Twenty One Pilots lead singer Tyler Joseph, 33, went out of his way to thank many people who made Saturday night’s show at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte the successful show that it was.
There were the obvious ones, like his teammate and drummer Josh Dun; and, of course, Todd Gummerman, Dan Geraghty, Jesse Blum and Skyler Acord, the four guys who put together their live backing band for the many songs that needed a fuller sound than only the two founding members could produce on their own.
There were the backstage people, like “Russ” and “Dave” from the team; like that random arena staffer who was captured on camera and shown on the big screen taking a punch from a grinning Dun; and like lighting director Tyler “Shap” Shapard (who – somewhat heavily – was called out by Joseph as having “messed up three times”, then booed at Joseph’s request, only for the singer to chuckle and admit: “I made it up . . . In fact, he killed it tonight.”
And there were, of course, the more than 13,000 fans who backed Joseph on vocals all night while frequently taking the lead, collectively singing full verses to songs ranging from the jazzy hit “Morph” to “House of Gold.” “Car Radio” infused Americana to banger rap-rock.
But there was also an unsung and unnamed hero, or possibly several, who did yeoman work that provided Twenty One Pilots with some of the night’s most jaw-dropping moments.
So I’m going to say it, since Joseph didn’t: thank you, whoever you are, for always having that big TØP mattress where it belonged.
He was there to catch Joseph when – after performing new single ‘No Chances’ in their familiar full-face masks, Joseph fitted with a mechanism that spurted smoke from his eye sockets – the singer stripped off his headgear to the screams fans. .. then did a flying stack pilot jump off the stage.
He emerged an hour into the show, when Joseph needed his ukulele for a “campfire-style” mini-set with the whole band, but realized he had “accidentally” forgotten about it. instrument on a small stage towards the back of the floor. section, where he had used it a few minutes earlier.
“Would you be so kind as to surf it for me?” he asked the crowd in the GA section. There, suddenly, was the mattress, on which the ukelele was placed. A collection of stiff, straight arms then began to guide him through the 90 feet of ground. “If you drop her, this show is over,” joked Joseph, as Blum played the accordion.
Joseph then overcame that by doing a dive face plant on the mattress and taking a lap around the arena himself during (appropriately) “Ride,” the reggae-infused 2016 hit that helped make duo a household name. As the fans slowly passed him and his mattress forward, he mimed a rowing motion and repeated (again, appropriately):
Whoa-OH-oh-OH-oh-OHHHHH, Whoa-OH-oh-OH-oh, I’m falling so I’m taking my time on my ride…
And finally, the mattress saved Joseph right at the end of “Stressed Out”, which ended the main set. Shouting the last line of the alt-hip-hop anthem – “Wake up, you gotta make some money” – the crackle of fireworks replaced the “Yeah!” which normally punctuates the track, then he did the Nestea dive from the back of the stage.
It makes you wonder a bit what the insurance runner for “The Icy Tour” should look like.
Not just because of these stunts, which look laid-back but certainly involve significant risk; but there’s also, oh, say, the back-flip Dun did of Joseph’s piano during his brief break from pounding the drums during “Holding On to You” (followed seconds later by Joseph running at the piano, then leaping to launch from the corner of it in another flying leap).
Or there was Joseph climbing 15 feet off the ground to stand on a platform about 4 feet wide to sing and play bass guitar on “Car Radio.” This is something I’ve seen artists do before, but hardly ever without some sort of basic safety strap.
Or Dun stepping on a piece of board with a snare, bass drum, and crash cymbal bolted to it, so he can beat a 33-second drum solo while being held aloft by people in the pit .
Or Dun and Joseph – during the final song of the night, ‘Trees’ – trusting their fans to hold them up once more, as they both beat dueling drums while perched on stretchers plastic assorted.
(A side note: perhaps the riskiest behavior of the night didn’t involve the band at all. Before they even came out to start their set, a member of the event staff started throwing bottles of water to the fans in the GA section, but arguably got a little too carried away. In about a dozen throws, he was throwing Hail Marys 50 feet into sometimes unsuspecting territory. Luckily, he seemed that everyone got away with it without anyone taking a hard hit in the eyeball.)
During this time, they also tried to make things special for those who were not in the floor part.
For example: although Shapard, the lighting director, made amazing use of lasers and LED spotlights inside the Spectrum Center, one of the most lavish visual treats of the night involved a much more DIY approach. which drew the whole crowd.
Yeah, we’ve seen fans whip out their cellphone flashlights for slower songs a million times at shows like these, but Joseph gave the shot a fun twist after moving from the main stage to the mini-scene for the second half of “Mulberry Street”: He ordered the right side of the bowl to turn on their lights when he sang “Mul” then quickly hide them; the center to only put them up when he sang “berry”; the left side to make them appear for “rue”; and the ground to light it up just for “So good to see you.”
“We did this whole tour,” the singer explained, just before giving the instructions, “and it worked. In fact, before the tour started, I dreamed about that exact moment, and every night when we did it, it makes me feel good. I know it sounds corny. But dreams come true.
The dance of lights produced by the effect was unlike anything I had ever seen in an arena show before.
Later, in another effort to regale fans who aren’t on the floor: After playing the first part of “Ride” on this mattress, Joseph continued an extended live version of the hit by venturing on both sides of the bowl. lower to sing portions while standing on portable podiums amid masses of trembling fans.
It can take artists decades to master the spectacle of the arena. Some people never really realize it. Twenty One Pilots, however, clearly know how to use cavernous spaces, despite being just nine years away from playing for just 1,000 at Southend d’Amos, eight from entertaining 2,000 at The Fillmore (2014) , six of a concert for 5,000 people at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater.
And despite the fact that Joseph basically admitted to still having some anxiety about performing at a place like Spectrum Center.
“Last night…I dreamed I got bitten by a hornet on my neck,” he said, sitting at his piano in the shade of the Charlotte Hornets star’s retired No.13 jersey. , Bobby Phills, hanging from the rafters. “And the hornet actually said, ‘What, you’ve never been stung by a hornet before? And I was like, ‘No!’ And he said, ‘Well, okay, get ready.’ But just before I woke up, I took it off my neck, pinned it to the ground, and cut it in half. Anyway, great to be here in your arena, Charlotte.
Then, just in case anyone thought they were making up something so bizarre: “I’m not kidding, it really happened.”
It was the band of a dozen genres for the second time headlining the biggest indoor venue in town since 2019, and just before the night was over, Joseph made it look like he didn’t. there was no guarantee they would get a third shot.
“I always like to mention this, but I mean it when I say it: we would love to come back one day. So please bring us back.
At the rate Twenty One Pilots is going, it won’t be long before Joseph dreams not of Hornets, but of Panthers…
Twenty One Pilots Setlist
1. “Good day”
2. “No chance”
3. “Hand Guns”
5. “Hold on”
7. “The Message Man”
8. “Lane Boy”
11. “Murberry Street”
12. “Addict With a Pen” / “Forest” / “Ode to Sleep” / “Hometown” / “Bandito” / “Choker”
13. “The Judge”
15. “The Hype” / “Nico and the Niners” / “Tear in My Heart”
16. “House of Gold” / “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV”
17. “Halo Theme”
19. “A heavy and dirty soul”
20. “My Blood” / “Saturday”
21. “Level of concern”
23. “Shy Away”
24. “Car Radio”
This story was originally published September 5, 2022 12:21 p.m.