twenty one pilots at Comerica Theatre
twenty one pilots present: The Blurryface Tour 10/13
by Deanna Romani
photos by Deanna Romani
“Stay low, stay low!” is the last thing you would expect a grown man in a floral kimono to yell to a crowd of 5,000+ people, but at a twenty one pilots show, it’s pretty typical.
twenty one pilots made their much-anticipated return to Phoenix last Tuesday night, after headlining the Chipotle Cultivate Festival in Scottsdale this past April. Along with them for the ride (no pun intended) were indie pop/rock bands Finish Ticket and Echosmith.
The multi-genre duo was supporting their fourth studio record, Blurryface, which was released earlier this year. With fans camped out for days before the show (the first two fans in line waited 36 hours; they got there at 6 AM the day before), it was definitely a show with high expectations.
Concert-goers donned various band shirts from Hot Topic, black body paint, and red beanies, the latter being one of front man Tyler Joseph’s signatures onstage during the Blurryface era. The lights slowly began to dim, the house music cut, and a single ominous bass line filled the venue.
The show kicked off with “Heavydirtysoul,” which takes lyrics from Joseph’s street poetry video from two years back. The entire crowd rapped and sang the lyrics back, erupting into applause when Joseph caught his tambourine from a crewmember tossing it to him from backstage, oh so effortlessly. Followed by “Stressed Out,” Joseph ripped the black sheet off of his piano before playing it, which only made the crowd’s cheers louder. Following “Stressed Out” was “Guns For Hands,” the first track of the night off of their 2013 record, Vessel, which brought them mainstream success.
Drummer Josh Dun began to drum to the beat of “We Don’t Believe What’s On TV” prior to Joseph singing “House of Gold,” another single off of Vessel. The band kept the ukulele and pop vibes out during their viral cover of Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and newer song, “The Judge.” Though the tracks and set list seemed all over the place to someone who had never been to a twenty one pilots show before, it all fit so seamlessly.
Dancers in hazmat suits came out during the electronic-infused track, “Lane Boy,” paying homage to the band’s most recent music video that they shot at the Bunbury Music Festival this past summer. Joseph urged the crowd to stay low, and then jump up and “lose it” when the beat dropped.
One of the high points in the set was when the two moved to a tiny platform in the middle of the stage; Dun performed on a small drum kit while Joseph’s instrument of choice was a tiny keyboard. The two performed a medley of Vessel songs and songs pre-Vessel, which the audience knew every single word to, chanting back the “We’re broken / We’re broken / We’re broken / We’re broken people” from “Screen.” I found myself with chills during the stripped down version of “Addict With a Pen” off of their self-titled album, looking around the dark venue to see everyone singing along with the hauntingly charming lyrics and rap verses.
The medley meshed into “Doubt,” a newer song that kept Dun on the small kit in the middle of the stage. Joseph split the venue down the middle and had everyone chant the last few lines of the song, making it a little competition between the two halves of the venue.
Joseph added bass to his list of duties during the reggae-infused single “Ride,” which included Dun crowd surfing his drum set and finishing the last forty seconds (or so) of the song from on top of the crowd. The pit squished together to try and hold Dun up on his platform, to which they succeeded.
“I will never lie to you from the stage. I will always tell you the truth. And I want you to know, but if you keep it up, this could be one of my favorite shows of the tour,” Joseph said. He continued to explain that artists say that a lot, but he genuinely meant it and he proceeded to talk about the first time they played in Arizona, a little over two and a half years ago, they played to fifty kids in a basement. Now, they had sold out a 5,000 person capacity venue, and this show ranked up there with Salt Lake City, UT and their hometown of Columbus, OH.
Crowd favorites “The Run and Go,” “Tear In My Heart,” and “Car Radio” ended their main set, with an encore of “Goner” and “Trees,” complete with confetti, water and standing on platforms in the crowd, a signature staple of their live shows. It was a flawless ending to a nearly two hour long show, and I expected to see tweets from hoarse teenagers with complaints of ringing ears the following morning.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to see twenty one pilots live, I highly encourage taking the chance. The fans can be intimidating at times, but they put on a great live show (visually, aesthetically and musically) and know how to work a crowd, and it’s extremely impressive with only the two of them. Next time they’re in the Valley, clear your schedule to catch their show. It’s highly worth the wait, all of the hype, and the money.
- Stressed Out
- Guns For Hands
- House Of Gold
- We Don’t Believe What’s On TV
- Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
- The Judge
- Lane Boy
- Throwback medley (The Pantaloon, Semi-Automatic, Forest, Ode To Sleep, Addict With a Pen, Screen)
- Message Man
- Holding On To You
- The Run and Go
- Tear In My Heart
- Car Radio