Standing at South Prairie Avenue and Manchester, looking straight across there is a sign for the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood and a huge three-sided screen that displayed ‘Pray for the Wicked Tour, Panic! At the Disco with Two Feet and Conan Gray, Tonight Sold Out’.
Crowds of cars moving through the slow traffic, groups of excited friends wear Panic! At the Disco t-shirts waiting at the crosswalk, talking enthusiastically, Uber and Lyft drivers dropping off fans who have come from further off. The Forum stood proudly across a busy parking lot, spotlights across the Forum display a purple symbol for Panic! At the Disco. Fans are looking forward to dancing the night away and screaming their favorite lyrics for everyone to hear.
Panic at the Disco is an American rock band from Nevada, formed by Brendon Urie, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brent Wilson in 2004. Panic! At the Disco recorded their first demos while still in high school. The first album was A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, released in 2005. Since 2015, vocalist Brendon Urie has been the only official member of the band. Brendon Urie’s latest studio album, Pray for the Wicked, was released last year around the summer. On February 15th, Panic! At the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked tour has made its mark in the Forum in Inglewood.
Many students across Da Vinci Schools admire Panic at the Disco for their upbeat tunes and positive messages. Kamyran Williams, an 11th-grade student, had been listening to Panic! At the Disco’s music since their first album had dropped in 2005, practically grew up listening to their songs. Kamyran Williams loves rock music, often listening to other rock artists and bands such as Queen, Cobra Starship, Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, and Fall Out Boy.
“I think I love Panic! because Brendon Urie and the fanbase are so positive, and the band is just something that’s been a part of my life for so long, how could I not love it y’know?” said Williams.
11th-grade student, Tomie Lambert, had been introduced to Panic! At the Disco by her sister in elementary school, she listens to other bands such as My Chemical Romance. Brendon Urie stands out to Lambert because of his wide vocal range as well as the upbeat vibe the band sends out. Lambert loves that the band not only has upbeat songs that you can “party” to but also those “chill” songs that you can “relax to” or “do homework to”.
“They’re always so positive and upbeat for me, so like when I’m in a bad mood I would listen to them to get pumped or psyched for something,” said Lambert. “If I ever need to be excited about something or in a positive mental space, I would definitely put on one of their albums and when I’m driving and I want to be relaxed I would put their slower stuff.”
Rochelle Sandiford, a 10th-grader at Da Vinci Design, has been listening to Panic! At the Disco since seventh-grade, and enjoyed the song ‘This is Gospel’ from Panic!’s fourth album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die. She listens to similar bands such as Twenty One Pilots but has a great love for pop music.
“I really like his attitude when he’s onstage or when he’s performing, well I guess that’s the same thing right?,” laughed Sandiford. “But I really like his demeanor, he always looks really confident and out there and I just really like that about him. I feel very confident and “yeah, let’s do this!” because his lyrics are really uplifting like “yeah, I can do this!” especially from his last album, it just… I find it very uplifting for me.”
10th-grader Martha Dempsey started listening to Panic! At the Disco when she was ten-years-old. She got into YouTubers Dan Howell and Phil Lester who also liked Panic! and picked up the songs from there, still enjoying Panic! At the Disco’s music to this day. Martha Dempsey loves alternative punk or rock music from artists and bands such as Twenty One Pilots, Paramore, and Green Day.
“They just changed their music frequently from rock, jazz, pop and… I dunno, the way their music is, it gets me pumped, gets me excited, and Brendon is amazing. His voice is wonderful which is like… I love him so much,” smiled Dempsey. “So, if I want to listen to jazz then I put on ‘Death of a Bachelor’. But if I’m into rock at the moment, there’s Fever. And it just gets me like… whichever mood I’m in, I put that album on and it gets me pumped, I guess. For example, ‘Time to Dance’, the whole Vices and Virtues album, and right now, ‘Old Fashioned’ is a pretty good song.”
Natalia Jara, 10th-grade Da Vinci Science student, had first been introduced to Panic! At the Disco during her time in seventh grade by a friend, and really enjoyed the songs, especially ‘The Ballad of Mona Lisa’ from Panic!’s third album, Vices and Virtues. Nowadays, Jara listens to other artists.
“The thing I really liked about Panic! At the Disco is just like a good vibe and it’s something that you can really rock out to which you know, is something we all need in our lives. And I dunno, I feel like with his music you can kinda express your emotions in a way,” said Jara.
Olivia Duarte, an 11th-grade DVS student, had been introduced to Panic! At the Disco by a friend in middle school. The band means a significant lot to Duarte, during middle school she began to go through an “emo phase”, and Panic! At the Disco happened to be one of the first rock bands she was introduced to. Duarte was relatively new to the middle school she attended so having a band that she and her friends can enjoy and connect with was very unique and special to her. To this day, she can still connect with Panic!’s music.
“I love Nine in the Afternoon and I’m actually singing High Hopes for our jazz band,” Duarte said enthusiastically.
People are frantically jaywalking the traffic-ridden streets. At the sidewalks surrounding the Forum, there are people selling Panic! At the Disco t-shirts and posters. Just outside the Forum, there are fans lounging about or walking through metal detectors and security checking bags. And past that, a woman scanning tickets.
“Just enjoy yourself, pretend no one is there and just go for it. Sing as loud as you can. Don’t let anyone stop you,” advised Dempsey. “Even if security is passing by, just go for it,” Dempsey joked before letting out a good laugh.
“Uh uh, tickets only. They got here first, you go behind them.” A girl with a VIP pass clutched in her hand like a lifeline, she had accidentally passed the lady who was checking the tickets. “Oh! I’m sorry!” she handed her ticket over for scanning, obviously anxious with excitement and a grin across her face.
“Um, the first concert… oh my god, it was so amazing,” Sandiford recalled her first time going to a Panic! At the Disco concert. “There was a lot of… like lights and it was Brendon Urie on stage and I was like: ‘OMIGOD, IT’S BRENDON URIE!’” and it was just so amazing—like an amazing experience and I would recommend it for anyone else.”
“5-4-3-2-1!” The stage shaped as the Panic! At the Disco triangle symbol lights up a neon purple hue and the accompaniment played the instrumentals of ‘F*** A Silver Lining’—screams, and cheers of fans fill up the Forum. A single spotlight points at the stage and lead singer Urie literally popped out of the stage—blue spotlights glow up the Forum and streamers fly overhead the fans close to the stage.
During an interview with KROQ, Urie revealed that ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It”, a song from Panic! At the Disco’s latest album Pray for the Wicked, was about him telling his mother that she thought he would become a starving musician, but he actually made it in life. “‘Look ma, I made it. I’m a hooker who sells songs, and my pimp is a record label.’ So it’s very tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not dishonest,” said Urie.
Dempsey believes she can connect ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’ to her own life as well. “My parents always want me to achieve and things and so far, I am, so it’s like: I made it.”
Cheers filled the Forum was the electric guitar struck chords to ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’ and screams only became louder as snippets of the Brendon Urie Muppet of the ‘Hey Look Ma, I Made It’ music video appeared on the screens behind the band in all sorts of neon tones. Fans sing along with Urie with enthusiasm.
“I felt that the throwback to ‘Nine in the Afternoon’ was really good. The crowd was almost louder than him [Urie] but that just reinforced to me that it was a crowd favorite,” said Williams. “I love ‘Nine in the Afternoon’ because it’s such an upbeat and goofy song, just makes me feel good and warm listening to it. During the concert, I felt the same vibe, but it was mixed with rabid fan fever. It felt like everyone was on the same page, note, and lyric, like we rehearsed singing the song for him.”
Blue spotlights danced on the stage, giving the only light in the Forum, and then the screens glowed brightly with an elephant backdrop, giving off a circus-like vibe. After only one key on the piano, fans immediately knew the song that was about to be performed. Fans eagerly sing along to the lyrics with Urie, practically shouting, almost louder than Urie. Clapping along, laughing with friends. The night was still young.
“Honestly, I feel like I love the band so much because he is–Brendon’s so, like, he’s not like many other people, he doesn’t seem conceited,” said Lambert. “Aside from being really awesome, they are really cool with their fans, which I think is very cool. I would like to meet them–or him [Urie].”
During a concert, when Brendon Urie sings ‘Death of a Bachelor’, Urie does the “death walk” where he walks from the front of the stage to the piano waiting for him at the other side of the venue, but along the way, he interacts with his fans giving greetings, shaking hands, accepting gifts, etc. By the time Urie was at the piano, he began to give a lighthearted talk about his piano lessons as a child.
“It feels like home, ‘cause it is home, y’know what I mean?” Urie stated, “So, speaking of home, when I was like… I dunno, six-years-old or so, my mom tried to give me my first piano lesson. It lasted a good thirty seconds.” The crowd laughed. Urie went on to say that she realized that if she picked songs that he liked, he would be able to pick up on the piano a lot easier.
Urie began to perform ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ on the piano—the platform he was on began to float above the fans, and people start to softly sing the lyrics, turning on their flashlights to create a beautiful picture of stars across the Forum. He began to transition the keys to ‘Dying in LA’ which caused fans to scream with glee, the crowds of fans echoed the lyrics, and at the second verse of his song he got up from the piano and sang at the edge of the floating platform.
“The craziest was when–he was–he was, oh!” Duarte began stumbling over her words in excitement, “playing the piano and flew over the whole crowd and it’s just like, that’s dangerous! And he got up and he was like was so close to falling and I was just like: ‘NO! Don’t fall!’”
“Thank you all for being here. Thank you for making my dreams come true!” Urie smiled, “My god, you look gorgeous up here! But you’re LA, so of course, you’re beautiful, geez. You’re doing good? What’s up my bros?” Urie laughed, softly thanking the audience before turning to a fan, accepting a gift that was meant for him.
Most Panic! fans can agree that a Panic! At the Disco concert wouldn’t be complete without Urie performing Girls/Girls/Boys.
“‘Girls/Girls/Boys’…” Duarte paused, “I was barely getting to figuring out what my sexuality is and everything, and figuring out who I am. I kind of have a better idea now, but I’m still a bit closeted to people around me, so for me to have a song that I can openly listen to without having people… not like me or disgusted with who I am or what identify as I just find that it’s great.”
‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ is a song dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. In October 2018, Urie had described himself as pansexual, stating, “I’m married to a woman and I’m very much in love with her but I’m not opposed to a man because to me, I like a person. … If a person is great, then a person is great.” According to Genius.com, ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ explores bisexuality and the idea of having casual sex. The song stresses the importance of holding a truthful sexual identity and celebrates the courage it takes to live publicly. In 2016, the song had inspired fans, Eva and Briar, to create a fan-led project where fans volunteer to cut out paper hearts to shine a flashlight through during this song live, this was enthusiastically accepted by Urie who loves the tradition.
“My favorite part was when… well, everyone had rainbow hearts in their seats, so right when Brendon Urie started singing Girls/Girls/Boys, everyone just took out their phone and it just lit up the whole area as a rainbow,” said Duarte. “And what struck me most was that people were throwing [pride] flags up there and I saw a flag that I identified as and I started crying right then. ‘Cause most of the people that identify as what I do, are invisible or people don’t know that they exist, so it’s amazing.”
Urie had pride flags wrapped around his neck like scarves, behind him on the screens displayed the word “LOVE” with a rainbow backdrop. Fans held paper hearts of all sorts of colors to their flashlight, confetti sprinkled across the center of the Forum.
The night was coming to an end and Urie asked for a round of applause for the first two acts, Conan Gray and Two Feet, as well as the crew, and also the audience themselves. “Thank you guys so much! It’s good to be home, we love you!” Urie closed off explosively with ‘Victorious’, confetti and streamers had spread across the audience, screams and claps of fans had dominated the Forum. The night had come to an end, but it was a night that the fans will never forget.