A sold-out show at Festival Pier was Twenty One Pilots biggest Philadelphia show to date. After releasing three albums, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun began their sold-out, international tour of their 2015 album “Blurryface.” Although I felt “Blurryface” was a weak follow-up from the band’s 2013 album “Vessel,” I was not prepared for how much thought went into the duo’s show.
Opening for the “Schizoid Pop” group was California native band Finish Ticket and the sibling band Echosmith. Finish Ticket, having just released a new EP played a plethora of songs off of their first LP “Tears You Apart” before welcoming Echosmith, a band made popular by their songs “Cool Kid” and “Bright,” to the stage.
The set change between the openers and Twenty One Pilots took a long time, and it’s a good thing too. I’ve been to Festival Pier several times and I have never seen the venue as packed as I did on September 11. The long set change was warranted, as giant LED screens were wheeled on the stage. I realized, however, that Festival Pier was not a good venue for a band this popular, as the LED screens were honestly all I could see.
Though I couldn’t see the band, Twenty One Pilots came out to perform the song that kicks off “Blurryface.” After a percussion heavy intro, the show began as the duo plays “Heavydirtysoul.” The only major difference between the studio version of the song and the live version was the number of young, angsty teenagers singing along to the lyric “can you save my heavy dirty soul?” Blinding bright lights shot from the top of the stage and LED screens, blinding me and making my head pound to the rhythm of the song. It was honestly pretty cool looking back, but at the time, I was not really enjoying myself.
Flowing along into the next song, the audience began to sing along “Stressed Out.” The one part that stood out most about this song was the audience chanting, “My name’s blurryface and I care what you think.” It’s a pretty stupid lyric, but it sounds even stupider when an audience full of prepubescent fans start shouting it.
It felt like forever, but eventually the band started to play songs from the album that made me fall in love with them in the first place. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like the entire audience was more excited to hear songs from “Vessel” rather than the redundant tunes from “Blurryface.” Twenty One Pilots played through the scenic single “Guns for Hands” and the mighty melody of “Migraine” before playing one more song from “Blurryface.”
The first song I ever heard from Twenty One Pilots was “House of Gold,” and although its style is nothing like their other songs, I was in love with it the first time I heard it. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to hear it played. Unfortunately, the band only played through one verse and one chorus of the song before transitioning into yet another “Blurryface” song entitled “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV.” It’s a good song, but “House of Gold” is way better. This began the part of the show when I actually enjoyed being there.
“House of Gold” transitioned into “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV,” which transitioned into Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” which transitioned into Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” It was pretty cool, and really won me over after the pathetic start. The band played another favorite of mine, “The Judge,” and then a weird voice started speaking. I couldn’t hear what was said, but I heard the word temptation and then “Lane Boy” was played before the band continued onto the coolest part of the show.
A band like Twenty One Pilots has a lot of songs and therefore a lot of fan favorites. Many fans often go to shows and don’t get to hear their favorite songs. Twenty One Pilots worked hard to create a medley of six songs that pieced together almost perfectly. “The Pantaloon,” “Semi-Automatic,” “Screen” and “Ode to Sleep” were just a few of the songs that the band put together. Trust me, the whole crowd went ballistic and sang along with nearly every song they could. I wish more bands did stuff like this because it was stellar.
The band continued playing songs from the new album, but finished the show with the band’s two most popular singles: “Tear in My Heart” and “Car Radio.” The crowd was filled with energy at this point, so how could the band go on without an encore?
It’s almost redundant to call it an encore when the band plans to play an encore. Somewhere between playing “Goner,” one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard, and “Trees,” the band shot out tons of confetti. Once the confetti was in the air, the whole crowd moshed toward the stage for whatever reason, ending what I would call a surprisingly good concert.