Some have said that the only difference between martyrdom and suicide is press coverage.
Luckily for those of you reading this, the press showed up on a night full of unexpected happenings, filled with both cringe and glory, risk and reward, and one of the most grandiose stage performances in the Phoenix Metro. On a Sunday night on 10.23.2022, Panic! At the Disco looked to take Phoenix by storm, on tour promoting their new album Viva Las Vengeance.
Opening the show was Jake Wesley Rogers, a musician from Missouri of all places. But to label him as just a musician is a serious disservice. Rogers is what happens when you take DNA samples from Elton John and Andrew McMahon, and then infuse the vocal prowess of Sam Fender. His rhinestone encrusted outfit was the perfect compliment to his ruby red heels, and he gets this articles credit for best dressed for the entire evening.
“So I’m from Missouri,” he told the audience during a break in the music. “I’m from the bible belt, but I always felt like I was the rhinestone in the belt,” as fans opened up to thunderous applause. JWR takes his personal experiences and wraps them in packaged handouts to fans in a way that is completely unique to himself and the listener. His piano work is formidable, and while there wasn’t much use of the catwalk on the eight foot stage (piano proximity was paramount), he did put on one hell of a performance, and you could tell that he left all that he had on the arena floor.
Marina was up next, and she single handedly transformed the entire area to a 1940’s jazz club. It felt for a moment like we were all in that scene in The Mask where Cameron Diaz was being whisked away by Jim Carey. And while her stage set up wasn’t as elaborate as the other two acts that night, it was a simple elegance that permeated throughout the entire arena.
Sweeping in with her powerhouse vocals, Marina captivated the fans with her renditions of Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land, Froot, Venus Fly Trap, and, most notable, Bubblegum Bitch. Fans could be heard not only screaming out her lyrics back to her as though she was the top billed of the evening, but other hilarious antics could be heard in between her songs. “Marina you’re literally my mom!” one fan shouted that got quite a rouse from those close enough to hear it. Marina gracefully walked across the stage in her elegant pink gown which had the perfect amount of both class and sex appeal. One thing the audience left with for certain is that Marina is here to be a mainstay in the pop scene.
Then it was time for the main event.
With a countdown timer set for 10 minutes, the stage crew rushed to get the final pieces of the most elaborate stage set up of the evening into place.
And then it was lights out.
Strobes of light filled the area with blistering pluses that would be enough to distort one’s vision if they looked directly at it. The strobes increased in frequency, as did a thick billow of smoke that enveloped nearly the entire stage as Brendon Urie was elevated to the center stage to the adulation of adoring audience onlookers.
Opening his set with Say Amen (Saturday Night) was a solid choice, even if it was a Sunday. Following closely on the heels of that was Hey Look Ma, I Made It, which was incredible to see him perform live because you could tell that his words rang true to himself. There were times that Urie seemed to get chocked up during this track as it looks back over his time in the music industry and how far he’s made it over the last 17 years.
Now, some might call it a sin – nay – a tragedy, that Panic! decided to play the entirety of their new album beginning with track seven of the evening through track 18 as most of the fans were there to scream out the familiar emo anthems that we all know and love.
Was it a sin?
Was it a tragedy?
Look at it this way – Urie, who has an undeniable four-octave range voice, not only kept the majority of the fan base in their seats during the unfamiliar tracks, but also kept them on their feet during the entirety of that part of the performance. Was it a bold move? Sure. At times did he look like he was dead inside and had more of a desire to play the older hits? Of course. But all-in-all it was a power-packed performance, filled with jacket changes at various intervals and stunning visual spectacles that held the attention of the Footprint Center concert goers.
Arguably the most notable highlight came when Urie performed Girls/Girls/Boys, during which the multi-colored hearts taped to each seat provided a rainbow effect throughout the arena that was quite captivating. “Wow…thank you for that!” Urie said emotionally after the song was done. Death of a Bachelor was also quite a track to hear live where he took his signature style octave and raised it even higher, a feat that won’t soon leave the hearts and ears of the thousands of spectators who were elated to hear more of the older stuff as the show drew to a close. Other notable tracks included I Write Sins, Not Tragedies, House of Memories, This is Gospel, and High Hopes.
As always, thank you to the Footprint Center staff for ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for those who attended. We know you guys bust your asses to put on events like this, and your hard work is certainly appreciated even if it often goes unnoticed. Remember to keep wearing deodorant and to keep being excellent to one another, and we’ll catch ya at the next show!
CLICK HERE to view PANIC! AT THE DISCO photo gallery.
CLICK HERE to view MARINA photo gallery.
CLICK HERE to view JAKE WESLEY ROGERS photo gallery.