Panic! At The Disco
Dresden Dolls, The Hush Sound
Philadelphia, PA • July 1, 2006
The evening started off well. My friend and I headed down to the Festival Pier. Due to our being fashionably late, we avoided lines and walked into security checks. Passing the merchandise tables, we stepped foot on the pier. Concession stands decorated the back. I stood there in amazement, thinking that the ice skating rink was here just five months ago and now, voila! Concert venue. Good thinking, Philadelphia.
My friend and I sat on the ground, while fans flocked to the crowd in front of the stage. The pier seemed pretty full. Girls (once again) were decked out in their dresses and skirts, flip flops and heels. Other people took a different approach, sticking to the normal t-shirt and jean combination. My friend leaned over and mentioned the age old “concert rule” of wearing t-shirts of the performing bands. I glanced around me and many of the kids (let’s say they were between the ages of six and twenty-one) were adorned in Panic! shirts freshly plucked from the merch table. Other opted to make their own shirts, professing their love for the boys, as well as the lyrics to all their favorite songs.
The first act to take the stage was The Hush Sound. I’d never heard them before, but figured, “What the hell? They can’t be that bad.” I was wrong. Something about the lead singer’s voice irritated me greatly. I sat there, waiting for the set to end. The band played seven songs, while people sat around me, with drinks and food in hand, talking and texting friends. The whole place felt like a seventh grade dance, with people standing in little cliques, with background music playing.
After the Hush Sound left the stage (and not a moment too soon for my liking), I found myself wandering on a quest for a drink. A very expensive drink, may I add. After paying $9 for two sodas and a soft pretzel, my friend and I found our way back to our spot to sit for the Dresden Dolls. The Dresden Dolls (this being their first performance on the tour) garnered a better reaction from the crowd, playing songs off of both their albums. I’d heard one or two of their songs before, but never had enough interest to purchase an album. Yet, I found myself liking the new material and some of their older stuff that I’d never heard before.
As I went to take a drink of my soda, I heard Amanda Palmer announce that Panic’s own Brendon Urie would join the Dolls for a first-ever duet. “Interesting,” I thought. Brendon came out and grabbed the mic. All of a sudden, he started to sing “Baby One More Time.” I sat there, mouth open. Urie and Palmer did a good job, but were they serious? Of all the songs in the world, they picked that one? Meanwhile, all around me, people were calling friends, having them listen.
After the surprising (and I feel this is a bit of an understatement) duet, the Dresden Dolls finished up their set, giving a pretty good performance overall. After a half-hour wait, the crowd started to swell near the stage. The background for P!ATD was a Moulin Rouge-inspired theme, complete with a windmill, moon and trees, all bathed in red light. Above them hung a huge Panic! At The Disco sign. The boys took the stage and all I could think was “Damn, these guys are roughly the same age as me.” Dressed in the usual Panic! attire (think tuxedo shirts and dress pants) the guys played approximately seven songs. Joining them on stage was the Lucent Hossier Vaudeville Cirque; you may remember them from the “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” video. The whole stage felt like a cabaret and the crowd loved it. Singing along with Urie, the fans were dancing and jumping to the beat. After a half-hour, we were given an intermission due to a fireworks display provided by the city (after all, Philly hosts numerous events during this week for the 4th of July). The fireworks painted a pretty scene over the bridge, set in the dark night sky. After the finale, the crowd turned back to finish up the performance. Shockingly, the guys launched into “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” midway through. Everyone around me seemed shocked that it wasn•t the final song, but hell, who cared. After that, Panic! at the Disco gave an amazing performance of the Smashing Pumpkins song “Tonight, Tonight,” as well as Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” They followed with “There’s a Good Reason?” and “Build God Then We’ll Talk.”
They “swore to shake it up” — and they did just that. We said goodbye to the boys of Panic! at the Disco, and started our journey home. We waited as the crowd pushed out the only entrance, which led into the line for the merchandise. A real smart move. After a good twenty minutes of waiting in what seemed to be a bad conga line, we made our way to street, only to battle traffic.