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Concert review: Panic lacks more than exclamation
by Cortney Maddock
Jun 10, 2008 | 1043 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Photo - Panic At The Disco perform at a press conference for the Honda Civic Tour.
Courtesy Photo - Panic At The Disco perform at a press conference for the Honda Civic Tour.
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The band might not have given a second thought to the removal of an exclamation point in its name, but that exclamation point was not the only thing missing from Tuesday’s Panic At The Disco tour stop at the Grand Sierra Resort.

Kicking off at 7 p.m. the Honda Civic Tour revved up the crowd with indie favorites The Hush Sound and Motion City Sound Track. Both band were able to get the audience dancing, jumping and singing along.

Unfortunately for the evening’s openers, Phantom Planet, the verdict was still out. Falling victim to the TV show theme-song predator, the crowd seemed clueless as to the band’s sound until Phantom Planet played “O.C.” theme song “California” at the end of its set. Sorry guys, one day people will appreciate your witty lyrics and artistic melodies.

After more than two hours of underground indie favorites, Panic At The Disco took the stage in the Grand Theater after inundating the crowd with commercials between stage set-ups.

As part of the Honda Civic Tour, which hits the road every spring, the goal was to promote environmental awareness and eco-friendly products, so while waiting for the night's main attraction, fans watched commercials reminding them to shut off their lights and to conserve water and if they were good lil’ kiddies, Honda would kick them a free car.

Nothing says "sell out" more than commercials at a rock show. But Panic At The Disco topped that with a frilly stage complete with microphone stands decorated in plastic flowers.

Taking the stage shortly before 10 p.m., the Las Vegas overnight sensations kicked off the show with "We're So Starved," the introductory track off the band’s new album, “Pretty.Odd.” Fans screamed at the boys, who were trapped in black jeans nearly three sizes too small, and the lights flickered out across an audience full of cell-phone-picture-taking teenagers.

Panic At The Disco played new hit “Nine In The Afternoon” and received decent crowd response, but other songs off the new record did not fare so well. “She’s A Handsome Woman,” “The Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)” and “Folkin’ Around” were able to calm the screaming fans, who didn’t know the lyrics to sing along, and practically put them to sleep.

“Behind The Sea” escaped the new-song doom thanks to the bubbles that were blown from the stage into the crowd. The song, which has a “Yellow Submarine” feel to it, was the only song off “Pretty. Odd” to keep the crowd’s attention for more than 30 seconds.

Not only is the band missing its exclamation point, the band is missing the mark.

Many critics noted that “Pretty. Odd.” reminds listeners of The Beatles’ classic album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” a sound that many bands should not attempt to recreate.

Unlike The Beatles who had a loyal fans base behind them, Panic At The Disco alienated much of the band’s fans when the new album sounded nothing like the Panic At The Disco people where expecting: up beat, witty and danceable.

Saved by older material, the band played nearly every hit off the debut album “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” which fans were able to sing along to, dance to and remind their parents why they were too young to be there.

While the majority of the audience was under the age of 18 -- probably 16 to be exact but we’ll account for misjudgments -- songs like “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and “Time To Dance” deal with deeper, darker issues of emo proportions, which are not necessarily kid friendly.

In Panic At The Disco’s roughly hour-long set, the band was able to perform 17 songs. Not a record feat, considering that the band’s songs are on average two to three minutes long and are repetitive in nature.

Panic At The Disco didn’t disappoint necessarily, but as headliners on a major tour, the band needed more practice. These kids are still new to the game. Lead singer Brendon Urie never strayed from the song formula and sounded nearly identical to the CD, but right when it was apparent that he was tracked, his voice would crack or he would emit an awkward “Ow!” that was so out of tune it was frightening.

But the five guys from Vegas impressed with the outstanding number of times they said Reno, as if having to remind themselves where they were. Last count was 13 times.

Back to the drawing board boys, and as you promised, come back when you have new material.

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