• Review

Review: Twenty One Pilots at Nationwide Arena

Twenty One Pilots may just be the biggest band in Ohio, as evidenced by their ability to sell out all major venues in Columbus every time they come to town. In 2017, they played four nights in a row, selling out each event at the Basement, Newport, Express Live and the Schottenstein Center. On the first night of the band’s 18’-19’ Bandito tour, a front row fan was seen holding a cardboard sign that read “I camped for 9 days for this.” A second event was added to the end of the Bandito tour due to the high demand from Ohioan TOP fans to see Tyler and Josh take the stage once again in their hometown. A pop-up merch shop called “Ned’s Bayou” opened this weekend on High Street in Columbus, solely operating between the dates of June 28th-30th; each day, fans lined up around the block trying to get their hands on exclusive merch. Ned is the creature in the band’s newest music video for “Chlorine” and his likeness is plastered all over this limited merch. Ned even has his own exclusive Funko Pop Vinyl figure which will surely be sold on eBay at very high prices once released.

The TOP show continues to evolve, becoming better and more elaborate with every new album cycle. Their newest album, Trench features some of their best songs yet, such as “Jumpsuit,” “Chlorine,” and “Nico and the Niners.” The setlist was a perfect blend of songs from all three of the band’s albums: Trench, Vessel, and Blurry Face. Fans showed equal enthusiasm with each song played last night, which was seemingly a testament to the success of each album. The show opened with “Jumpsuit” and featured Tyler Joseph passionately rapping while wearing a ski mask on top of a burning destroyed car, which appeared to be a replica from the song’s music video. Josh Dunn’s drums were mounted onto a mobile platform which elevated him high above the crowd during crucial moments. One of the most striking stage elements was a giant walkway that lowered from the ceiling, allowing both Tyler and Josh to walk over the crowd to a secondary stage on the opposite side of the floor. Tyler pulled off some David Copperfield-level magic tricks during the setlist; at one point, he jumped down into a hole in the floor and ‘teleported’ almost instantly to the other side of the stadium to stand amongst adoring fans. It’s these smoke-and-mirrors moments that make a TOP show one of the most entertaining live music experiences I’ve witnessed to date. The old staples of Tyler and Josh’s showmanship are still there, like Josh’s signature backflip off of the piano and drum solo played on a floating platform held up by fans in the pit.

Twenty One Pilots have created their own musical cult of sorts in Ohio called the “Few, Proud and Emotional.” The FPE family showed up in full force, all wearing the TOP uniform of dark clothing covered in yellow tape. There were many ‘first concert’ attendees in the crowd, as well as many dedicated fans faithfully singing each word to every song. Not a single person left the show early, the entire stadium was completely engaged for the two full hours of music. It was made clear last night that there is a very special place in the hearts of this FPE family for hometown heroes Twenty One Pilots.