Twenty One Pilots released their self-titled debut album in December 2009. Since then, the band has become a duo and has released two albums, “Regional at Best” in 2011 and “Vessel” in January 2013. Vessel was their first album that was released on a record label. They performed their first headline show Nov. 26 in Philadelphia at the Theatre of Living Arts with local Philadelphia station Radio 104.5 sponsoring the concert. The show sold out in minutes, and you could see the excitement on the audience’s faces long before the show started. Many fans donned face paint, ski masks and skeleton hoodies just as the band commonly does onstage and in videos. After a show that lasted roughly three hours, it is easy to see that this is just the beginning for the duo, comprised of singer and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun.
The night started off with a bang as Grammy award-winning rapper Sirah, best known for her work with Skrillex, opened the show with her hit song “Up & Down.” The concert only went up from there. After Sirah’s half-hour set, the band Smallpools performed. Smallpools formed early in 2013 and became a hit after its song “Dreaming” shot to the top of Hype Machine. Their set ended a little after 9 p.m., and by that time the building was filled to its capacity of 1,000, everyone ready to see Twenty One Pilots.
At 9:35, Radio 104.5 host Wendy Rollins came onstage to announce Twenty One Pilots and to talk about the band’s past shows in Philly, including last winter’s Radio 104.5 Winter Jam. As Rollins left the stage, the lights went off and the crowd was jumping and screaming with excitement. The noise in the crowd began to die down as a very digital and bass-heavy version of Twenty One Pilots’ song “Trees” began to blast through the speakers. It slowly transitioned into the beginning of the song “Fake You Out” as the band came onstage to a roaring audience. From that point until the end of the night, the liveliness never lessened.
Even though the show was very high-energy throughout, there were a few moments that shone above the rest. During the performance of the band’s biggest hit, “Holding On To You,” Joseph was being held in the air by the audience for the beginning of the song. Also during that song, opening act Sirah joined the stage to rap the second verse of the song. There were also a couple moments that their live shows are known for, such as Joseph jumping off the piano, Dun backflipping off the piano, and the duo playing a drum solo while being held in the air with their drums by the audience. However, the loudest moment of the night came during the band’s performance of the song “Time To Say Goodbye,” when every light in the building was turned off in the middle of the chorus, and Joseph screamed, “We sold this place out!” The audience went crazy.
There was one moment unique to this concert that will not be seen in any other city on this tour. Joseph took a moment between songs to thank 104.5 for its support and to announce that Twenty One Pilots will be headlining this year’s Winter Jam. Joseph said, “We opened last year; we headline this year. We’ll see you there.” The crowd went wild again.
Sirah told The Triangle, “Tyler is the best at [interacting with the crowd].” He showed that skill and more in his performance, which included many intimate moments speaking to the crowd. He addressed the crowd many times throughout the night, saying: “We’re trying to give you the best show we can. We see you, and if you guys weren’t here it would really suck. … I honestly wish I could play music with you guys forever. We’ve been traveling around the country, and for some reason Philly feels a little like home.” Joseph also talked about his relationship with his mother and what she thinks of the band’s music and live performances.
The rest of the show included the band’s hit songs “Car Radio,” “House Of Gold,” “Guns For Hands” and almost every other song from their newest album. On the last few tours, Twenty One Pilots has been promoting “Vessel” and only playing their newest songs. However, on this tour they have been playing more songs from their earlier albums, including the songs “Fall Away,” “Forest” and “Addict With A Pen.”
The duo performed the song “Trees” as an encore. The fans didn’t want the show to end, and 15 minutes after the band left the stage, there were still concertgoers sitting on the floor of the TLA waiting for more. Twenty One Pilots has started working on their next album, and it seems that only greater things are coming for the band.