By Poppy Tohill
Artist: Twenty One Pilots
Date / Venue: Thursday July 9th, 2015 - The Powerstation, Auckland
The cold weather certainly didn't keep any Twenty One Pilots fans away last night as hundreds braved the wind and made their way to the Powerstation, lining up down the street to ensure they were one of the first inside the venue to claim the best spot for the sold out show. Already decked out in bands merchandise, it was very clear they have an extremely large and loyal New Zealand following, some fans going as far as painting their hands black, which signifies the duo's trademark metaphor of ‘Blurryface' (as their latest album is called) relating to suffocation from stress.
It sure did seem a stress-free and beyond enjoyable experience for all who attended however.
Young power pop group Openside got the ball rolling nicely, warming up the crowd with infectious, dance-worthy, feel good tunes before Twenty One Pilots took to the stage.
Decked out in his usual attire, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and Twenty One Pilots front-man, Tyler Josephbounded onto the stage with not only his hands and neck concealed by black paint, but his face also hidden by a skull mask underneath a black hood. Not only were their outfits authentic and true to the Twenty One Pilots we know, but that microphone you see hanging down from the roof in so many of the bands live music videos, was sure enough hanging from the ceiling, centre stage, lit by a single white light at the very end, almost resembling a simple light bulb.
Erupting as the duo kicked things off with the energetic ‘Heavydirtysoul' from their latest album ‘Blurryface,' it was only a matter of seconds before the entire crowd were jumping up and down, singing word for word, as Joseph paraded around the stage from microphone to microphone adding a touch of tambourine to the track here and there for good measure.
The hood and mask came off for ‘Stressed Out,' the first hit single off their latest record and definite crowd favourite. Revealing in its place, Joseph's trademark red beanie, another poignant and recognisable feature of his musical persona and character.
Despite only a duo, Tyler and drummer Josh Dun know how to own the entire stage. With beyond exceptional lighting, production and sound that is almost bigger than some five-piece bands, there's just no underestimating their passion and energy levels, which both the audience and themselves alike, so obviously thrived on.
"AUCKLAND!" Joseph shouted before launching into crowd favourites ‘Guns For Hands' and ‘Migraine' from their 2013 album ‘Vessel.' Jumping on top of speakers, risers and even his piano at times, the crowd managed to keep up with his antics, as they joined in the fun, dancing, clapping and screaming along with their arms in the air for the majority of the night.
"We doing alright?" Joseph asked the crowd as he reappeared on stage, wearing white sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt with a ukulele in hand, helping the audience forget, just for a moment that it's actually winter. Asking the crowd for help with this next one, it didn't take long before the duo were happy with the crowds ‘yeah yeah yeah' practice, launching into the first verse of the popular ‘House of Gold,' before transiting into the just as happy, upbeat and dance-worthy ‘We Don't Believe What's on TV.'
By the time the duo got to playing ‘Lane Boy,' another crowd favourite from their most recent record, the crowd were more than warmed up and rearing to go. Asking everyone to get down as low as they could, Joseph had the audience in the palm of his hands as not one person disobeyed his request, crouching to the ground in complete unison. "Okay you have to wait for the exact moment, when I get to three you're going to jump up as high as you can, alright?" he instructed.
So then on the count of three you can imagine what the noise level was like, as everyone leapt two feet into the air, waving their hands about, screaming and singing along in excitement as the strobe-lights joined in on the party whizzing around the room like they were on some high of their own.
‘Holding Onto You,' was the definite highlight of the night for I'm sure many, as we saw Dun join Joseph stand on top of the piano for a short moment before back flipping off and then returning to his drum kit to perform the rest of the song. Some crowd surfing was also on the cards for Joseph as he stood, held up by the crowd for the last verse of the song.
Thriving from the energy and adoration of their loving fans, it was clear the boys were putting everything they possibly had and more into the performance of each song as the night continued.
Bob Marley & The Wailers, ‘No Woman, No Cry,' was the only cover on the set list for the night, perfectly lending itself to a great transition into ‘Ride.'
A tease of ‘The Run & Go' intro got the crowd fired up even more as the crowd began belting out the ‘da,da,da' hook line of the song to prove they were more than ready for the hit. Satisfied the crowd knew what they were doing, the duo launched into the song in full swing. "Now, I want everyone to find a partner" Joseph announced halfway through the song as Dun kept the rhythm going. "Then when I say get up, everyone has to get up onto their partners shoulders alright?" he continued.
Again the crowd didn't need to be asked twice, excitedly getting ready to jump on the shoulders of whoever was next to them. By the end of the song, the majority of the audience were arms in the air, on someone's shoulders or standing on the surrounding couches, happily screaming and singing along at the top of their lungs.
‘Tear In My Heart' another favourite was the perfect build up to their epic finale with hit single ‘Car Radio,'which saw Joseph make his way to the top balcony where he finished off the song standing on a table surrounded by appreciative fans.
Interacting with the crowd and even the security guards, Joseph was making new friends left right and centre, one of these being his new security guard friend he introduced to the audience as "Mr Coconut."
"Alright, here's what is going to happen," Joseph beckoned. "We're going to play one more song and then wave goodbye and leave and we won't come back until my friend Mr Coconut here comes on stage and starts a "one more song" chant."
As soon as ‘Car Radio' drew to an end, Mr Coconut didn't even have the chance to get on stage before the audience began the ‘one more song' chant themselves, but sticking to the bands request, Tyler and Josh reappeared once ‘Mr Coconut,' the good sort he was, took to the stage and joined in the chant.
"You wanted one more, so I don't want you to waste a second of this," Joseph yelled, running back onto the stage, launching into an exceptionally energetic and unforgettable performance of ‘Trees.' Finishing the show in style, the duo showed the crowd what true crowd surfing looks like, sending two boogie boards and bass drums into the audience, where they proceeded to stand on the boards and finish the song, side by side, banging along on the drums, while the audience essentially held them up amidst the dancing, screaming and overall excitement.
Twenty One Pilots fans were sure treated to all sorts of surprises throughout the night, resulting in a top notch evening I'm sure most won't be forgetting about any time soon. It was a phenomenon like I've never seen before and comes down to the fact that Twenty One Pilots themselves, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun as musical creatives are truly phenomenal at their craft and deserved more than anything the sold out crowd and response they indefinitely received.