“I promise that we’re gonna give you everything we have tonight,” Twenty One Pilots' vocalist Tyler Joseph said at one point during their sold-out show at Auckland’s Vector Arena last night - and give it all they did. His statement epitomises exactly why their band can sell out the venues they do, because fans know that their investment into Twenty One Pilots is equally reciprocated by the band themselves - something of a rarity in today’s music world.
With a start time scheduled for 8.30pm, fans began chanting a countdown: “3, 2, 1,” as the clock struck 8.30pm, anticipating the show to begin. Though a few minutes late, the venue was screaming just as hard when Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun appeared on stage in their renowned suits; red jackets, and black ski-masks. A microphone suspended from the ceiling hung down for the rapping that was to follow in ‘Heavydirtysoul’, the opening song of The Emotional Roadshow tour.
The show as a whole takes Twenty One Pilots to a whole new level, with every part of the show immaculately thought out and executed, with the audience in mind at every point.
’Hometown’ saw a heartfelt performance - but in classic Twenty One Pilots fashion, it was not without a trick of its own. In the outro of the song, what appeared to be Tyler Joseph sat at the piano before being covered with a black sheet - before the real Tyler Joseph appeared in the upper bowl of the arena, dramatically taking off his ski-mask to fully take in his surroundings.
Though playing for two hours, the duo managed to fit in more songs than the average show, by mashing up their own songs - with ‘Blurryface’ tracks ’Message Man’ and ‘Polarize’ being melded together, and later ‘Screen’ and ‘The Judge’ getting the same treatment.
“Let’s try this again so they hear us all the way at the Adele concert,” said a sassy Joseph, referencing the other show happening at the same time out at Mt. Smart Stadium, before demanding the crowd to sing the “yeah yeah yeah” refrain of ‘We Don’t Believe What’s On TV’ even louder - to which they happily obliged. With his ukulele out in full-force, their viral cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ showcased yet another side to this versatile and indescribable band.
“I’m best friends with my doubt,” Joseph sings on ‘The Judge’, but the star of the song is truly his best friend Josh Dun, who gets a shout-out in the final chorus - with every member of the audience now knowing that “Josh Dun!” is hidden within the lyrics, and remembering to scream it at the top of their lungs.
As the band made their way to the B-stage, vintage footage of them played on the enormous screens, showing them rehearsing, playing tiny live shows, changing tyres on a van - which made the show all the more humbling to watch. As they performed ‘Ode To Sleep’ on the smaller B-stage that looked more like the stages that they were playing in the footage, it was a fitting ode to the journey that the band has had since its inception.
“You look beautiful,” Joseph commented as phone-lights lit up the arena for ‘Addict With A Pen’, before their much-loved cover of My Chemical Romance’s ‘Cancer’, which has now become a staple in their live set.
One of the highlights of the entire show comes from Dun himself, who verses himself in an intense drum-battle - with the other Josh Dun on the screens playing gradually more intense drum-beats, which IRL-Josh copies, until the screen version of Josh loses, and his head brutally explodes. Though Josh is restricted to sit behind his drum-kit throughout the show, he manages to exude energy like no other drummer - and his time to shine comes during his back-flip off the piano in ‘Holding On To You’, and in ‘Ride’ where he plays a drum-kit held up by the mosh-pit.
The show's production peaked during ‘Stressed Out’, with the video-screen backdrop transforming to resemble a house, with windows and a brick wall - and through each window you could see a throwback to the “good old days” of them rehearsing in their bedrooms. This was followed by ‘Guns For Hands’, during which Tyler Joseph rolled around the arena in his red hamster-ball.
‘Car Radio’ then marked the end of the set, with Joseph running the length of the entire arena to climb a ladder, before performing the final chorus atop the ladder, fully unharnessed.
It’s testament to their fans that their two-song encore is made up of non-singles, ‘Goner’ and ‘Trees’ - but yet invites an equally as loud sing-along from the 12,000 strong audience. Joseph solemnly asks, “Did we do okay?” to which the response was nothing but enthused screaming. I think they did more than okay.
PHOTOS TAKEN WITH FUJIFILM’S NEW X100F CAMERA - click here for more info.
Heavydirtysoul (with 'Fairly Local' intro)
Message Man / Polarize
We Don’t Believe What’s On TV (with 'House Of Gold' intro)
Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
Screen / The Judge
Ode To Sleep
Addict With A Pen
Cancer (My Chemical Romance cover)
Holding On To You
Jump Around (House of Pain cover)
Guns For Hands
Tear In My Heart