By Poppy Tohill
Artist: Twenty One Pilots
Date / Venue: Monday April 18th, 2016 - Vector Arena, Auckland
Twenty One Pilots have clearly staked their claim in the music industry worldwide, continuing to grow in strength and popularity by the second.
Gracing fans with a compelling and intimate sold out show at Auckland’s Powerstation last year, their return to New Zealand shores this year was deservedly aided by a record sell out and demand to move the show to a bigger venue - that of course being the Vector Arena, where they treated their exceedingly loyal fan base to a remarkably unforgettable experience last night.
Young power pop group Openside, who opened for the Schizoid Pop duo at the Powerstation last year, returned to the stage as the support act once again, delivering an impressively strong and energetic set which included their recent hit singles, ‘Worth It’ and ‘Branches.’
As the time arrived for Twenty One Pilots to take the stage, the sheer excitement and energy levels of the audience skyrocketed as the lights faded to black and frontman Tyler Joseph’s signature microphone lowered from the ceiling, illuminating a soft red glow.
Moments later the electrifying hum of ‘Heavydirtysoul’ began as spotlights beamed down on drummer Josh Dunn who was positioned slightly to the left of the stage as Joseph claimed the centre stage limelight, his face concealed with his trademark skeleton mask.
The larger stage space allowed for greater visual aesthetics and production, which they utilised brilliantly. Backed by an impressive sized screen, an abundance of strobing lights, rocketing dry ice and of course the epic finale full of confetti.
The duo’s recent hit single ‘Stressed Out’ proved more than enough to get the mosh pit action started as a sea of hands flew into the air as the audience erupted, singing along word for word. Following on with ‘Guns For Hands’ and ‘Migraine’ from their second album ‘Vessels,’ the audience were seemingly just as happy to hear the old favourites as they were the new.
As Joseph disappeared off stage, Dunn had no trouble holding the audience’s attention on his own, before the frontman reappeared, exhibiting a quick costume change as he strolled toward the microphone, now dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and white sunglasses with a ukulele in hand, performing a brief snippet of ‘House Of Gold,’ before fully launching into ‘We Don’t Believe What’s On TV,’ before concluding the ukulele-friendly portion of the set with a moving rendition of Elvis’ ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ which the young crowd swiftly took in their stride.
When it came to the duo’s frequent call on the crowd for help, not one member of the audience needed to be asked twice, responding to every request and statement that came out of Joseph’s mouth with raucous applause and cheers.
Considerably less tired than they appeared at their Powerstation show last year, frontman Joseph also seemed to be in very chatty mood, stopping to talk to the audience after every few songs. “We know here in New Zealand most acts have come straight from Australia and they’re pretty tired because you’re the ones right at the end of their tour, so we want you to know that we came to you first. Because we wanted to see you before Australia. Can you also do us a favour and please have us back some time?” Joseph announced to an abundance of screams and promising cheers.
‘Blurryface’ hit ‘Ride’ proved drummer, Josh’s’ time to shine as a drum kit was passed out into the front of the crowd, who seconds later remained holding Dunn into the air as he let rip into a thrilling solo for an epic finale that admirably showed off his impressive rhythmic talent and skills, if not clearly made obvious before.
Investing every ounce of energy they had remaining into ‘Tear My Heart Out,’ ‘Car Radio,’ and encore favourites ‘Goner’ and ‘Trees,’ the performance of these four smash hits alone, answer any questions you might have about the level of success Twenty One Pilots have achieved recently.
Literally exuding passion, the amount of hard work these two have put into building their live show between their mind-blowing performance at the Powerstation last year, to the arena-worthy spectacle it is now, did not go a-miss, amazing everyone from the most die-hard of fans, to the bands newest fans and even their parents, a few whom I caught a glimpse of seemingly enjoying themselves in the mosh pit just as much as the youngsters.