Panic! At The Disco re-energizes classic hits at Toronto show

Saturday Feb. 1 will forever live in my heart as one of the best nights of my life. Not only did I get the unforgettable experience of embarking to Sound Academy in Toronto with five friends in a minivan worthy of soccer moms everywhere but I also got to watch Panic! at the Disco give one of the best shows that I’ve ever had the fortune to attend.One of the elating aspects of the concert was lead singer Brendon Urie’s captivating stage presence and musical ability. I’ve seen the band play twice previously, but I’ve never seen Urie perform with such a high level of unbelievably consistent energy, talent and emotion. Dripping sweat from start to finish, Urie danced, stomped, jumped and backflipped across the stage while singing with the same impeccable skill and passion that resonates so profoundly in his voice across the band’s discography. His vocal range is just as astounding live as it is on the albums; my jaw literally dropped when I heard him hit his falsettos. He performs with relentless vivacity, and he makes it look easy. The 20-track set list for the show was a beautiful amalgamation of songs from Panic!’s discography, covering an excellent variety of the musical styles and emotional elements that the band has explored in its 10 years of existence. Panic! opened with “Vegas Lights,” a delightfully catchy ode to the decadence of Sin City, and it was nonstop action from there on out. They powered through fan favorites like “Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off,” “Camisado” and “Miss Jackson” with intense emotion and had the crowd head-banging, jumping and screaming along in unison. They balanced the angst with infectious, pop tracks like “Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind),” “Girls/Girls/Boys” and “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” that were just flat-out fun to dance to. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get choked up with the performance of “The End of All Things,” a haunting love ballad performed beautifully by Urie on piano, and “New Perspective,” which is actually a fairly upbeat song and one of my favorites, but it’s not on any of the official albums so I was stunned that they played it. By the time the band closed with the classic “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” I was filled with the kind of feeling that I can only describe as being close to nirvana. Panic!’s poignant lyricism, excellent musicianship, stunning vocals and entertaining showmanship make for one hell of a show, and it sure is one hell of a band.