey's "Any Way You Want It" began, everyone exchanged unsure glances before belting out the lyrics along with Urie. It was amazing. Nothing unifies an audience like Journey, and Panic At The Disco did the classic justice. They followed with AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" before bringing down the house with their own "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." Giant glowing balloons descended on the crowd and rocked with the music until there was no more time to dance and the show came to an end.
"Time To Dance"
"The Ballad Of Mona Lisa"
"The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage"
"Let's Kill Tonight"
"This Is Gospel"
"Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)"
"Nine In The Afternoon"
"Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off"
"Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…)"
"Any Way You Want It" (Journey cover)
"You Shook Me All Night Long" (AC/DC cover)
"I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
To catch Panic At The Disco in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Jenna Goode is the Temporary Assistant for The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter specializing in social media. Goode has interviewed artists such as Tame Impala, Daniel Lanois and Henry Farag. Her work has been previously featured on the Chicago Chapter's GRAMMY365 blog, GRAMMY.com and Loud Neighbor Music.)