Panic! at the Disco and I used to run a pretty similar path. Coming of age in Las Vegas, Nevada, I heard the band’s first single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” on local radio. We both moved on to suburban Maryland. Panic! at the Disco cut their first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out on the Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) imprint, Decaydance in College Park. While I was less “victorious,” the band’s latest, Pray For the Wicked, has been certified gold and the single “High Hopes” was recently certified platinum.
Panic at the Disco is currently on its second leg of the Pray for the Wicked Tour–playing almost every night to a sold out crowd. Selling out arenas does not come without massive fan support. PATD played twenty-eight songs and still left fans wanting more. A handful of fans from the band’s show at Capital One Arena in Washington DC talk about their connections to this platinum-selling band.
The fans: Sahana Datta, 28; Loza Teodros, 18; Ethan Berdux, 14; Sarah Gilead, 48
Jackie Cular: “What song are you most excited to hear live and why?”
Sahana Datta: “It’s hard to pick a favorite child, but I’ll say ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ will forever be my favorite Panic song and I always sing and dance the loudest during it… when I hear it on the radio… when I hear it live. I’ll pick a second to associate it with what I’m looking forward to ‘seeing’ and thats ‘Girls/Girls/Boys.’ Holding up rainbow hearts has become a tradition and it’s one of the most beautiful things to see throughout the crowd while Brendon grabs flags. Nothing is better than a room full of pride, love, and acceptance.”
Loza Teodros: “I’m really looking forward to ‘One of the Drunks’ being played live because it’s one of my favorites off Pray for the Wicked, and it finally got added to their setlist! I also always look forward to hearing ‘Miss Jackson’ live – Brendon’s drum solo and backflip are definitely highlights of their live show and a perfect example of why he’s such a great performer.”
Sarah Gildea: “‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Death of a Bachelor’ because those are two of my favorite songs that I always find myself going back to listening to.”
Ethan Berdux: “‘Death of a Bachelor’ because it is one of my favorite songs.”
JC: “What is your overall impression of Pray for the Wicked, the album?”
EB: “It struck me as an influential piece of work.”
SD: “Brilliant. Basically I have never been disappointed by anything Panic has put out. They create every unique piece of that art with 100% passion and love and I love them for that. Not only does the music just make me happy, but so does knowing what they put into it as well. They have such a great sense of style in the way they put everything together.”
LT: “I love the album! I think it definitely builds on the progression of Panic’s sound and Brendon’s creativity as a solo artist that we started to hear in Death of a Bachelor. It’s really cool to be treated to the different styles and influences that Brendon’s incorporating into Panic’s sound as a solo project.”
SG: “It’s very very good. Brendon is very talented.”
JC: “What song do you have the most personal connection with and why?”
SG: “‘Death of a Bachelor,’ the line ‘smile even if your sad.’ It’s a daily reminder that even if life gets you down to keep pushing forward.”
LT: “I’m most connected to ‘Ready to Go’ or ‘Golden Days.’ The first time that I saw Panic! live and they played those songs, I remember tearing up a bit and feeling very present yet nostalgic, and I felt so grateful that I was alive and experiencing the joy of live music. Something about those tracks are just incredibly anthemic and cathartic to me – and it’s a plus that they’re danceable songs, too!”
SD: “‘High Hopes’ and ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’ are pretty relatable I’d say. Not all the specific lyrics, but in general the idea of ‘shooting for the stars’ and ‘staying up on that rise’ while I deal with mysterious health issues everyday. And just saying to my own mother, who I’m very close to and who knows all the struggles I’ve been through, that I’m surviving, so literally ‘Hey, look ma, I made it!’ It’s difficult, but someone has to be positive and keep smiling. So I choose to fight through it and do my best. I love songs that reflect an artist’s personal situations and that they share them with us. Especially when the end result is so positive.”
JC: “How does Panic! at the Disco make you feel?”
EB: “They make me feel understood, like someone wrote a song just for me.”
SD: “What’s a word to express so many amazing emotions at once? lol. They make me feel happy, safe, proud, loved, energetic, unique, not alone, I could go on. But this band has just been in my life for so long that when people ask me to name my favorite artists, they will always be on the list.”
LT: “They make me feel fun and expressive, and they bring out a side of me that I really enjoy. Since they were one of the first bands that I loved when I was younger, in a weird way, they make me feel like the happiness that I associate with my youth will never end, or at least I can always find that happiness in their music.”
SG: “So I have known Panic existed and I always liked ‘I Write Sins’ and their cover of ‘This is Halloween.’ After seeing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in November I was looking up versions on YouTube and came across Panic’s version. I was floored. So I started looking them up on Youtube and I guess you can say I fell hard and watched everything I could find and watched interviews, livestreams, etc.”
JC: “Have you ever met Panic! at the Disco?”
SD: “YES! Years later and I still can’t believe it. It was very quick and when they did meet & greets VIP meet & greet during their 2016 tour. It was such an exciting day for me and I guess I was so in shock that I think I barely spoke. I really hope one day I get to meet them again, with the new members [especially Nicole & Mike] and properly thank them for being them.”
JC: “What did you think of the show overall?
SD: “HOLY WOW. First of all, Betty Who was so good! I’ve never seen her before but she did not disappoint. Two Feet is one of my favorites. He’s such an honest and talented human being and I could not have been prouder of him. Now to Panic, THOSE BEAUTIES NEVER FAIL TO IMPRESS ME. How does one get their voice that perfect and high!? How do they play the instruments and dance that well!? Why did Mike make my heart so happy by singing/belting along to the songs with me multiple times!? haha. Their stage setup and overall presence is just incredible. They know how to put on a performance. One of my favorite parts is not actually during the show, but at VIP with Zack. He’s so thorough and funny. I love hearing his stories. Seeing all the memorabilia from their start is just such a cool thing. I took lots of photos and played Brendon’s keyboard and it makes you feel so connected and really appreciate them even more. I just loved everything about that night.”
LT: “I absolutely loved it! This was my third Panic! show, and I can now say with complete certainty that I could never be disappointed by them. I walked out with the widest grin on my face, I just couldn’t stop smiling!”
SG: “Excellent, so talented, the lasers, the lights, the confetti, his entrance and the crowd, wow!”
EB: “It was a good show; I didn’t really like Two Feet [opening act] that much.”
JC: “What was your favorite song to hear live?”
EB: “I would have to say, ‘Say Amen.”
LT: “It’s so hard to pick since the setlist is so long, but I’d have to say ‘One of the Drunks’ or ‘Dancing’s Not A Crime.’ I remember dancing the most to those ones.”
SD: “It’s too hard to pick just one! As I mentioned, ‘IWSNT’ is always a favorite and you hear everyone sing it extra loud, especially that one part… Honestly, every song sounds amazing to me, so the moments created during them is what makes them extra special. When Brendon does the death walk during ‘Death of a Bachelor,’ that’s a favorite to see how kindly he interacts with the crowd. The Bohemian Rhapsody cover… Again, ‘G/G/B’ brings everyone together and makes the band smile too. ‘Casual Affair’ is my favorite beautiful, ‘I close my eyes and sing’ song.’”
JC: “What did you think of the visuals? What stood out or was the most memorable?
SG: “Awesome, I think my favorite parts were the flying piano and his connection and love for fans. The man has a heart of gold. Unfortunately my seat was back behind the screen so I could only see them when they came out on the triangle but I’ve seen a lot of videos and pictures. Just hearing him sing made it worth it.”
SD: “They always outdo themselves! And I wouldn’t want it any other way. On stage, they have beautiful colored lights and images matching the songs the whole time, fire and confetti, trap doors where Brendon just magically appears from, and the coolest piano that gets lifted into the air and moves over the crowd while Brendon plays. Definitely one of the most memorable moment of all the shows I’ve been to. So much love to the behind-the-scenes members/crew.”
LT: “I was standing under the confetti cannon during ‘Girls/Girls/Boys,’ and I’ll never forget looking up and watching the rainbow confetti falling down all around me while seeing the arena hold up their flashlights and colored hearts to make the pride flag. It was beyond special. The visuals for ‘Roaring 20s’ were also really memorable – the bright white lights and gold color scheme on the screens really made the song come to life.”
EB: “I liked his entrance, and when he did dying in la it was an interesting choice with the piano.”
Panic at the Disco continue the very successful Pray For the Wicked Tour, often to sold out arenas.