The dynamic two-piece band known as Twenty One Pilots may be difficult to categorize into a genre. Alternative hip-hop. Rock. Schizophrenic pop. Perhaps this may be why their unusual sound and distinctive stage presence culminated into a string of sold out arena shows during their Emotional Roadshow World Tour. Their February 3 date at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, aptly named the “Air Capital of the World,” was no different.
The band, comprised of vocalist/pianist/bassist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, attracted fans ranging from animated parents to teenagers wearing red hats and dark eyeliner. The evening performance was considered an all day affair for some, as those who preferred the pit began waiting in line as early as 7 a.m.
Joseph and Dun first won the crowd’s attention with a magic trick that even Houdini would praise. As the final piano notes played off during “Hometown,” a stagehand placed a black tarp over Joseph and the lights were cut. Suddenly, a spotlight relit the upper bowl of the arena and he reappeared to a roaring applause.
The duo then tore through hit after hit during their zealous two-hour set. “Heathens” and “Car Radio” explored the emotions of trust and isolationism, while “Stressed Out” and “Heavydirtysoul” hearken back to childhood memories while searching for an answer to everyday struggles. Openers Judah & the Lion and Jon Bellion also rejoined the show for a medley of ‘90s Top 40 covers including “Jump Around,” ”Tubthumping” and “No Diggity.”
Other crowd pleasers included Dun atop a drum set that was propped up by attendees in the pit, Joseph climbing a cherry picker to perform for those in the back, multiple costume changes and a dancing lobster. However, the highlight of the night came towards the end of the set, when Joseph ascended into an inflatable hamster ball and crowd surfed over the pit. What else would you expect from a duo who accepted their first Grammy award in their underwear?
Joseph then ended the performance with a callback to their early years in “Trees” and told the crowd to expect them back with new material. Based on vigor alone, their invitation would be accepted twenty one times over.
Photo and Review By: Chris Ruder