Nineteen years isn’t a bad run, for a baby band that blew up and then fell apart several times along the way. They were also notorious for being a different band with each record, which could be charming or infuriating, if they had finally found a groove you liked. I was a Panic! fan from 2008 to about 2015. Spencer Smith (the drummer) was always my favorite, and once he was officially out, so was I. So were a lot of people, if not then, certainly later. Panic!’s legacy includes the fact that at least one headline this week read “Fans Rejoice as Panic! at the Disco Breaks Up.”
I don’t feel particularly good or bad, just blank, or maybe relieved, that it’s finally time to let the revenant lie back down.
So rather than talk about my feelings, I’m going to show you some pictures, because during the years I loved them the most I went to a lot of shows and took a lot of pictures.
The first time I saw Panic! was at Bamboozle, in 2008, where I couldn’t actually see them because I had just gotten my glasses broken in the Bouncing Souls pit. The second Panic! show I went to, I didn’t bring a camera.
So we have to start at the first show I took a camera to, which was in August 2009 at Angels and Kings, Pete Wentz’s bar in the East Village. It was also the first show after Panic!’s first split, when Ryan Ross and Jon Walker broke off to become The Young Veins. This shot was pure dumb luck. It is still one of my favorites.
These are from one of the early shows on the tour for Vices & Virtues (2011), the first record after the great sundering.
Next up: two are from T5, later in 2011, again during the tour for Vices & Virtues. I was up on the balcony, and caught a stage light panning over Spencer Smith at just the right moment, and got an unexpected ringside seat to that night’s performance of Always.
This one is from the same night, which I mainly like for reasons of Vibes, since it’s not like you can see the band.
At the Starland Ballroom, as part of Patrick Stump’s solo tour for Soul Punk (2011).
This one is from one of the record release shows for Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die (2013), the last record for which they were a band and not a solo act, and held after a performance of Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel. Spencer Smith had stepped back but not all the way away, quite yet. The rest of the band was a cast of revolving characters, as it would remain until this week, or until March, depending on where you mark the end, the announcement or the last show.
At Roseland, in February of 2014. The lights did a weird thing, and it was interesting:
And then, to close the circuit, here is the last picture from the last Panic! show I went to, in August 2014, at the theater at Madison Square Garden: