Last Friday, I attended Twenty One Pilots’ Emotional Roadshow tour at PPG Paints Arena. The duo, consisting of vocalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, have been pretty rapidly thrust into the spotlight over the past year. The band’s swift rise to prominence has clearly not been undeserved. In the past year alone, three of their singles have reached Billboard’s Top 5.
As is usual with Twenty One Pilots, the performance was high energy and placed a great deal of emphasis on crowd engagement. At one point, Tyler ran across the crowd inside of a giant inflatable ball, and at another point both band members played drums while standing on platforms held up by the audience. Though this tour is clearly in support of the duo’s massively successful album Blurryface, there was no shortage of older fan favorites such as “Trees”, “Guns For Hands”, and “Ode To Sleep”, from their previous album, Vessel.
My friend and I purchased general admission floor tickets when they went on sale last summer, and given the sellout crowd, we were unsure of how good of a spot we would get! There were actually attendees waiting in line all day long to secure a good spot on the floor, but the show’s two-stage set-up ensured that everyone on the floor had a great view at one point or another. Oh, and did I mention the Mario Kart battle? Yes – Tyler and a fan played Mario Kart 64 on stage in a sold out arena.
It’s incredible to me that, even in such a massive venue, Twenty One Pilots still managed to make the show feel as intimate as if they were still playing in a church basement for 30 people. Obviously the stage production is quite a bit more impressive these days, but the performance itself is still Tyler behind his small piano (or bass guitar, or ukelele, etc.) and Josh behind his drum kit, pouring everything they’ve got into each song.