Twenty-One Pilots Concert: A Transformative Experience

After spending $480 on two tickets to the Twenty One Pilots concert on October 28th, I was really hoping that the experience would be worth what I paid. As the concert approached, I was afraid to even go for fear that I wouldn’t enjoy the concert as much as I wanted to. I’d only been listening to this band for a few months, and I’d already developed a personal connection to both the bandmates and the amazing music they make–such a strong connection that I spent $480 so that I could listen to them live for four hours straight when I could listen to them on Spotify for free. What would I do with the disappointment if I didn’t enjoy my first Twenty One Pilots show?

As I made my way inside, it was almost impossible to contain my anxious desire to see the band live. However, I still had an hour to go, so I made my way to the merchandise tables. The shirts, posters, and vinyls were absolutely beautiful, but also quite costly. I paid $45 for one shirt, and another $40 for a poster. A steep price, but I was willing to cough up my money for the dark colored floral print t-shirt that was just oh-so-chic.

After waiting for some time in my seats, the first opening act came on. It was Max Frost, someone I’d never really heard of before seeing his name on a Bandito tour poster. I wasn’t eager to see him particularly, but when he started playing his songs I found myself bopping me head to the beat. The singer was extremely talented and could play a wide variety of instruments, including three different kinds of guitar, the keyboard and drums. He was clearly born to perform on stage. Frost interacted with the crowd and everyone loved him by the time he left. Next, Awolnation started to perform and I’d never heard of them either, but the rest of the crowd seemed a lot more familiar with the band. I got the impression that Awolnation had been performing longer than Max Frost, simply because their performance seemed a little more smooth and confident. I liked both of the acts despite not knowing them before the concert.

An hour after the concert started, I was getting tired of the opening acts and just wanted to see Twenty One Pilots; and I could tell the people around felt the same. Awolnation and Max Frost were amazing don’t get me wrong, but I paid all this money because I wanted to see Tyler and Josh, not them. However, I was pleasantly surprised by my first ever concert wave about five minutes before Awolnation’s act ended.

Watching the workers set up the stage wasn’t the most exciting entertainment in the world, so I started watching the people. The amount of yellow I saw (yellow is the signature color of this era in the band’s history) was illuminating; and the kindness displayed throughout the crowds was inspiring. This was a fan base that could truly come together through their love of the same music. There were no barriers, and the only label was one that we all shared: Twenty One Pilots fan.

And all of a sudden, a current drops and cheers run ramped through the arena.

One of the greatest things about a Twenty One Pilots concert is that they don’t ignore their past—they celebrate it. Not only did they play a song from their first album, Joseph also wore the outfits he’d been wearing for years. Including the skeleton jacket, flower kimono, and signature red beanie from the Blurryface era. Both Joseph and Dun included lots of yellow in their wardrobe to signify the show’s celebration of Trench, their newest and edgiest album.

The duo also kept the tradition of the last song played being Trees, during which they were held up by the crowd in general admission and confetti flew everywhere as they pounded on small drums. Fortunately, Trees was not the only song brought from the 2015 album, Blurryface. Fan favorites such as Car Radio, We Don’t Believe What’s On TV, Ride, and Fairly Local were also included in the set list.

Speaking of Fairly Local, this had to have been my favorite song in the concert simply because Joseph went from the stage to just a few rows above me in the crowd. The lights went out, and when they came back on, the lead singer was suddenly just a few feet away from where I stood. So, yes, my seats were worth the price because even though I wasn’t extremely close to the stage, I still got to see Tyler Joseph up close. It was a dream come true.

The concert was definitely emotional, and not just in an exciting way. Tyler Joseph is known for writing honest, tear-jerking, and heartfelt songs that are meant to pull strong feelings out of not only the listener, but also Tyler himself. One of the more poignant and moving performances was Neon Gravestones, a song with a message about society’s way of glorifying suicide. Not only was it clear that Joseph and Dun had a meaningful connection to the song, but I almost cried.

The set list was further enhanced by adding two cover songs that the band was able to play beautifully with the help of Awolnation and Max Frost. Joseph stated each of the songs was important to each bandmate. Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls and Hey Jude by The Beatles. Fans reacted excitedly as they were able to sing some classic songs with their favorite artist.

Twenty One Pilots is not Twenty One Pilots if not for their comedic relief. Joseph was sure to make plenty of jokes during song transitions, including telling us how playing piano while you talk makes it all the more dramatic and talking about the average yelling from the fans. The lighthearted tomfoolery balanced out some of the more emotionally heavy moments during their performance.

In addition to their ability to put on a nearly flawless show through Joseph’s voice and Dun’s personality, the special effects were nothing short of spectacular. I was left in awe by the amazing lighting and visuals displayed on the huge screens that stood behind the stage. The technological side of the concert was anything but unimaginative.