In 2012 I saw a two piece band open up for Grouplove at First Avenue called “Twenty-One Pilots. The band was so good they got an encore. One year later I saw them at the now deceased venue The Triple Rock Social Club. Fast forward two more years and I saw them sell-out the Skyway Theater. Finally after roughly five years I got to see the dynamic duo once again at a Sold-Out Xcel Energy Center show.
As people funneled through the main gates the first artist took to the stage: Max Frost. The multi-instrument wrecking ball hit the stage with his first hit song “White Lies”. A song that he has even performed in the studios of the local radio station 89.3 The Current. With his new hair style Frost dazzled the crowd with his upbeat sound and miraculous talent. From strapping on an electric guitar over an acoustic guitar, to looping keys, and to playing drums, the man has done a lot. Not to mention he started to rap in his latest singles which took to the show to a whole new level. With the crowd singing along with him and the lights at his back he was a force to be reckoned with. The Atlantic Record artist is a must see in the near future and will not disappoint musically nor will his performance. Once he was finished it was time to set “Sail” to the next band, Awolnation.
Let’s be honest, everybody knows this Awolnation even if they haven’t heard the name. Their infinite song “Sail” was a massive hit when it was released and still is today. Once it was time, Awolnation blasted right into their hit song “Run” and the crowd woke up fast. The bands high energy got people moving and singing. Front man, Aron Bruno did not disappoint as he ran around the stage jumping and dancing. The rest of the band was lively as well swinging their instruments around. When the set was closing down it was time for “Sail”. The crowd went crazy, I haven’t heard a crowd like that for an opening band since my first time seeing Twenty-One Pilots. As the crowd screamed every word and “sail” along with Bruno I couldn’t help but to think about how unique this band is. The band then gave the crowd one more treat and ended the show with “Sleep Walk”. Awolnation left on an extremely high note making Twenty-One Pilots have to try and top them.
Before I go into the Twenty-One Pilots part of the review I want to place a disclaimer. This was the most over the top off the wall show I may have ever seen. The amount of production that went into this show was insane. If anyone was there and I missed a part they really like, feel free to chime in on the comments.
As we stared at the stage a giant black sheet blocked our view. When the lights went down, this thunderous bass hit the air and the sheet dropped to show one of the two members of the band in a mask holding a torch. As the one walked around the stage, he made his way towards the drum set, it was Josh Dun. As the beats became louder a car that was on fire came up from under the stage to center stage with lead singer, Tyler Joseph, crouched on top. When the car was fully lifted onto the he leaped off and was handed a bass and immediately went into their new single “Jumpsuit”. As the song went on it only got crazier the car’s flames grew and the lights went hard, it was mind blowing. I have never heard a crowd that loud, I thought I did the other week but this was on another level. After the opener they went into their other single “Levitate” which expanded the car and lights vibe.
When they played their third song “Fairly Local” Joseph came out and wasn’t as animated as he usually is, something was up. About three fourths through the song he walks over to the pit on stage where the car came up and did a trust fall right into it. Ten seconds later he appears in the suite section right above me. Joseph rapped the last part before ripping off his mask and revealing that it was him up there. The crowd only got louder as the night went on.
The next highlight of the set was their song “Heathens”. The lights all turned purple and green to show off the colors of the “Suicide Squad”. Every time the part that says “watch it” came up the lights would shine down around them making it appear that they were in a jail cell. It was also around this point of the show where Dun took his shirt off for the first time. Let’s just say the screams for that were just as loud as any song.
During their new song “Nico and the Niners” a bridge came down over the crowd. Joseph climbed aboard and rapped his way across to the smaller stage on the other side of the stadium. At the end of the song he said “We have come to the part of the show where Josh and I are at the wrong ends of the arena. But before tour he said, that since I was the lead singer I could cross it twice as much as him. So Josh is going to walk through the crowd to get here.” Everyone on the lower level and floor went nuts. The people moved in GA like a sea to him. However, even though many wanted him to stop he made it without a hitch. Over on the “B Stage” they played their softer songs including one that was on their debut record. The song was “Taxi Cab”. During this part the band wanted to honor the dads and asked if anyone had a seat to sit down. Once the three songs on that stage ended the band went into “Pet Cheetah” and made their way back across the bridge raising everyone to their feet again.
After that it was finally time for the moment I have been waiting for, anything off of “Vessels” Twenty-One Pilots went into “Holding On To You” the song that got me hooked in the first place. Joseph stayed true to their roots as he jumped off the piano just like the old days. Dun also did his iconic backflip off of it. It was incredible and the crowd still knew every word.
Now it was the cover part of the night. Twenty- One Pilots brought the openers back up to play two covers, “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. I think that one got the parents who just brought their kids to the show dancing a bit.
The duo closed the set with their original hit “Car Radio”. Once again they killed it. They put a pillar at the other end of the arena so as the song went on Joseph made his way there while the crowd screamed and rapped every word flawlessly, even the fast part. When he made it to the pillar he started screaming “Now I just sit in silence!” and had the crowd just as loud as him. Then the final note came and he screamed “Silence!” The place went dark, the main set was over.
As the crowd boomed, they all lit their phone lights so you could see the stage start to fog, a little spoiler but it was surreal. Twenty-One Pilots came back out and played “Leave The City” then closed it with their closer since “Vessels”, “Trees”. Joseph mainly let the crowd sing this one. At the end of the song the two floor toms were put in the crowd and the duo had the fans lift them and the drums above their head. Once they started beating the drums, the stage went crazy. The exploding car came back, the steam shooters shot up and diagonal and the amount of confetti that was being shot was astronomical. When it was over the band lifted their sticks to the audience and gave their bows.
Even if you are not a fan of their music, these two are performers. They will not let you down and keep you captivated the entire two hours. I cannot wait to get the chance to see them again.