LIVE REVIEW: Twenty One Pilots – Nashville, TN – 9/21/14

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“Greetings,” said a disembodied voice with a british accent and a tone that suggested the person speaking is very wise. The stage was dark and the only light source was a single lightbulb isolated in the center of the back wall. The voice continued to speak and as it did the lightbulb would light up on every syllable, as if it were an entity itself. “My name is Nigel and I will be your host this evening.”

The sold out show in Nashville, TN. was about to start and to say the crowd’s patience was wearing thin is an understatement. During stage set-up people started whistling and shouting when Josh Dun’s SJC drum kit was uncovered. “And now, without further ado, I present to you, Twenty One Pilots,” and just like that all that had once been bottled up had now been released with many loud screams.

Tyler Joseph jumped up onto his piano and looked out into the crowd keeping his face behind a skeleton mask hoodie. Josh perched himself behind his drum kit dressed in the same attire as his band mate and then the two of them launched into their song “Guns For Hands.” It is needless to say that the band is extremely talented both musically and lyrically, but I was also impressed with the crowd and how they held their own against Tyler’s tongue twisters and abstract lyrics. When Tyler started singing “Migraine,” the crowd sang it with such confidence you would think they wrote it themselves.

The band had a few curve-balls for us that night as well. Nigel made himself present again about halfway through the show to talk to Tyler. The two of them discussed music and Tyler asked if he liked what he was hearing. Nigel replied with a, “Well, It’s not really what I listened to back in the day.” Tyler said that they would love to play some songs that he likes, all he had to do was ask. Nigel’s answer was not what we expected, but the band obliged and promptly began to play “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled, “I Woke Up In A New Bugatti” by Ace Hood, and to top it off, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley. The last surprise cover the band pulled out of their sleeve was “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Ray, the band’s way of saying, “it is almost time to go.”

It was nearly the end of the show before “Car Radio” was played and it was a magical moment for the band and for all of us. Josh beat the drums with such intensity and passion that I couldn’t look away. Before anyone realized he was gone — or even stopped singing, Tyler’s voice suddenly came through the microphone and said, “Turn around.” In unison the crowd turned to face the back of the venue where Tyler was perched atop what I can only describe as a single lighting rig with a flat surface to stand on. He stood maybe 30 feet in the air with one arm raised up high and everyone followed suit. The crowd was an orchestra and he was the conductor. On his cue everyone started throwing their arms up and down and screaming, “And now I just sit in silence!” I’ve never seen a crowd move as one so perfectly before.

One of my favorite things about this band is their chemistry on stage. To put it simply, they are two creative geniuses and best friends who make music together that saves lives. They feed off of each other and that’s what makes their shows so exciting, cause you never know what to expect. It’s bands like Twenty One Pilots and nights like that night that make me fall in love with music all over again.