Panic! at the Disco
June 22, 2011
@ The Warfield Theater
[Editors' Note: We sent SF Weekly photographer Gil Riego Jr. to shoot and write about last night's Panic! at the Disco show. What follows is his unique account. See more of his photos from last night here. ]
Better than: Any other concert your mom attended with you as a kid. (The first concert that my mom took me to was Neil Diamond at the MGM in Las Vegas. That was pretty epic. I imagine that she would've thrown her bra onstage if our seats were better.)
"We're like Jack and Rose as the Titanic was sinking," a fan screamed to her friend as her ribs were being crushed by the swaying fans behind her right before Panic! at the Disco took the stage. Pretty sure Jack and Rose didn't have their parents chilling in the back of the Titanic tossing down beers -- like many young fans last night doubtless did -- but her idea of how packed the Warfield was last night was clear enough.
The walls shook progressively louder and harder after every song played throughout the night. Funeral Party got everyone cheering and dancing along through its six-song set. As I shot pictures during its performance, I turned around and noticed about 20 heads bobbing up and down past the railing behind me. After my time in the photo pit, I fought my way out, nearly getting my camera bag stuck and left behind between two to three oblivious people. Once out, I enjoyed the rest of the Funeral Party's time onstage at a safe distance from the rapidly filling bottom floor.
By the time I went back toward the stage for fun.'s performance, there was already a wall of flesh five people deep. Fortunately I was able to wave my photo pass in the air to get a path to the pit. As fun. started off with "All the Pretty Girls," the band's Queen-esque sound electrified the crowd. The fans behind me all sang along. Closer to the end of the set, an entertaining back-and-forth began with the crowd where lead singer Nate Ruess warned that Panic! did not like zombies, and to then repeat after him as he sung a cadence.
Oh, did I mention the band had a giant sign that said "fun." behind drummer Will Noon? Yeah. That kind of sold me on the entire performance.
As I was approaching the pit to shoot Panic!'s set, I was greeted by an even larger sea of humanity preventing me from reaching the photographer's position. How all these people showed up in the time it took for me to grab a drink was beyond me. But luckily, I trailed one of the staffers making his way to the front to give water to the fans who were being annihilated behind the guardrail. You can thank him for these photos.