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Twenty One Pilots get Emotional as Roadshow hits DTE

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Early during Twenty One Pilots' concert Friday night, June 3, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Tyler Joseph declared the Columbus, Ohio duo's just-started Emotional Roadshow "my favorite tour ever."

There's no doubt the 15,000 who packed the amphitheater, as well as bandmate Josh Dun, felt the same way.

Things have gotten progressively bigger for Twenty One Pilots during its six-year history -- and also better. The music, as evidenced by last year's chart-topping fourth album "Blurryface," has become more sophisticated and seamless, an effortless blend of pop, hip-hop and reggae with abundant melodic hooks to propel the duo's gleefully indulgent, suite-like arrangements.

And the success has allowed Joseph and Dun plenty of room to vent their theatrical bent, as evidenced by Friday's nearly two-hour spectacle. Nine high-definition panels behind the group displayed a variety of videos and images, but the real show was Joseph and Dun themselves, bridging the technology with an in-your-face physicality that helped maintain the kind of intimacy the two achieved in smaller venues.

Covering the breadth of their four albums -- with plenty of pre-recorded material making sure the songs sounded familiar to the album versions -- the duo changed outfits several times throughout the night and kept things up close and personal in a manner that showed they've studied their Flaming Lips, Peter Gabriel, U2 and Coldplay concert DVDs. Early in the evening they deftly made their way to a second stage at the rear of the DTE pavilion to play the epic "Ode To Sleep" and a medley of seven songs from their earlier albums, including favorites such as "The Pantaloon," "Fall Away," "Johnny Boy" and "Kitchen Sink."

Dun came off his drums to do a back flip off Joseph's piano during "Holding On To You" while Joseph jumped over the instrument a couple of times during the show. At the end of "Ride" Dun briefly played on a kit held aloft by fans in the pit, while during "Guns For Hands" Joseph rolled into the pavilion inside a large red hamsterball, buffeted around by ecstatic fans. And he ended the main set singing "Car Radio" atop a short tower by the sound board in the middle of the pavilion.

The duo was also joined on occasion by two dancing crew members in Hazmat outfits, and another jubilant medley found Joseph and Dun joined by opening acts Mutemath and Chef'Special for a medley of Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself," House of Pain's "Jump Around" and "Twist and Shout" -- and its highly likely that even the parents of the youthful crowd weren't even born when the latter first came out.

Before finishing the show with "Trees," Joseph noted that "the state of Michigan has been so good to us for so many years now" -- not bad considering he and Dun hail from the home of the dreaded Buckeyes -- and voiced a desire "to come back some time." And when he asked "Will you have us?" the resounding affirmation from the crowd could probably be heard back in Columbus.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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