On Saturday, March 31st, I had the extraordinary pleasure of going to see Panic! at the Disco live in Manchester, and let me tell you I had a fantastic time!
I haven’t been to a whole lot of concerts in my life to be honest, other than school recitals of course. But in terms of actual concert experiences, its not something I have done a whole lot of. Not for any particular reason, don’t get me wrong I like going. I guess I’m just more of a theatre girl and would rather spend ticket money on going to see a play. Nevertheless, I have been to a couple in my life, my very first concert experience was when I was 14, and I went to see JLS in a nightclub in Buckley.
Yes, thats right JLS. My 14 year old self had low standards. Cast your minds back to spring 2009 – 10 years ago to this day! – JLS were fresh off the X- Factor, I’m talking literally like 2 months after the series ended, before they’d released an album or gained any sort of popularity. For some ungodly reason, they were down to perform an under 18’s concert in some backwater nightclub in Flintshire. Me and my older sister Beka went as our Easter present that year, my younger sister Millie is still annoyed that she was left out, but to be honest from what I can remember I had a great time. It was fun! And it was fun to “be a grown up” and go to a concert. Plus I got a hoodie out of it; the coveted JLS hoodies in their signature colours – I went blue for Aston – and it was great. Though side note, in writing this article I have literally just learnt that tickets for this show cost £10 (bargain right) but “VIP Tickets” where you got to meet the guys and have a photo with them was only £10 more!. So that is £20 to meet JLS, and we did not do this. And yes I am bitter.
Another incredibly notable concert experience of mine was in 2015, where me and my little sister Millie went to see Pentatonix. PTX are a really awesome acapella group, but like cool. And at the time were both of our favourite bands. Now, originally we were just going to the show as part of their tour in Birmingham. But I decided I was going to be a little sneaky. This happened when I was at university at which I was given some scholarship money that I kinda got drunk on power with. So I decided that I was going to fork out £200 on VIP tickets so we could meet them. A kind gesture, no? Well I also kept it a massive secret. She knew that we were going to see PTX, but had no idea we were going to meet them or any of the other fun stuff. I revealed this secret 5 minutes before we were due to go into the venue ( I told her we needed to be there for the VIP check in 4 hours early so we could be near the front of the queue.) Needless to say, I videoed me telling her and it was everything I wanted. She immediately started crying and to be honest with you she didn’t stop for about 3 hours. Every new thing that happened as we went through the VIP process just triggered the water works. At one point, we were waiting in a corridor to go in to see the band for the first time, and they must have been doing a sound check or something because you could very faintly hear the bass singer through the door, and she lost it.
That was a pretty amazing evening; I touched 3/5 members, Kevin the beat boxer said he liked my flower crown and we were close enough to the front that when singing my favourite song “Standing by”, Avi made eye contact with me and I died.
Now that we’ve taken a trip down memory lane, lets talk about the concert at hand. Panic! at the Disco was a pretty awesome experience. I’m not going to say I’m their biggest fan in the world, but I do really love their music and Brendan Urie seems pretty cool. We very nearly didn’t get tickets for the show, as when I looked they were completely sold out, apart from off this weird website that was almost certainly a scam, so I kind of left it as an oh well, next time for sure. I just happened to see a post online saying that they had released more tickets in Manchester, so whilst I was at work in the middle of the day I was desperately trying to coordinate with my sisters to buy this tickets, and huzzah(!) we were in.
My main issue was that I had no idea what to wear. I don’t know what people wear to concerts and it is not an exaggeration that I spent literally all day deciding. For some reason I landed on a pair of burgundy shorts and fishnets that genuinely looked terrible on me and I’m really not sure why I wanted to wear them. I didn’t go out in that thank god, I last minute swapped to a black velvet skirt (that I’ve not been able to wear but have lost weight since I bought it) and a pink blazer with sparkly pink boots, keeping the fishnets for posterity. Add some shiny purple lipstick and yeah, I looked the bomb…
Now, when buying the tickets and for the months leading up to the show, I was terrified that we weren’t going to be able to see anything. The website made it out to sound like our seats would be behind a wall, but actually they were really amazing. Sure it was a side view but we were so close to the stage and could see everything, so it worked out amazingly well for sure. What was surprising to me was how much I liked the support acts. Not that I didn’t think they’d be good, just that when I went to see Fall Out Boy, the support was some really weird couple and Professor Green, neither of which I enjoyed. But Panic’s first support A R I Z O N A, were actually really amazing, and I’ve since listened to their music and they’ve found themselves a new fan.
I will say this, they put on one hell of an effing show. Like Brenda Urie owned that stage completely. He had so much energy throughout the entire thing and his vocals were unbelievably on point. The set lasted for about 2 and a half hours, and they sang pretty much every panic song that I know, so they really worked for it. All of the musicians were pretty cool too; the guitarist had a few awesome solo moments and the bassist was a bad ass woman who I want to be when I grow up.
Probably the funniest thing that happened on the night was definitely our exit. Not wanting to get caught in the car park traffic, as soon as he finished the final note and said goodnight, we practically sprinted out of the arena and power walked/ran to the car park. Thankfully we didn’t have to clamber up the 4 flights of stairs to the very top floor as we managed to jump on a lift as soon as it opened – action film style. We jumped in the card, hard when there’s 3 of you and its only a two door, and managed to not get stuck in car park traffic. I did nearly get us killed as we drove out of Manchester city centre but eh we’re still alive aren’t we?! Driving home was a bit of a challenge, its very late and I was very tired and Manchester is very far away. We did stop at a Maccies first, obviously, and unfortunately it was the night that the clocks went forward, so we ended up not getting in until half past 2 in the morning, very tired and very ready to bed.
Nights like that are always very welcome breaks to the norm. It was kinda surreal to be in a massive arena full of thousands of people, 40 feet away from Brenda Urie, and then in a blink of an eye we were in McDonald’s, in another home in bed. But it was a really fun night and a really great time. It has definitely made me want to go to more concerts and see more musicians live, it also makes me wonder what it would be like to be on the stage instead. Considering my last concert, where I sang one song, had 50 people max in the audience and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking, I’d guess and arena is probably going to be utterly terrifying. But that isn’t going to happen to me any time soon, so I won’t spend too much time worrying about it.