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July 22, 2014

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Panic at the Disco joins the historic ranks at the Hard Rock

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Ryan Olbrysh

Ryan Ross and Brendon Urie work their instruments in front of the hometown crowd.

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In this photo provided by Hard Rock International, members of the band Panic At The Disco, from left, Ryan Ross, Brendon Urie, Spencer Smith and Jon Walker look over the donated Hard Rock's 2008 Ambassadors of Rock guitar at the Hard Rock Cafe, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008, in Las Vegas.

Under a row of signed drums and cymbals from artists like Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, local boys Panic at the Disco signed their way into Hard Rock history. As part The Ambassadors of Rock international tour, which has featured everyone from Fergie playing in Florida to The Wailers in Singapore, both Panic and their Rock Band Live co-headliners, Dashboard Confessional, donated signed memorabilia to the Hard Rock’s epic collection of rock and roll artifacts yesterday afternoon. Years in the making, the collection includes such priceless items as Prince’s guitar, the school girl outfit that made Britney Spears famous and the crimson and gold upholstered outfits and instruments from OK Go’s “Do What You Want” video.

Panic at the Disco’s offerings were a tad less dramatic. They took Sharpies to and donated a snare drum and guitar that the band had used on stage, while Dashboard Confessional offered up a signed cymbal as well as promising to donate the shirt that lead singer Chris Carrabba would wear onstage at that evening’s show. Hard Rock International also donated $10,000 to the charity Autism Speaks as part of the event, and the bands posed behind the massive check with dutiful media smiles ready. It was a photo op made in Hard Rock Café heaven.

A few hours later Panic at the Disco was back in front of the flashbulbs as they took to the Paradise Stage, otherwise known as the employee parking lot, to close out Rock Band Live’s Vegas stop with special guests Plain White T’s and locals The Cab.

Dressed in their usual retro-chic wardrobe complete with patterned shirts and skinny ties, Panic played through a lively set that mixed hits from their debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and this year’s Pretty. Odd., including “That Green Gentleman,” “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage,” “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” “Mad as Rabbits,” “Northern Downpour,” “Do You Know What I’m Seeing?” and “Nine in the Afternoon.” The stage’s only adornment was a pair of wide, colored pillars that supported the drum set and keyboard, and all attention was on the young band mates as they played for an eager hometown crowd.

Vocalist Brendon Urie, guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker swapped light banter on stage and played musical chairs with their instruments throughout the show. Urie and Walker traded guitar for bass on a few songs, and during one number Renaissance man Urie bounded from a white piano to a second drum set, all the while energetically maintaining the lead vocal track.

“In the next 10 to 15 minutes your life is about to get much better,” Walker announced towards the end of the show, just before Urie launched into his most enthusiastic performance of the night on “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” Panic then rounded out the show with a surprise, a cover the Isley Brothers classic soul/rock number “Shout!” that has stayed famous thanks in part to the incredible dance scene in Animal House. Halfway through the song, as the band played through the “little bit softer now” interlude, Urie addressed the crowd. “I’ve never heard the band so quiet before. It’s fucking awesome!” he said. “But all good things must come to an end.” And so, with the crowd jumping, shouting along and arms pumping in the air at the Panic’s feet, another good show came to a close.

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