Concert Review: Fairly Local: Twenty One Pilots Take The Adelaide Entertainment Centre By Storm!
Nothing in the world can compare to the emotions that you will feel while attending a Twenty One Pilots concert.
I’ve struggled to put this experience into words, but I had to write it down because I want you to know that if you ever have the opportunity to see Twenty One Pilots perform live, you need to take it EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The experience starts way before doors open, in the line outside of the venue. It’s a Wednesday, a cold day in Adelaide and fans have been camping outside since Monday night.
There are tents, cushions, sleeping bags, folding chairs and remnants of snacks and takeaway containers everywhere. People are playing music on portable speakers and singing along, while applying makeup and body paint, and getting ready for a show that is still hours away. People have created artwork and banners and pass the time by walking around the venue, making new friends and getting others in line to sign them.
From the second the lights go down, you just KNOW that you’re about to experience something special and something that you will remember for the rest of your life.
On the black curtain covering the stage, three dots appear. Then six. Then nine and the cover of the Blurryface album is shown, before morphing into a single red dot, and fading away. A red and white face then appears, which raps a verse from “Fairly Local”, the crowd singing along in unison.
The curtain drops and the crowd erupts into screams because Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are right there, in front of their very own eyes. All of the time spent waiting in line and counting down to the concert, has all been for this moment, right here.
Josh’s “Fairly Local” drum beat transitions seamlessly into the intro to “Heavydirtysoul” as Tyler’s lit microphone is slowly lowered from the ceiling. He raps the first verse with ease before launching into the chorus. His dramatic ‘death drop’, a stunt that he has now perfected is something to behold. After slowly picking himself back up off the floor, he lets the crowd sing a chorus before ending the song energetically jumping around the stage and screaming into the microphone.
The lights go down again and slowly return, showing Tyler seated behind his piano, bathed in a beautiful blue light. He plays a lovely soft intro to “Migraine” before jumping up and walking to the front of the stage, and asking “is there anybody out there”? He stands on a platform, the mic in his outstretched hand and the crowd sings the first part of the song for him. I can’t even imagine what that must feel like as an artist, to have an arena full of people singing your own lyrics back to you, so loudly that it’s almost deafening.
We return to darkness again, before a video of Josh travelling in a car is played on the big screen, with the voice of his insecurities haunting him, saying “don’t go, don’t go back on stage”. Luckily he defeats his fears and appears back on the stage behind his drum kit. Tyler, bass guitar in hand, dances around the stage and they launch into “Message Man”, the crowd chanting “hey, hey, hey, hey!”
Next up is “Heathens” and it starts off with the beautiful lullaby version of the song as featured in the TOPXMM sessions (it was so beautiful, it gave me goose bumps), before launching into the original version that we all know and love as featured on the “Suicide Squad” soundtrack. Josh’s hair seemed to glow in the dark throughout this song, due to the lighting.
As a side note, I have to say that the visual and lighting effects throughout the entire show were spectacular and really added to the atmosphere and made the songs come to life.
After a brief verse of “House of Gold” and during the intro to “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV”, Tyler addresses the crowd for the first time. He asks “How you doing so far, you doing ok?”
After a resounding cheer from the crowd, he continues, “Who here, it’s your first time seeing us play live? Welcome to the emotional roadshow, I want you to know that we’re going to give you everything that we have tonight, I very much promise that. We’re going to work very hard for you because we feel like you deserve it.” He then went on to add, “now, I don’t feel like we deserve very much, not even the fact everybody around the bowl, in the seated section, you don’t have to stand, that’s ok, I understand. But what I like to do, is I like to view this as a challenge. If I can get you to stand at some point during this set, we will have succeeded. I know you’re singing, I know you’re moving and you’re just as involved as everybody down here, but my people in the pit are going to put on a show for you. So let’s get things warmed up, when I say ‘one, two, three’, I need you to say ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’”.
Tyler then performs a hauntingly beautiful cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. The crowd sings along loudly and I’m convinced that there is not a dry eye in the entire venue. To follow this (because we weren’t emotional enough already) they perform a mash up of “Screen” and “The Judge”, which comes together nicely. To finish, Tyler sings “We’re broken people”, a lyric that, when you really think about it, is pretty dark and heavy and yet very relatable to so many of us. The way that this band can turn something like that into an arena full of people coming together and singing along is something really special.
“Lane Boy” is played next to pump the crowd back up and, and boy, does it do the trick. Tyler gets the crowd to get down as low as they can, before jumping back up and going crazy when the beat drops. Pyrotechnic Jets shoot streams of CO2 into the air and two guys in hazmat suits (fame & success) run around the stage spraying the crowd and each other. There is a lot happening at once, but it feels like a party, and one that I never want to end.
A video of the boys changing a tire on their tour van from 2011 plays while Tyler and Josh make their way to the B stage for their next few songs. It really shows how far they have come, from playing to tiny crowds at outdoor functions and small venues, to playing sold out arenas, night after night.
On the B stage, they play “Ode to Sleep”, “Addict with a Pen” and their cover of “Cancer”, originally by My Chemical Romance. “Addict” and “Cancer” really show off Tyler’s amazing vocal range and ability, and once again, the entire venue is an emotional wreck.
Back on the main stage, Josh has an epic drum battle with….himself. His drumming is energetic, intense and quite impressive. ‘Real’ Josh wins the battle of course, beating virtual Josh so badly that his head literally explodes.
Tyler addresses the crowd, while playing the intro to closing song “Trees”.
Tyler sings the opening lyrics. It’s the beginning of the end of the show.
Trees is such a special and important song on its own. But seeing it performed live at the end of the set is a completely different experience entirely. They’ve managed to take a song about being lost and searching for something, and feeling so alone in the world into a celebration of life and music, played in sold out arenas, in front of thousands of people.
For the conclusion of the song, both Tyler and Josh make their way into the crowd for one last performance. Supported by their crew, they are lifted onto small platforms that are held up by fans in the pit. They survey the crowd, before looking at each other, grinning, and banging their drums as hard as they can, while red confetti rains down from the ceiling. It’s magical. The word ‘Euphoria’ comes to mind.
Back on stage, there are deafening cheers and applause from the crowd. Tyler and Josh are humble and can’t wipe the smiles off their faces. They take a bow, and after raising their hands in the Twenty One Pilots logo, Tyler says “we’re Twenty One Pilots and so are you. We’ll see you next time, peace”. And then, just like that they’re gone.
Someone just sweep me up off the floor with the leftover confetti please, because I’m a mess.
Until next time.
Fairly Local / Heavydirtysoul
Josh Bumper Video (don’t go back on stage)
House of Gold / We Don’t Believe What’s on TV
Can’t Help Falling in Love (cover)
Screen / The Judge mashup
History Bumper Video (2011)
Ode to Sleep
Addict With a Pen
Drum Battle Bumper Video
Holding onto You
Jump Around (cover)
Guns For Hands
Tear in my Heart
Venue: Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Review and photos by: Amber Eccles