The lights are still black–there’s a black curtain covering the stage. It’s been an hour since the opener performed. The audience is anxiously awaiting one of their favorite bands. Anytime something even slightly moves on the stage, the audience cheers. They’re waving lights that are the colors of the band’s last album, “Trench.”
The bass line for their song “Jumpsuit” starts and the audience screams.
The drummer, Josh Dun, walks around the stage with a stick of fire and a bandanna covering his face. The crowd is wild.
He puts the fire out; the stage is black again. Then there’s a car on fire in the background. Lead singer, Tyler Joseph, is playing the bass while Josh Dun is on the drums–they’re wearing their iconic masks and they’re on their own platforms that are rising. Confetti falls. The stage energy is unprecedented.
In almost every aspect, Twenty One Pilots’ stop in Charlotte on June 12, 2019, on the “Bandito” tour was a perfect show. It was the best production I have ever seen. The show also had lots of audience interaction, which is oftentimes the best part of seeing your favorite artist live. Musically, the band delivered a phenomenal performance with an incredibly well planned set list. It had a perfect balance of energy, build up and a great variety of their discography.
In terms of production, you couldn’t have asked for anything more. In my experience, most concerts have a couple of cool effects for production value. Usually, there will be fire and a platform that rises or screens with cool effects; and maybe a stage in the middle of the floor where the band goes for part of the show. Sometimes it’s as simple as some costume changes. However, this show had a little bit of everything. The show started with fire and confetti, and somehow, it only went up from there. During their second song, Joseph fell backwards towards the car and ended up on the top level balcony of the arena. I can’t even count the number of costume changes there were. Throughout the whole show, their huge screens on the sides of the stage and one in the center showed the band with cool effects, clarity, and a close view that really made your view amazing no matter where you were in the arena. About halfway through the show, lights came down about 5 feet over the general admission’s heads, and Joseph walked across the lights while singing. He got to a second stage in the middle of the General Admission area, where he played five slow songs. What might have been the coolest part of the show was when the audience held a platform for Dun, his drum set and Joseph for them to perform while being held by the audience. Not only was this an impressive and unique form of crowd-surfing, but it added audience participation that is unparalleled. Ultimately, their production allowed them to move all over the large arena, be seen everywhere they were and make every audience member feel special by doing so–it really made the show more than a “concert”–it was an experience.
Their production allowing them to be all over the arena, combined with Joseph’s conversational nature of speaking to the audience, really made the show also have a heavy dose of audience interaction. Personally, I don’t like shows where I just feel like I stumbled into a band rehearsal–I want the artist to talk to me. Don’t get me wrong, some artists can’t find the balance and talk too much as a result–but that’s not what happened at this show. Before singing “Legend,” he informed the audience that the song is about his grandfather, sharing a piece of advice that he learned from his grandfather’s life–“it’s always worth it to fight to the bitter end.” Anytime that he was able, he would ask the audience to start songs by singing a certain part and even ask them to physically participate. He asked the audience to jump to the beat during multiple songs. He also asked them to get as low as they could and jump at the start of a song. He also talked to the audience about the show and the audience itself–saying things like “You look good. You smell good. We’re going to change that by the end of the show,” and “This is turning out to be one of my favorite shows of the whole tour–don’t mess it up.”
Joseph was definitely the lead singer and the voice of the duo, but that doesn’t mean Dun didn’t participate with the audience in his own way. Between songs, Dun threw about 4 drumsticks across the audience. And let’s not forget his playing while being held by the audience.
Audience interaction was spread very well throughout the show. Joseph talked about individual songs, about the audience and even told the audience to cheer for “his friend, Josh Dun,” multiple times. This audience interaction made the show interesting and was one of many ways the duo made the audience feel like they were experiencing something truly unique.
Musically, the duo is known for genre-bending. They made sure to live up to this by having a set list that really showcased their ability to cross genres and their ability to balance the energy throughout the show.
They played a good amount of their rap songs, rock songs, and slower piano-focused songs. They also placed all of the songs strategically in their set list so that the audience was never bored. Not to mention, they played for over two hours–which I’ve never seen before. The longest headliner set I have ever seen is an hour and 45 minutes.
The pace and length of the show is not the only aspect of the music that made the show as great it was–it was also the music itself. Joseph’s voice was always on key, inviting and the volume was just right–the instruments were never overpowering the vocals, which can happen easily at concerts.
Not only was Joseph’s singing and rapping engaging and a clear display of talent; Dun’s drumming was incredible. He had several drum solos that really showcased his talent and throughout the show, which gave the audience a great beat to dance to–and trust me, they danced. They danced a lot.
Twenty One Pilots is a very prevalent band right now. They’re known for specific costumes, genre-bending, production-heavy shows, and a dedicated fan base. This performance really showed why their fan base is so dedicated and has been for nearly ten years. Their fans were singing along to every word, dancing to every beat and holding onto every word of advice of humor that Joseph spoke. This band means a lot to them and judging by their performance, their fans mean a lot to them. They truly gave their fans an unforgettable experience–an experience that made them feel like they belonged–Joseph’s last words in the show were “We are Twenty One Pilots, and so are you. Thank you.”
I think I am speaking for all of the fans from that show when I say–no, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun–thank you.