Last night, Wembley Arena was packed, loud, and enchanted by Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun’s flaming entrance. Both balaclava-clad, the Ohio-born duo knew exactly how to amaze their fans. A real car catching real fire dominated the stage; Tyler squatting on it, his arm stretched towards the audience, singing and shouting to the hard rock notes of Jumpsuit, the first single from 2018's album Trench. After a year-long hiatus, Twenty One Pilots flaunt a new, bright yellow look and explosive energy.
Following a fast-paced execution of "Levitate", the fan-favourite dark hip-hop track "Fairly Local" ended with a teleportation twist. After letting himself fall into a strategically placed hole on the main stage, Tyler magically appeared on the opposite side of the arena, finally revealing himself without the iconic balaclava. The crowd loved every minute of the elaborate tricks and stunts. As the duo performed chart-hitting "Stressed Out" and "Heathens", the audience shouted along to the choruses and the tongue-twisting rap verses. The band’s Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses did not contain their fans’ tears during a refreshingly simple ukulele execution of "We Don't Believe What's on TV" and "The Judge", two alternative staples of the Blurryface era.
Despite the thundering reception of older songs, Twenty One Pilots are all about rebirth and spectacle on this yellow-tinged tour. Tyler’s vertiginous transition to the more intimate B-stage was the definition of spectacular. Suspended on a platform, the frontman walked above the audience, rapping to the psychedelic beats of "Nico and The Niners".
“Josh let me use the cool platform because I’m the lead singer”, he said, as the drummer jumped off the stage and fist bumped the crowd on his less-glamourous walk to the B-stage. After a three-song set dedicated to their fathers, the duo ran back to the main stage and charmed the crowd with the heart-breaking lyrics of "Holding Onto You" and "Ride" while performing an acrobatic choreography. The concert’s culmination was signalled by Tyler’s emotionally-charged scream “And now I just sit in silence” at the end of "Car Radio", which encapsulated Twenty One Pilot’s angsty essence.
While Tyler and Josh are incredible performers, there is something more to the band that goes beyond their stage presence, alternative background and chart-worthy tunes. Their songs are dark. Teen rebellion, suburban loneliness, heartbreak, and mental illness are recurring motifs throughout their discography. Tyler sings of mundane pain, with its familiar complexities and ironies, but with a dark-and-troubled charisma that is universally magnetic—the dramatically diverse age range of the audience proving this. Children, adults, teenagers: the varied assortment of people singing along to the duo’s bleak-yet-catchy lyrics was nowhere as surprising as their dedication. Fluorescent yellow tape was tightly wrapped around black and camo outfits, yellow hats jumped up and down to Josh’s captivating drum beats, banners read “Thank yøu” and “Yøu saved my life”.
On their first London date, Twenty One Pilots were irresistible, and their spellbound fans were not disappointed.