Panic! at the Disco have a problem.
Thanks to the breakout success of their debut album, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, they've gone from being the opening act on a five-band bill to the headliners on a massive arena tour in the span of roughly one year. Unfortunately, their repertoire of songs hasn't grown at the same exponential rate.
Which means they're still playing the same dozen-or-so tunes, with a couple of covers (the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight," Radiohead's "Karma Police") thrown in for good measure. It's a song catalog that doesn't exactly translate to the kind of marathon, midnight-busting set list most arena headliners are known for. And Panic! are well aware of that.
So just how do they plan on filling a 90-minute set each and every night on their upcoming arena tour, which kicks off November 7 in Sunrise, Florida (see "Panic! At The Disco Announce Fall Tour")? Why, with mirrors and dudes painted like lions, that's how.
"We totally know the show needs to be bigger this time around, so we're throwing around a lot of ideas," Panic guitarist Ryan Ross said. "We're going to build a house of mirrors, with ramps for us to come down. And in the front of the stage, underneath our keyboard and cello players, we're going to have animal cages, and we're going to put dancers painted to look like lions in there. I'm talking about full-body paint, with teeth and a tail."
And that's not all. Ross went on to say that the band's set will have a "Vegas-y circus" feel to it, complete with a moving carousel that doubles as a drum riser, a little bit of pyro and some dancers. And he hopes to stage it all under the same big top that rock vets Mötley Crüe rolled out on their 2005 Carnival of Sins Tour. If, you know, the Crüe are done with it.
"Well, we want to use the same tent. We'll see if that actually happens though," Ross laughed. "We spoke to this guy about getting the tent, but then he told us that Mötley Crüe might use it again on some upcoming tour, so we'll have to see. We might have to go without a tent."
In addition to all the gloriously glittering ephemera, there's also to be the now-customary spate of covers at the upcoming shows. And while Ross was hesitant to spill the beans on all the tunes Panic will be paying homage to, he was more than happy to tell us about one song that the band has been working long and hard at mastering.
"Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is one of the hardest [songs] to cover, and we've been working on it. We practiced it in Australia during soundchecks, and now we're seeing if we can get it for this arena tour, 'cause it would be perfect," he said. "The idea of it kind of blows my mind though, I mean, it would be all of us, plus our touring keyboard player, singing the harmonies. That seems like it would be a lot of fun."