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Concert Reviews:
Panic! At The Disco Plays Three-Ring Rock Circus At Palace
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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AUBURN HILLS -- The circus motif of Panic! at the Disco's stage Tuesday night at the Palace was appropriate. Given the number of teens and tweens, and the plethora of parents accompanying them, the Big Top under which the Las Vegas group played only underscored the atmosphere of a family show.



Call it "High School Musical" as produced by Ringling Bros. The four members of Panic! were joined by two extra musicians and six sideshow style performers for an hour-long theatrical spectacle that mitigated the fact the band has just one album's worth of material at this juncture -- though it tossed in covers of Queen's "Killer Queen" and the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby."



To its credit, Panic! was never overwhelmed by all the eye candy it employed. Led by charismatic and confident frontman Brendon Urie -- who flitted between piano, guitar and even a can-can line during "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of it Yet" -- the group powered through most of its platinum-plus debut, "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out," in tight fashion, ably handling the sophisticated dynamics of the arrangements without seeming to, well, break too much of sweat.



The theatrics certainly helped, however -- especially since the dismal, dimensionless sound mix rendered most of the instrumental nuances inaudible. With just a hint of PG-rated innuendo, the company of contortionists, stilt-walkers, dancers and dominatrixes wove themselves around the musicians with a series of stunts and skits. One unfolded herself from a suitcase during "Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks," only to be chased down and wrapped in a straitjacket. A ballerina twirled throughout "Camisado," and a bride and groom on stilts went from bliss to splits while Panic! played its big hit, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies."



Parts of the show -- a film while the band changed costumes during "Intermission," a drum-line in lieu of an encore walk-off -- seemed like superfluous padding, and the show would have been better served with one of the four songs from "A Fever..." that Panic! didn't play. But neither lasted long enough to grind the show to a halt, and with reasonable tickets prices ($30 floor, $25 general admission for the three-band bill), the performance was compelling enough to bring us back again to see what Panic! can accomplish when it has a larger body of material.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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