Panic! at the Disco take a chance playing the new album in its entirety at the high-energy Xcel show – Twin Cities

Las Vegas rock band Panic! at the Disco took a fresh approach to promoting their new album “Viva Las Vengeance” Wednesday night at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center.

The band – made up of singer Brendon Urie and musicians who have been touring since 2015 – opened and closed the show with mini sets of half a dozen hits. In the meantime, they played the new disc in its entirety.

It was a bold move for sure. The band emerged in 2005 after Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz signed them to his label and took them on the road. PATD scored big with the emo crowd, but the group slowly fractured as Urie took control. Over the past decade, he’s transformed the band’s sound, adding heavy doses of Queen-style glitz, Rat Pack-style crooning and Broadway bombardment.

This new direction worked, and PATD sold out the X and Target Center on tours in 2017 and 2018. Urie’s huge voice — he’s a tenor with a four-octave range — and on-stage swagger helped selling huge theatrical anthems to a new generation of fans.

Maybe these new fans have aged out of the band? On Wednesday, a crowd of around 7,500 showed up. And after two consecutive albums that reached No. 1, “Viva” spat out at No. 13, while its seven singles failed to find an audience.

Listening to Urie and his band — which includes horn and string sections — go through “Viva” on Wednesday, it was hard to understand the resistance from fans. It’s truly an ode to 70s FM radio, with nods not only to Queen, but also to Cheap Trick, the Raspberries, Thin Lizzy, T. Rex and a number of other bands from around the world. ‘era. But it’s not that far off from what the band has been doing lately.

“Viva” is full of towering arena rock epics that Urie absolutely nailed. The most compelling moments, however, were the quieter ones. A song about a relationship ending in death, “Don’t Let the Light Go Out,” is easily the strongest of the bunch with real emotional resonance. And “All by Yourself” is such a savvy and cheeky reworking of Eric Carmen’s classic “All by Myself” that they gave it a writing credit.

The crowd occasionally perked up during new material, but often sat in quiet reverence. But the older stuff — nearly all from the past decade — got massive responses, from “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” to “High Hopes.” Many also got audiences singing along, including Sinatra’s 2015 tribute “Death of a Bachelor.”

It remains to be seen if Urie’s ploy of playing all of “Viva Las Vengeance” will spark renewed interest or if he will be the turning point where Panic! at the Disco slips into nostalgia territory.

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