Kinky Boots

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve visited New York City. There’s always something to do. Plenty of touristy attractions for all age groups. I’ve been to NYC at different times of busy tourist seasons. Summer and fall/winter seasons. The warmer seasons allows me to do more venturing around the city compared to colder season. All my NYC adventures are memorable in their own way. But my most recent trip is special for its own reason.

It isn’t often that my celebrity biases have taken time away from their TV/movie or music careers to take on Broadway. In general, Broadway doesn’t pay as much. The person must have a strong passion to pursue a Broadway musical project.

First Date Musical posterIn October 2013, Messiah College Student Activity Board (SAB) had a NYC Broadway excursion to see the off-Broadway musical First Date. I normally never went on any SAB excursion to NYC. This trip was sold out but our campus radio was giving away two tickets. I was lucky to win one of the two tickets. So why was I so keen on going? Zachary Levi from NBC’s Chuck joined the main cast ensemble of this off-Broadway musical. In fact, he was making his Broadway debut in First Date. I was obsessed with NBC’s Chuck. This action-comedy/ spy-drama TV show was nerdtastically bad-ass! This was my main motivation for attending this SAB NYC Broadway excursion. Thankfully colleges can get group rates when they plan Broadway trips. So, I was going to take advantage of this opportunity.

She Loves Me Musical posterIn March 2016, Zachary Levi returned to Broadway for She Loves Me revival musical. Last spring my local community college had a New York City day trip. Obviously, I had made another trip to New York City mainly to see this off-Broadway musical. I even had opportunity to meet Zachary Levi backstage after She Loves Me performance. He autographed the playbill and took a photo with me. First Date and She Loves Me musicals helped to form a deeper appreciation of him as an actor. Zachary Levi is a versatile actor.

Bend It Like Beckham musical poserIn June 2015, my family and I were travelling to London, England for vacation. I stumbled across some interesting information a few weeks before this trip. I’d been going through a Jamie Campbell Bower movie and TV show marathon during the last two months of my senior year of college. Jamie’s Wikipedia page mentioned he would be participating in London’s West End musical production of Bend It Like Beckham. This musical was based off the 2002 film. In fact, the film’s writer and director, Gurinder Chadha, penned the script for the stage musical as well. I’ve seen Bend It Like Beckham movie at least 15 times over the past decade. Thankfully, it didn’t take much convincing to convince my family to check out this West End musical while we were in London. Best of all, I had opportunity to meet Jamie Campbell Bower backstage after Bend It Like Beckham performance. He autographed the musical playbill and took a photo with me. I feel so lucky to have met some of my favorite celebrity biases.

Couple months ago, some exciting news regarding Panic! at the Disco popped up online and social media platforms. P!ATD’s frontman, Brendon Urie, would be making his Broadway debut in Kinky Boots musical. Of course, I had to find a way to make another trip to New York City to see it. I’ve been a longtime fan of Panic! at the Disco’s music over the past six years. Plus, I saw them in concert in August 2014 and September 2015. This Broadway musical had gotten great reviews. I had no doubt it will be a good musical.

Kinky Boots was my first  main street Broadway musical. First Date and She Loves Me are technically off-Broadway musicals. Brendon was my main motivation to see Kinky Boots musical. But I do really enjoy musicals in general.

The bus pulled into New York City around early afternoon. Thankfully, the hotel was nearby the Kinky Boots theater venue. I had time to meander around the city before the 8 o’clock evening performance. I specifically wore my new Panic! at the Disco tee for this performance.

Al Hirschfield Theatre is in midtown Manhattan. This theater is within close vicinity of other main street Broadway musical venues. Yet, the Al Hirschfield Theatre is a fairly small venue. The seating capacity is around 1,400 persons. My seat was very close to the stage. Orchestra section on the right side in the first section of seating. End of the second row. No joke my seat was right by the stage. I was right there where all the action was. No complaining about this incredible view of the stage. According to Ticketmaster, it says it is a partial view seat. Lies. I had a fantastic perspective of the whole stage!

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Kinky Boots posterKinky Boots musical revolves around the character, Charlie Price. He is a fourth generation son in his family’s shoe factory business. After his father’s untimely death, Charlie inherits the shoe factor which is near bankruptcy. Now he must find a way to save the family business. A creative business solution comes in the form of an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen, Lola. He plans to reinvent Price and Son brand by producing a line of comfortable high-heel boots which can even withstand a man’s weight. Charlie and Lola’s unconventional business partnership helped them realize they aren’t so different after all. Kinky Boots officially debuted on Broadway on April 4, 2014. J.Harrison Ghee replaced Toderick Hall as Lola in March 2017. Brendon Urie replaced Killian Donnelly as Charlie Price in May 2017.

Cyndi Lauper wrote the music and lyrics for Kinky Boots. Many know Lauper because to her hit song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”. In fact, Kinky Boots was her debut as musical theater songwriter. The song numbers in this musical have emphasis on father-son relationships but also has overarching themes of tolerance and self-acceptance.

Kinky Boots is an eccentric Broadway musical full of heart and soul. I definitely got feels during the performance. Laughter and tears. There’s a great balance in serious and comedic tones within the dialogue and songs. Honestly, I love all the songs in Kinky Boots. Mixture of infectiously catchy and pensive ballad numbers. They’re all incredible in their own ways. Although, some songs stand out for me. “Land of Lola”, “Sex is in the Heel”, “Not My Father’s Son”, “What A Woman Wants”, “Soul of a Man”, “Hold Me in your Heart”, and “Raise You Up/ Just Be”. You’ll be tapping your foot, clapping your hands, and dancing in your seat by the last song of the performance. I had a huge grin plastered on my face at the end of the performance.

Being his musical debut, Brendon did an amazing job as Charlie Price. He still has room to improve his acting skills. Nonetheless, he still brilliantly brought his character to life on the stage. It never ceases to amaze me how Brendon makes singing look so effortless. He is a lovable ball of energy and explosive charisma. On and off stage. He pulled off a decent British accent for this role too. (Side note: It was a bit odd seeing him in a buttoned-up shirt and khaki pants. I got so used to him wearing skinny jeans, casual tee, and leather jacket. For concerts, Brendon even wears bold colored suit ensemble. He is typically shirtless the last half of concert performances.)

The whole cast ensemble of Kinky Boots had phenomenal chemistry. Most of all, J. Harrison and Brendon worked so well together. It is essential the main roles have good chemistry. This can make or break a musical, movie, and TV show. J.Harrison Ghee vastly impressed me. His acting skills and mannerism make you quickly love the character of Lola. Lola and her troupe of drag queens (also referred to as “angels”) were my favorite characters in Kinky Boots musical.

I waited until the last bow from the cast ensemble before heading to the stage door. (Side note: It’s plain rude to leave before the last bow. You don’t have to be a seasoned Broadway musical attendee to know this fact. It’s assumed courtesy.) There was a massive crowd around the stage door in front of the Al Hirschfield Theatre. Not surprising at all. Most people were waiting for Brendon Urie. Brendon was my main motivation to see Kinky Boots. Yet, a success performance on a daily basis rests on the talent and harmony of the whole crew and cast ensemble. Based off the online comments on social media, this wasthe first Broadway musical for majority of Panic! at the Disco fans attending Kinky Boots performances. I love how celebrities can help expose their fan base to other entertainment forms. The group of P!ATD fans around me came from far away states and even Canada for Kinky Boots musical.

The crowd worked together to ensure people’s musical playbills got signed by the cast members who took time to interact with the awaiting fans. The noise level drastically increased when security announced Brendon was coming out soon. All the other crew and cast members had already left the theater. There was much demand for Brendon’s autograph. But I persisted and politely weaved through the now slowly dwindling crowd. Brendon did his best to sign all the playbill musicals shoved in his face. Plus, people were screaming for selfies with him. I managed to find a spot close enough to pass over my two Kinky Boots playbills for Brendon to easily reach it. Brendon signed both playbills! My heart exploded with joyous fangirl feels when I saw his signatures on them. Plus, a tall girl nearby me offered to take some overhead pictures of Brendon before he got into his car. The pictures turned out surprisingly good. I waited almost 1.5 hours but it was so worth the leg cramp from all the standing. I didn’t come that far only to give up. That’s the closest I’ll get to “meeting” Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie.

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img_1902Brendon Urie will be playing the role of Charlie Price in Kinky Boots Broadway musical until August 6, 2017. Thankfully, Brendon not his understudy was in the June 16th performance.  He was my main motivation to check out Kinky Boots musical. I’d highly recommend this Broadway musical. Yet I don’t recommend this musical for any children under 15. It’s a fun time. You won’t regret it. Kinky Boots’ overall message is to find your true potential. Become the person you want to be rather than the person others want you to be.

I’ll leave you with a clip of Kinky Boots cast performing “Everybody Say Yeah” musical number on the Tony Awards in 2013.

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Thirty Seconds To Mars

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Nowadays people associate Jared Leto from his acting roles in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Suicide Squad (2016). Some people aren’t aware Jared is very versatile.  Actor. Singer-songwriter. Director. Producer. Editor. Photographer. Investor. Painter.

I’ve always associated Jared Leto as the lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars. Actually Jared Leto and his older brother, Shannon Leto, are co-founders of Thirty Seconds to Mars. Their mother, Constance, encouraged her boys to get involved in the creative arts at a young age. Since childhood, music played an integral role in the Leto brothers’ lives.

I’ll give some background history about this rock band. In 1998, Leto brothers formed Thirty Seconds to Mars in Los Angeles. Jared did some acting roles prior to pursing his passion for music. People magazine named Jared Leto one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1996 and 1997. Jared refused to promote the band by flaunting his Hollywood fame. This speaks volumes about his humility. In fact, he has never leveraged his Hollywood fame to garner more attention for the band. Jared has intentionally maintained his acting and music careers as distinct entities. In 1998, Thirty Seconds to Mars sign with Immortal Records. Then, Virgin Records joined this contract in 1999. Their self-titled debut album was released in August 2002.

Since 2006, Jared Leto has directed all of Thirty Seconds to Mars’s music videos. He goes under the pseudonyms of Bartholomew Cubbins and Angakok Panipaq. His directorial filmography includes A Beautiful Lie, From Yesterday, The KillKings and QueensHurricaneCloser to the Edge,  City of AngelsDo or Die, and Up in the Air. Each music video is basically a short film or documentary. Beautiful works of cinematography! [WARNING: Hurricane music video contains some mature content!]

Also, Jared Leto is a savvy business man. He founded an on-demand streaming platform called VyRT. This media company has diversified their services to include digital distribution, social networking, and online shopping. Artists can provide their fans unique virtual social experience through VrYT. Musicians can offer live experiences and broadcast it in real-time on the Internet. This is not his only technology investment. He was an early investor stakeholder in many companies. Nest, Uber, Airbnb, Reddit, and Slack to name a few. Jared has diversified his streams of revenue. But it is safe to say majority of money comes from his music career.

One thing differentiates Thirty Seconds to Mars from other artists or bands in the music industry. All of the band’s music videos and documentaries were produced in collaboration with producing partner, Emma Ludbrook, under their Sisyphus Corporation. They even have their own teams that address the business and marketing functions. They don’t have heavy reliance on their record label. Majority of artists/ bands aren’t quite as self-sufficient as this alternative rock band. My appreciation for Thirty Seconds to Marks keeps exponentially growing.

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[Tomo Milicevic (left), Jared Leto (middle), Shannon Leto (right)]

Thirty Seconds to Mars has consisted of three members since 2006. Jared is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. Tomo is the lead guitarist but also plays the keyboard and violin as needed. Also, he is responsible for backing vocals. Shannon is the drummer. Yet, he can play other percussion instruments as well. There’s fluidity in the roles within the band. All three members equally contribute to the creative music writing process.

Thirty Seconds to Mars’s music incorporates philosophical and spiritual elements in combination with Leto’s life experiences. All of their songs have deep lyrical content. By the way, Jared Leto is the main songwriter for the band. They certainly aren’t afraid to experiment with different musical styles. Electronica vibes are injected into the band’s alternative rock sound. Each Thirty Seconds to Mars album revolves around a specific concept theme.

Compared to my other bias rock bands, Thirty Seconds to Mars’s music is relatively mellow. But nonetheless their music delivers deep lyrical content. Jared Leto’s vocal tone is rather clean cut. But not too polished.  It still conveys a wide spectrum of raw emotions. Jared Leto is technically a high baritone/low tenor. Until recently, I’ve never heard of this vocal classification.  In my opinion, the only other lead singer with a similar vocal tone is Muse’s Matt Bellamy.

Jared delivers clean cut vocals with sporadic bursts of intense screaming. There was more screaming outburst in the songs on their debut and sophomore albums. Hardly any screaming outbursts featured in the songs on the third and fourth albums. This explains how Jared has maintained his singing vocals over 18 years. Also, he doesn’t smoke or drink which definitely preserved his clean cut vocal tone.

There are some artists or bands I’ve been listening to many years…yet I cannot exactly recall when I discovered their music. Thirty Seconds to Mars falls into this category. I didn’t even know about this alternative rock band until my sophomore or junior year of high school.

Back in 2008 or 2009, I vaguely recall a friend of a friend obsessively ranting about a music video one day in class. The music video in reference was “A Beautiful Lie” by Thirty Seconds to Mars. Lauryn randomly stumbled across that while browsing YouTube. It left a memorable first impression on her. Also, she emphasized the lead singer was stunningly gorgeous. She didn’t have to work too hard to persuade me to check them out.  Thirty Seconds to Mars is an alternative rock band. My music preference usually leans towards the rock genre anyway.

During one of my free weekends, I decided to check out “A Beautiful Lie” music video. Rock genre has varying types of musical styles. I honestly had no idea what to expect with Thirty Seconds to Mars’s music. “A Beautiful Lie” music video concept was quite simple. It addresses the importance of global warming.  Also, the band shot the music video on location in Greenland. 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It left a lasting impression on me. I wanted to listen to more of their music. So I checked out Thirty Seconds to Mars’s A Beautiful Lie album from my local library. This album was released back in August 2005…but I only discovered it three or four years later.

One of my all-time favorite Thirty Seconds to Mars music video is “From Yesterday”. This was the third single off of their sophomore album, A Beautiful Lie. To current date, it is the band’s most elaborate music video concept. It was shot on location at the Forbidden City. Thirty Seconds to Mars is the only American artist/ band to shoot an entire music video in the People’s Republic of China. This music video pays tribute to the 1987 film The Last Emperor. More than 300 extras were used in this music video shoot. There are two versions of “From Yesterday” music video. 13 minute short film and edited 7 minute versions. The cinematography and story concept immerses you into China’s rich history and culture.

For the longest time, A Beautiful Lie was the only Thirty Seconds to Mars album I had ever listened to. It wasn’t until a few years ago I checked out their two recent albums. This is War. Love Lust Faith + Dreams. Drastically different music styles from A Beautiful Lie album. There was definitely more experimentation with music styles on those two albums. It took a few listens before I acclimated to this new sound. I’d grown accustomed to darker undercurrents of A Beautiful Lie album.

Also, I recently listened to the band’s debut album for the first time. I thought their sophomore album, A Beautiful Lie, was pretty intense in regards to the sound. Nope. Their debut album is way heavier.

Their sophomore album, A Beautiful Lie, helped the band finally gain mainstream popularity. In March 2006, this album’s second single “The Kill” immensely launched Thirty Seconds to Mar’s music career. Ten years of working their asses off had finally paid off! But the victory was very short-lived. The band was informed they owed $2,500,000 of debt to Virgin Records. Despite selling millions of albums, they hadn’t made any money from the album sales up to this point. Of course this news would be very disheartening to any artist. Thirty Seconds to Mars made the decision to leave Virgin record label in mid-2008.

EMI Records slapped the band with a $30 million lawsuit for breach of their 1999 contract with Virgin Records. EMI is the parent company of Virgin. Between 2008 and 2009, the band simultaneously recorded their third studio album, This is War, and fought their own legal battle with EMI. The band waged war against the music industry’s unethical business practices in their documentary, Artifact. It even includes  in-depth, behind-the-scenes footage of recording sessions and legal meetings. Also, it paints the harsh reality of modern music industry for upcoming and even established artists. Artifact was directed by Jared Leto under his Bartholomew Cubbins pseudonym.

30STM Guinness World RecordsDid you know Thirty Seconds to Mars made it into the Guinness World Records in 2011? Their third album, This is War, was released in December 2009. Into The Wild tour spanned over a two year period. The band traveled to 6 continents performing over 300 shows. In fact, the music video for “Closer to the Edge” features live concert footage from this tour. Thirty Seconds to Mars wanted to break the world record for most live shows during a single album promotion cycle. They made this a reality. Thirty Seconds to Mars set the world record for “Longest Concert Tour by a Rock Band” with a total of 309 live concerts on their Into the Wild worldwide tour.

It has been a little over a year since I last listened to Thirty Seconds to Mars’s albums. I go through various music phases. So I haven’t been in the mood to listen to their music. Within the past two weeks, I’ve seen Suicide Squad twice in theaters. I normally don’t like DC universe films. Yet, Suicide Squad piqued my curiosity. I had two main reasons to see this film. Panic! at the Disco and Jared Leto. There was much hype surrounding Jared Leto portraying a modern-day gangster interpretation of the Joker, the clown prince of Gotham. I was intrigued how Jared would bring this character to life on the big screen. The first DC universe movie I’ve gone to the theater to see. My curiosity paid off. I very much enjoyed this anti-hero summer blockbuster.

Suicide Squad convinced me to re-explore Thirty Seconds to Mars’s music. I’ve intensely binged all four of their albums over the past two weeks. Love Lust Faith + Dreams album has really grown on me. I love Thirty Seconds to Mars even more than I did. Jared, Shannon, and Tomo are all awesome people in their own way. Also, they are incredibly talented artists. Each of their albums demonstrates their growth and maturity as artists. Thirty Seconds to Mars have maintained their presence in the music industry over the past 18 years. Longevity in the constantly changing music industry isn’t easy to achieve.

Love Lust Faith + Dreams album was released back in May 2013. So they haven’t come out with new material in three years. Jared pursued some movie projects during this gap. The wait is finally over! Thirty Seconds to Mars will release their fifth studio album in 2017. There are plenty of YouTube videos verifying Thirty Seconds to Mars is a phenomenal live act.  I’d love to see them live in concert on their tour promoting the new album!

SS Joker[On a somewhat related side-note rant: It is frustrating how close-minded movie goers bashed Leto’s amazing performance as the infamous Joker. Jared Leto put his own unique spin on this multi-faceted villain. I’m pissed how majority of Joker scenes were cut from final theatrical version. I’m well-aware the Joker is only prevalent to Harley Quinn’s backstory arc. So he isn’t the main focus of the film’s plot arc. But the studio heavily emphasized the Joker in Suicide Squad’s promotional marketing campaign. This is extremely deceptive. Jared is disappointed how only few of his scenes actually ended up in the final version of Suicide Squad. There were some minor plot gaps because many Joker scenes were cut out. Most importantly, music is his main passion. So Jared is very selective of which movie projects he chooses to participate in. Any movie project means less time he can devote to working on new Thirty Seconds to Mars material. He won’t take time away from his music for just any movie role. It must be a truly worthy artistic film project. He joined Suicide Squad project because of the artistic premise. DC extended universe films are a major time commitment. So Jared has a valid reason to be angry the Joker only got 15-20 minutes of screen time. Warner Bro Studios were very misleading when bringing him onto this film project. I really hope we see more of Jared Leto’s Joker in future DC extended universe films. I love the charismatic bad-assery of the new Joker.]

Panic! at the Disco

PATDPete Wentz, bassist of Fall Out Boy, discovered a little, unknown Las Vegas band called Panic! at the Disco. By late 2004, Pete signed this young, upcoming band onto his Fueled By Ramen imprint label, Decaydance Records. Panic! at the Disco’s debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, released in September 2015. This Las Vegas band made their official debut into the “scene” music genre.

I was in middle school around this time. So the name Panic! at the Disco sounded vaguely familiar. During middle school years, my fellow peers bombarded me with a plethora of “scene” artists’ names throughout the school day. This is the only reason I was even aware of the mainstream popularity of “scene” music.

I already mentioned in the “Emo Rock” blog post how my appreciation for this particular music genre quickly morphed into immense love over the years. For some unbeknownst reason, I just couldn’t get into Panic! at the Disco’s debut and sophomore albums. Sometimes things in life take time to grow on you. Panic! at the Disco would definitely fall into that description. From 2008 to 2010, I explored “scene” genre with majority of my bias artists being under Fueled by Ramen label. Yet ironically it wasn’t until 2011 Panic! at the Disco’s music sparked my interest.

MTV’s Hits television channel was my occasional guilty pleasure around 2008 or 2009. I enjoyed checking out what music would be played during their various program segments. Often, MTV Hits was my frequent go-to TV channel during summers. Summers are when I will seek out to discover new artists or bands. Usually they’re musically similar to the artists I already listen to.

Music is one of the ways I unwind from the stresses within my personal and academic life. One month after graduating high school, there was plenty of stress resting on my shoulders. Lots of conflicting emotions too. Excitement to start a new chapter of my life. Anxiety of starting over in a new environment. Elation to take steps towards my career. Worry that I wouldn’t be able to find people similar like me in college. Eager anticipation to make new friends. Apprehension over how potentially intense college academic rigor will be compared to high school academic rigor. It wasn’t until two months before the fall semester of college I was mentally prepared for this new life journey.

Back in the summer of 2011, I was casually flipping between my preferred go-to TV channels. “Ballad of Mona Lisa” music video began playing as I swapped to MTV Hits. The first minute sparked my intrigue. Putting the TV remote down next to me, my whole attention was directed at this music video. I had never seen a Panic! at the Disco music video before this point. So I had no idea what to expect.

“Ballad of Mona Lisa” was a steampunk themed music video that conveyed a fascinating concept which brought the song’s lyrics to life. Don’t even get me started on that gloriously bad-ass steampunk top hat worn by the lead singer. Plus, the lead singer was rocking guyliner like it was no one’s business. The addictive punk pop beat instantly hooked me within 30 seconds. Within the same week, Panic! at the Disco’s “Ballad of Mona Lisa” music video played many times on MTV Hitlist and Fuse TV channels. My intrigue rapidly blossomed into appreciation as each listen made me fall further in love with this song. With absolute certainty, I knew I had to check out Panic! at the Disco’s new album, Vices & Virtues!

Panic! at the Disco’s YouTube channel enabled users to listen to the whole album for free. This worked out in my favor. Here’s my policy with albums: I won’t buy a music album until I’ve listened to it in entirety at least 10-15 times. I’ve been a loyal iTunes user for the past 8 years. Artist’s more recent albums aren’t necessarily cheap. I don’t bother buying singles. Only full albums or Extended Play (EP) albums. So the music album purchase must be worth it! I binged Vices & Virtues album in full entirely approximately 20-ish times. From start to finish, Vices & Virtues takes the listener on an incredible journey. Each song experiments with various musical styles. I needed this Panic! at the Disco album in my iTunes library! (Random note: Actually I wound up purchasing Vices & Virtues deluxe edition album on iTunes. Compared the regular edition, the deluxe edition included two bonus songs and “Ballad of Mona Lisa” music video. This additional content totally justified spending $3 more for this version of the album.)

This led me to check out Panic! at the Disco’s previous albums. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and Pretty Odd. Two drastically diverse musical styles. Their debut album didn’t take too long to grow on me. This emo punk pop album incorporated aspects of baroque pop. This album definitely stood out against other “scene” albums around the mid-2000s. Quite impressive for a new, upcoming band especially with their debut album.

Pretty Odd is an entirely different story. I didn’t grow up with psychedelic pop rock. So The Beatles influence sound within Pretty Odd didn’t quite jive well with me for a long time. It would take me a couple years before forming an appreciation for it. This album was an acquired taste for me.

Holy moly! The lead singer’s voice is a decadent wine you just cannot get enough of. Only one other lead singer of out of my bias alternative rock bands has such incredible vocal range and soulfully, rich tone. Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy. I could seriously listen to Panic! at the Disco’s music for several hours at a time and never get tired of it. Also, I love the complex layering of different musical styles within their songs. It ain’t the typical sound you hear in alternative rock genre.

When I wasn’t listening to their albums on my iTunes, YouTube became my best friend. I intensely browsed Panic! at the Disco band interviews to learn more about its band members. I didn’t know Jon Walker and Ryan Ross had officially left the band in 2009 due to musical creative differences. This is why I had no issues with the band’s new musical direction with Vices & Virtues album. I wasn’t even aware Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith were the remaining original band members. Band interviews tell you about individual member’s personalities and the band’s dynamic in terms of interacting with each other. Out of all my rock artists, Brendon Urie has the most extroverted, charismatic personality for a lead singer. A fabulously multi-faceted personality that never ceases to amaze me even five years later. Also, he can play at least 3-5 instruments with high level of mastery. This is a man of many talents. I fell head over heels in love with him. Truly never a dull moment with Brendon Urie.

Ever since discovering Panic! at the Disco in 2011, I dreamed of having the opportunity to see them in concert. They sound really amazing based off the live concert videos clips I found on YouTube. I’m often very skeptical if my bias rock bands will sound good live as they do on their studio albums. I’d hate to be extremely disappointed upon to discovering they sound absolutely nothing close to their recorded albums.

Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die was released in October 2013. Panic! at the Disco experimented with an entirely different musical style compared to their previous three albums. Their fourth album embraced a more synth pop vibe. I was very pleasantly surprised by Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die. This particular album embodies Brendon’s personal evolution from his youthful days growing up in Vegas to becoming the front man of a well-known rock band. The album essentially is pays homage to the band’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Alternative Press: Panic! at the Disco announces The Gospel tour

Panic! at the Disco extended The Gospel tour dates between July and August 2014. I will randomly look up tour dates for my bands from time to time especially after a release of a new album. Many of my bands often tour during summers. One of the The Gospel tour dates was stopping by Pier 6 Pavilion. I discovered this exactly one week before the day of this concert. This filled me with exuberant joy. Favor was on my side. There were still tickets on sale for this particular concert date.

I was already familiar with the layout of Pier 6 Pavilion’s venue. mtvU’s Sunblock Festival was the last concert I attended at Pier 6 Pavilion back in July 2009. So this helped me to figure out what available seats would give the best view and concert experience. With concert tickets, my goal it to never pay more than a total of $70 (including venue fees).

I was bubbling with excitement the day of the concert! I was extremely surprised to discover my seat was within close proximity of the stage. Only 7-10 feet from the main stage on outer edge of right lower section. I had only bought my ticket exactly 7 days before this concert…the favors were definitely in my odds. I usually purchase my concert tickets at least 2-3 month in advance due the high popularity of my artists/ bands. Despite being near the speakers, the general sound acoustic was still excellent. My seat gave me fantastic views of the main stage.

Walk the Moon and Magic Man were the opening band acts for Panic’s The Gospel Tour. They were decent but didn’t really sparked too much of my interest. These bands’ music weren’t my cup of tea. I can still appreciate opening band’s music even if it doesn’t entirely appeal to me. They were good transitions to the main act of the evening.

Panic! at the Disco delivered a high-energy 22 song set list. That is pretty intense. Nearly 90 minutes of mind-blowing, spectacular performances. Pier 6 Pavilion has a smaller main stage. Yet, Brendon’s overwhelmingly charismatic personality exploded on the stage. Despite the medium-small-ish venue, Panic! at the Disco delivered performances that made the audience feel as if they were in huge arena venue. Brendon offered several terse yet entertaining commentaries between songs due to how packed their set list was that evening. Panic! at the Disco not only sounds as good as their studio albums. It way exceeds the sound quality of their recorded albums. I already knew Brendon Urie is stunning gorgeous based off the YouTube interviews and photos floating around online. Seeing Brendon perform on main stage, I fell even more in love with him.  He has a very special place in my heart. I waited three years and finally had chance to see Panic! at the Disco in concert. Truly a dream come true! This concert experience was adequately documented in photographs and a few recorded video clips.

Panic! at the Disco’s The Gospel Tour Setlist

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In September 2015, I had another opportunity to see Panic! at the Disco at Shippensburg University. My friend was a current student at Shippensburg University at the time. Rachel is a huge fan of Panic! at the Disco’s music too. So I paid between $25-$30 the for non-student concert ticket. That’s still a super cheap ticket price. I hadn’t paid anything under $30 for concerts since July 2009. This concert was held in Shippensburg’s main auditorium. Way bigger than Pier 6 Pavilion’s open-air venue. Rachel and I were fortunate to find two spots on the crowded bleachers. This gave us a great elevated perspective of the main stage. We wouldn’t have been able to see much cramming into the general standing area. I had only one slight issue with sitting on the bleachers. Majority of people on the bleachers remained seated during Panic! at the Disco’s set. Sadly, Rachel and I were unable to stand up during P!ATD’s set without rudely blocking the people in the row behind us. Yet, I still had an absolute blast during Panic! at the Disco’s 20 song set. It was hard to believe Brendon was battling a horrible cold that evening. Hell he sounds better than I do when I’m suffering from a bad cold. P!ATD delivered kick-ass, energetic performances. At the end of that evening, my friend and I drove away from Shippensburg University with jubilant grins plastered on our faces.

Panic! at the Disco’s Shippensburg University Setlist

Death of a Bachelor was released in January 2016. “Hallelujah”, “Victorious”, “Death of a Bachelor”, and “Emperor’s New Clothes” presented listeners with very different musical tones. This was just a little taste of how spectacular the new album would be. In the new album, Brendon basically reflects on his life experiences regarding the transition from a single bachelor to a married man. All of the album’s song lyrical content expresses quite an array of emotions. Death of a Bachelor album was love at first listen. I marveled at the beautifully moving songwriting. Some songs legit gave me goosebumps. Within the first week of its release, I easily binge-listened Death of a Bachelor album in entirety 30-40 times.

Brendon Urie isn’t afraid to break the mold by evolving Panic! at the Disco’s sound with each album. Each album has very different musical styles.  It is literally a musical journey listening to their albums in chronological order from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out to Death Of A Bachelor.

I apologize for the super long length of this blog post. Over the past five years, my love for Panic! at the Disco has exponentially grown. I don’t understand how I didn’t discover this amazing alternative rock band until summer of 2011. Well it is better late than never.