For a band like Twenty One Pilots, a trip to London usually means a stop at the Forest City’s bigger brother in the UK, but not this week. The popular hip hop, reggae, dub, electronic, pop, punk duo made their debut at London’s Budweiser Gardens for a capacity crowd on Monday night (May 20). For fans, this meant pyro, smoke, special effects and performances all over the arena.
Opening with drummer Josh Dun crisscrossing the stage in a bandit mask while carrying a flaming torch, the extremely popular duo quickly kicked into the show opener Jumpsuit from their latest album, 2018’s Trench. Frontman Tyler Joseph entered the arena in a ski mask, rising from the stage atop a burning car. It was a dark and very dramatic opening and a sign of the new wave of arena rock shows that we’re going to see moving forward. They kept their masks on as they tore through Levitate, also from their latest album, right before Tyler appeared, almost magically, high above the crowd in the press box to sing Fairly Local.
This is the point when things got a little different from a traditional rock concert. instead of saving their biggest chart-topping hits for encores, the duo ripped through both Stressed Out and Heathens early in the show. The energy was electric both on stage and in the crowd as thousands sang along to the radio friendly hits.
One thing of note is that Twenty One Pilots appear to be the future of arena rock. As a duo with no guitar, it seems a rather odd choice to be the current kings of modern arena rock, but they clearly are. The placed was packed with mostly young teenage girls and a few punk rocker dudes and they loved every minute of the long 23-song set.
Along with the opening flames, Twenty One Pilots brought out giant pulses of smoke, a massive light show and the largest video screen I’ve ever seen at a concert (which was surrounded by two smaller, but still large, screens on each side). There was also an overhead catwalk and a second stage that the band used for four songs in the middle of the show, .
You have to admit that there was a lot of happy youthful energy in the venue. The band was in great spirits and the fans were absolutely lovin’ every bit of it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this show, but it was a pretty big deal. Josh and Tyler are two of the hardest working musicians I’ve ever seen. Tyler was most outstanding for his massive jumps, endless energy and strong vocals.
I’ve seen the future and that future is Twenty One Pilots.
Opening the show was New York indie rockers Bear Hands. The four-piece unit was solid throughout their nine-song set. Vocalist Dylan Rau has a great voice and one hell of a man bun. They’re certainly a band I’d love to see on a headlining show at one of the nightclubs here in town.
All photos by Dan Savoie
Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots
May 20, 2019
- Fairly Local
- Stressed Out
- We Don’t Believe What’s on TV
- The Hype
- Lane Boy
- Nico and the Niners
- Neon Gravestones
- Pet Cheetah
- Holding on to You
- Cut My Lip
- My Blood
- Car Radio
- Leave the City
- Back Seat Driver (Spirit Guide)
- Bone Digger
- Ride Back
- Mr. Radioactive
- Blue Lips