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Concert Reviews:
Twenty One Pilots fly high at Saint Andrews show

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2015

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DETROIT -- Twenty One Pilots spent most of 2015 playing big venues, and the duo has more on tap for the new year.

But it hasn't forgotten how to play small -- or small hall, as it were -- ball.

Playing a club such as Saint Andrews Hall, as it did on Thursday night, Dec. 17, has become a rarity for the genre-blendingn alternative rock twosome since the chart-topping debut of its sophomore major label album "Blurryface." Twenty One Pilots' last show of 2015, it was a combination victory lap for the year's success and a thank-you to sponsoring Windsor-Detroit radio station 89X for its support.

Mostly, however, it was a wild 75 minutes of proven pranks and songs that have become so entrenched with the group's audience that the packed crowd at Saint Andrews -- foregoing "Star Wars" for this night -- probably sang more lyrics than Tyler Joseph over the course of the show. It was also more of a spectacle than Saint Andrews crowds usually see, with a customized, rave-worthy light rig complete with smoke jets and, at the end of the night confetti as Joseph and drummer Josh Dun slammed through 13 of their songs plus a bit of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love."

Sporting their usual combinations of face scarves, masks and hats, Joseph -- show switched between piano, ukulele and bass -- and Dun focused, not surprisingly on "Blurryface," opening with a heavily back-lit blast of "Heavydirtysoul" and the hit "Stressed Out," later delivering favorites such as "Tear In My Heart," "Lane Boy" and Polarize." Joseph walked on the crowd's hands during "Hold On To You," while Dun briefly played a drum kit held aloft by fans during "Ride." And both Pilots finished the night in the same fashion, each playing a floor tom at the end of "Trees."

There was also a special pre-holiday moment when Joseph brought his future brother-in-law, who had accompanied his father to the show, on stage and then introduced a new "welcome to the family" ritual -- having him crowd surf from the front to the back of the house, which was pulled off without a hitch.

It was an exuberant cap to a big year for Twenty One Pilots, but while its rest is well-earned it won't last long. The duo will be logging plenty of miles in 2016, including a North American tour that brings it back to town June 3 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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