Wednesday, February 09, 2011

You shall go to the ball/disco!

A few weeks back I found out that one of my favourite bands, Panic! At the Disco, were going to be playing an intimate (not THAT sort of intimate) gig at Bush Hall, which just happens to be my favourite venue. As you might imagine, this sort of news elicited lots of speshul claps from yours truly: it would be nothing less than AWESOME.

Knowing that Bush Hall is a very small capacity venue and Panic! At the Disco is a very popular band, and tickets were only £15, I knew that the gig would sell out pretty much immediately and I had to do everything in my power to get tickets. As an idea of just how much I wanted to go, I even abandoned Saturday morning yoga so I could be at my computer the moment tickets went on sale.

And at bang on nine o'clock one Saturday morning, I logged on to a certain ticket website, popped two tickets in my shopping cart, and furiously tapped out my credit card details. I was going to see Panic! At the Disco! Or not. Because the moment I clicked the BUY NOW button I was shown a message that basically said 'sorry, but we reallocated these tickets while you were putting your details in.'

They might as well have just thrown up a massive flashing TOUGH SHIT! animation.

Now, I was under the impression that when you put tickets in your shopping cart they held them for you for five minutes or so while you entered your details. At least that's been the case EVERY OTHER TIME I'VE BOUGHT TICKETS. So I called the ticket vendor and had a proper moan. Not that they managed to make any more tickets magically appear, but it was quite therapeutic. And of course I wouldn't be so childish to name and shame the vendor in question, but shame on you, See Tickets. SHAME. ON. YOU.

Of course, there are always other means of getting tickets to sold out gigs including whoring yourself another ticket vendor website that has a resale section for people who have bought tickets but then find they can't make the gig. And by that I mean touts who buy shitloads of tickets and then try selling them on there for 80 quid a pop. As much as I wanted to see Panic! I didn't particularly want to drop such an outrageous amount as that on a ticket, so I resigned myself to either a) trying Shepherds Bush's terrifying recurring cast of ticket touts on the night or b) sitting outside on the pavement crying while straining to hear the gig going on inside.

Until Sunday night, when I saw one of the online resale vendors had caved and was selling tickets for £34 (plus an outrageous £14 in handling fees that was whacked on by the website itself). Still, bearing in mind I've been working my arse off this year (not ONE day off since I went back to work on January 4th) I decided to treat myself. That and I considered it a Valentine's Day present to myself that wouldn't have the Catholics condemning me to hell.

My ticket. It arrived the very day of the gig. I was WELL GIDDY when the postman arrived.

SO. Tuesday night I rock up to Bush Hall and, as expected, the queue is basically comprised of a load of teenagers in various states of striped attire, parents escorting the under 18s who looked like they'd rather be at home watching Eastenders, and me standing there reading my copy of the Evening Standard as a result of this being only the second gig I've ever been to on my own; the first time I ever went to a gig on my own was to see Panic! At the Disco back in 2008, which makes me think there's some sort of pattern forming here…

Anyway, after about half an hour the queue began to move and I noticed that there were two people checking the stripe-adorned teenagers for ID. As the queue moved further forward I found myself looking up at this hulking dude and meekly asked if he wanted to see my ID. Against all expectations he said yes. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he's never had anyone so enthusiastically respond to his demand to see ID before, because as I said "yes sir!" and began pulling my driving license out of my wallet he said "OK, fine, don't worry." I, however, fully intended to prove I was over 18, and held my photo ID right up to his massive face. He nodded in a 'like, yeah, WHATEVER' fashion as I wailed "gosh, you've made my day!"

In response he tutted, rolled his eyes, and wearily said "do you want a wristband?" I, of course, said yes.

My wristband. Me and about 200 sullen 15 year-old girls were wearing these. I was so proud. I almost bought a pint just because I could.

And then, against all expectation, I was in, standing in the no-man's land between the heaving throngs of teens by the stage and their indifferent parents lurking at the back.

So, let's be honest: I love everything Panic! At the Disco have done so far. Both of their studio albums and their live CD are in my top 10 albums of all time but, for those that don't know THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF PANIC! AT THE DISCO (what's the matter with you?), since I last saw them the band has, well, broken in two. Two members split off to form a new band called The Young Veins, while the lead singer and the drummer retained the Panic! name and stated their intention to carry on. I was obviously a bit excited when I heard they had a new album coming out in a couple of months, but this was tinged with a degree of uncertainty because, well, I really wasn't terribly sold on the first single they announced.

I pondered this fact as I waited for the new incarnation of Panic! At the Disco to take the stage, while also admiring their lovely wall projection.

And at around 9pm, take the stage they did - and any concerns I had just flew right out the window, because this band were ELECTRIC. Performed live, the new material sounded so good, so very Panic-esque; I was immediately won over by it. What really got me, though, was how lead singer Brendon Urie has grown as a frontman; he was always good, but to my mind, particularly during their last tour, a little hidden behind that tremendous voice of his. Here, however, it was almost like the loss of the other two band members had made him step up his game a bit. He cavorted around the tiny stage like a man possessed, a combination of Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury at their finest; in fact, his performance brought to mind a quote I heard from The Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts a few years back where he said how Mick Jagger was a brilliant front man because he could perform equally as well on a tiny stage in a dingy club as he could on a massive stage in a stadium.

Urie was THAT GOOD. He lived those songs, his facial expressions every bit as important to the story they told as the words coming out of his mouth. And his voice, so incredible last time I saw them, was even better than I remembered it being: from the very first song he was going from the deepest low notes to the highest falsetto FLAWLESSLY. It was a truly remarkable performance.

The rest of the band were great, too. The two new members admirably filling the roles of the departed band members with skill and gusto. This was one of the tightest bands I've ever seen perform live. And as much fun as the audience was having watching them, there was a moment where I looked over at the drummer and he had the broadest grin on his face. Knowing the band are having a good time is always a good sign.

They were on stage for bang-on an hour, and despite having paid over three times the face value for my ticket I definitely consider it money well spent. Apparently they're touring again in April - I'll be fighting tooth and nail to get tickets then, let me tell you.


So, as I left Bush Hall some dude was handing out promotional items in support of Panic!'s new album, Vices and Virtues - little bags containing a sticker, two badges, and a playing card showing either a vice (a skull) or virtue (a flower). "I've got flowers or deer," he shouted. I took one, looked at it and saw he'd given me a flower.

"Can I swap this for a deer," I asked. After all, you never want to be too virtuous, right?


Some videos! Excuse shitty sound quality; I am due a new iPhone this year…

But it's Better if You do

Northern Downpour

New Perspective (with high-pitched profanity beforehand!)

And thanks to this Youtuber, from the New York show they did last week here is their new track 'Nearly Witches,' which gives you a good idea of just how captivating Urie is on stage.


CyberPete said...

You should not be concerned about paying a little extra. I figure it was well worth it and it would have bugged you if you hadn't gone.

I myself paid facevalue for my two Kylie Splash zone tickets for the 19th. They were about £180 each. It'll be ace and I didn't go on holiday last year so I am good!

Tim said...

Oh, I'm not concerned - it was money well spent!!

I've never spent £180 on a ticket before, though!!

CyberPete said...

I know, me neither until this. It was just an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Being in there, in the middle of the show.

Other than these, the most I've spent was £50 but I am not fussed about it. It's only money and if it turns out to be a disappointment at least I tried it. Would be worse being up in the rafters wishing to be down where it all happens

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Good Heavens! Get a room, you two (that's you, Tim, and Brendan Urie/Panic! etc).

Tim said...

Cyberpete - I've always thought that I'd happily pay big money for, say, the Rolling Stones if I knew I'd never get to see them again. I'm sure I will at some point!!

Inexplicable Device - I just read it back and it does come across a smidgeon hetro-man crush, doesn't it?