1. Massive crowd sing-alongs
Twenty One Pilots fans are absolutely die-hard. At shows it seems like each person in attendance knows every lyric of every song. Hearing thousands of voices singing in unison leaves you awestruck. It’s really inspiring when the lyrics created by one person positively affect so many people. All in all, the “Skeleton Clique” is dedicated and loves this band to death.
2. Unique theatrical appearance
It seems every show Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are wearing different masks. Ranging from skeletons, alien faces and, of course, their classic ski masks, they take them on and off throughout the set at seemingly random points. On top of these, during the Blurryface tour cycle, Joseph sometimes donned black paint on his hands and neck (to show the alter-ego “Blurryface,” origin of all self-loathing and insecurity) and wore a red beanie and socks. Dun, on the other hand, has his hair dyed red and red eye makeup. They are not afraid to try new appearances and it’ll be interesting to see how their looks will evolve tour after tour.
The duo knows how to play their fair share of instruments. During a show you’ll probably see keyboards, bass, ukulele, drums, trumpet, tambourine, etc. Even though a bunch of sounds and vocals are tracked, it is still incredibly impressive with how much music can come out of two individuals.
4. Stage setup
Most bands obviously tend to have a drummer in the back center of a stage, but Twenty One Pilots choose to have Dun’s kit off to the side, with Joseph’s signature piano placed opposite it, putting both members of the band on equal footing. In addition, they have lately included an extra platform in the center of the stage placed underneath a suspended, lit up microphone which has been used on songs such as “Heavydirtysoul.”
5. New and old songs in the setlist
From a musician’s perspective, it probably gets really dull to play the same songs over and over—but Twenty One Pilots never seem to get bored. Their setlists tend to be filled with equal parts Blurryface (2015) and Vessel (2013). They understand their concert attendees want to see the huge radio hits, but that they also love seeing an older song. If you’re lucky, you might even catch some tracks from their (no longer circulated!) early releases, Regional At Best and Twenty One Pilots.
With 21P’s recent radio success comes a serious upgrade in production. Get prepared to be blasted with strobes, the Blurryface visuals, flashy screen backdrops and pretty much anything else they can fit on or behind the stage. It’s not only about the music anymore—it’s about the entire experience.
7. Crazy antics
Every pit attendee lives for the moment a band member makes a foray into the crowd. Bands like D.R.U.G.S. and New Politics are known for getting frisky out in the sea of GA, but Twenty One take it to a whole new level. Usually during “Holding Onto You,” Joseph will stand on the hands of the crowd as the song begins (before heading back to the stage for some acrobatics). As if that wasn’t enough, during “Trees” two platforms are pushed into the crowd, so Joseph and Dun can play dueling drum solos. These are just two standout moments on top of backflips, lots of jumping (band and crowd alike) plus Joseph’s impressive stage-climbing.
8. Openers are always worth seeing
If you’re worried about the price of your ticket, fear not—you’re getting way more than just a headliner. Twenty One have made an excellent habit of booking phenomenal opening acts for their tours—even when they’re a bit outside our genre. Past support has included Echosmith, Misterwives, Vinyl Theatre and Finish Ticket—so show up early and jam!
9. Cover songs
With the rise of Punk Goes… and entire cover albums, it’s easy to get cynical about bands doing remakes of every semi-popular song. But how often can a band cover songs originally by Bob Marley, Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and even Elvis, all while maintaining their sound and improving upon the original? We’ll go with pretty much never. Well done, boys.