High note, backflip, high note, drum solo, sustained high note, 23 skidoo soft shoe. You could tell it wasn’t Brendon Urie’s first time at the disco.
If there was any knowledge to glean from the turbo-powered Austin performance of a scene kid fop turned one-man arena king, it was this: Urie is so talented that he still feels underrated when he fills the Frank Erwin Center. Maybe you know Panic! at the Disco from brassy radio omnipresence “High Hopes.” Maybe you know the band — of which Urie is the only remaining permanent member — from “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” a pop-punk radio omnipresence from more than a decade ago. But either way or any way in between, you should know what you were missing, if you didn’t find yourself at the Panic show Friday night.
Even the violinist jumped up and down and thrashed her head when Urie belted Vegas neon dream “Ready To Go” like he was still starring in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway. He slipped into the perfect-fit lizard-skin suit of a lounge singer on more than one number, but the pyrotechnics on “Crazy=Genius” really made you feel like you were watching Desi Arnaz play the Tropicana in Hell. When Urie wasn’t snapping his fingers and winking through the extreme sports version of a Vegas showroom number, he injected a gothic, vaudevillian flair into the proceedings. (See: "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time." Never has the riff from “Rock Lobster” seemed so decadently occult.)
There was not a whole lot of stopping going on; every song was a shot in the arm, the entire two hours felt like a continuous blood transfusion. Urie played the drums, Urie backflipped off a platform after playing the drums, Urie played the piano, Urie played the piano on a flying stage while his voice soared through a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The singer remained indefatigable, wielding his falsetto as if it came out of a flamethrower with no shortage of gas.
Urie’s gold blazer stayed on longer than you’d expect; his shirt came off by the end of the night, but his quiff looked like it’s gotten taller. Would his exhaustion point come during a religiously precise cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” or upon the seventh gay pride flag he draped over his shoulders on “Girls/Girls/Boys”? Neither and never. Even the final chorus of “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” wasn’t the final chorus. Urie sang it through a couple more times.
If you could do a backflip after a drum solo and two hours of octave somersaults, you’d have high hopes for yourself, too.