What started as a series DIY laptop recording sessions in a busy London share house …
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
14 December 2018
Is it surprising that Drapht has a raft of empty seats surrounding him? So many kids are still outside milling about, snaking around a merch desk that’s handing out yellow bandanas at a frenzied rate. We actually mean kids in the literal sense too; the boundless energy of teenagers and the lower end of primary school kids are bursting with first concert joy. He does an admirable job with “oh yeah that one” tracks like Sing It (The Life of Riley) and Rapunzel, but it’s only the front of the mosh that want to get involved. With a stage that big, we’re pretty sure that Drapht is just happy to have a chance at running around and building hype.
Twenty One Pilots have scored accolades from the Tumblr crowd, but it’s hard to imagine anyone without shivers down their spine as drummer Josh Dun stands on stage alone with a lit torch in full Bandido gear. From then on, the duo seamlessly transition from their earnest roots to the full-blown production that brought them to arenas thousands of miles from home.
A burst of flame on a burnt out car and Tyler Joseph sits astride. The show is meticulously planned, with Joseph moving around as fire rises up beside where he sat moments ago. What an absolute rip into Jumpsuit to kick off the show though; Twenty One Pilots saw their chance to break back into the public consciousness with that riff and they make no bones about pretending. That planning we mentioned? How about Joseph sitting at the piano, a blanket comes over the top and surely he’s gone off for a quick costume change. Nope, in what seems like seconds he’s teleported to the west of the venue at the very peak of Rod Laver and the fans go mental. He rips his mask off, proving that he’s actually made it and the pitch goes into overdrive.
Twenty One Pilots saw their chance to break back into the public consciousness with that riff and they make no bones about pretending.
Punctuating their eras with bold and bright colours, it’s a smart way to let the dedicated few know that their favourite album is about to find itself front and centre. Heathens gets the characteristic Suicide Squad green and purple, The Judge finds an audience bathed in red. It’s amazing that a band with this much quirk and ability to blur the line between crowd pleasing hit and deepest corner of the internet bedroom experiment can find a platform with booming speakers. Rolling from Nico And The Niners all the way back to Taxi Cab shows a lot of love for fans of all shades. Need a club banger? Pet Cheetah has the eccy-driven shape throwing covered. Then Holding On To You provides the breezy comedown. Personality is core to the Twenty One Pilots brand and for two people, they manage to make the whole room feel like an intimate ‘they’ve got the spark’ feeling. Probably helps that Dun levitates over the crowd on a platform and beats the hell out of his crash for good measure.
As beams of light filter overhead, it hardly feels like two hours have passed with the breakneck speed that the duo hammer through their set. Even the pauses of acoustic moments and stage banter hum along rather than causing a moment to stagnate. Plus Joseph making his way right to the back of the stadium and singing atop a risen pole within metres of Hysteria is a treat for the ages. Again, this is just two young men who are captivating an entire arena and they can do it from opposite ends of the venue. Closing with Leave The City and Trees, Joseph and Dun recreate their most famous of gimmicks. We saw them at the Corner Hotel three and a half years ago, almost struggling to find hands to support their weight on top of boards. Now their toms, laced with yellow powder are held sturdy as the first pound sees granules fly and an avalanche of yellow confetti rain down.
This is just two young men who are captivating an entire arena and they can do it from opposite ends of the venue.
As we walk out, two girls who can’t possibly have been alive when Twenty One Pilots formed excitedly gibber about how if the band come back next year, they have to be front row. With a show full of moments that could forever be imprinted on a young kids’ (and parents who’ve long-suffered/secretly enjoyed car trip sing-alongs) mind, how can that be anything less than phenomenal?//
Twenty One Pilots Bandito Tour Remaining Dates
Sunday, 16 December // Qudos Bank Arena // Sydney
Tuesday, 18 December // Brisbane Entertainment Centre // Brisbane
Tickets still available, from Live Nation here.