Described by bassist Jon Walker of tour headliner Panic at the Disco as “one hell of a convoy,” the aesthetically wondrous Honda Civic Tour, also featuring Motion City Soundtrack, the Hush Sound, and Phantom Planet, kicked off at San Francisco’s Warfield last night (April 10), and thankfully, destroyed lingering chatter of the recent Olympic torch fiasco with tunes aplenty.
Peppered with a variety of sounds, the dynamic list of bands provided not a moment of mediocrity. SoCal sensation Phantom Planet kicked off the eveningunveiling tracks of their forthcoming cult-ish album Raise the Dead. Chicago native the Hush Sound then took the stage, and pianist/vocalist Greta Salpeter coated the crowd with her sultry voice on “Molasses,” a tune off their new album Goodbye Blues. One set break later, Motion City Soundtrack shook up the venue with their high-energy punk, delivering Commit This to Memory gem “Everything is Alright” in top form as moog player Jesse Johnson thrust forth BMX-type moves and frontman Justin Pierre shifted robotically in unison with the pulsing crowd.
As fans awaited the headliner’s arrival, erupting chants of “Panic” filled the Warfield as roadies scrambled to prepare the stage, and teenyboppers screeched and cheered as they viewed their text messages streaming along a large video screen onstage.Finally, as the rosy-cheeked quartet appeared, the audience broke into a palpable frenzy.
Reminiscent of the famous children’s tale The Jungle Book, the stage was lavished in vines and flowers, providing an entertaining scene for Panic — now totally make-up free — to roll out tracks from their acclaimed new album, Pretty. Odd. Guitarist Ryan Ross held court alongside frontman Brandon Urie, opening with new tunes “We’re So Starving” and “Nine in the Afternoon,” before running through “Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Off Her Clothes” and “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies,” off the band’s 2005 debut A Fever you Can’t Sweat Out.
Later, exiting the stage and soon returning for a three-song encore, the quartet busted out “Time To Dance,” as fans reciprocated, shuffling feet and holding cell phones high in the air, capturing each and every moment. And as the final notes of set closer “Mad as Rabbits” rang out, the crowd scattered out of the venue, and not a word of the Olympic fiasco rang through the streets, only ecstatic tantrums recalling the many performances at the first stop on the Honda Civic Tour. The torch had officially been passed.We asked: With their new album, Pretty. Odd, Panic at the Disco have mysteriously ditched the exclamation point once punctuating their name — any idea why?