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Concert Reviews:
Twenty One Pilots fly high at Little Caesars Arena
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- When an act starts its show with pyrotechnics, and confetti, it means one of two things -- it's shooting its proverbial wad all at once, or it has a pretty big wad to shoot.

Twenty One Pilots' stop on Wednesday night, Oct. 24, at Little Caesars Arena landed firmly in the latter category.

Theatrics are hardly new for the genre-blending duo from Columbus, Ohio, but Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun outdid themselves yet again with this early stop on its recently launched Bandito Tour, supporting its fifth studio album, "Trench." It was a visual carnival filled with stunts and special effects, including lasers and extensive video production, and while those didn't entirely subsume the music -- 22 songs over two hours -- they were certainly what the nearly sold-out crowd left the venue talking about.

Though it began to plod a bit during its final half-hour, the concert had an unapologetically kitchen-sink ethos kept fans -- many sporting the face bandanas, ski caps and masks and yellow duct tape favored by the Pilots -- surprised by what came next. After the confetti rained down during the opening "Jumpsuit," an early jaw-dropper came at the end of "Fairly Local," when a masked Joseph appeared to freefall into a pit at the center of the main stage, only to appear seconds later at the front of Little Caesars' upper deck to finish the song.

Hydraulic lifts hoisted multi-instrumentalist and singer Joseph, who changed looks several times throughout the show, and drummer Dun up and down throughout the night. Dun pulled out his trumpet during "We Don't Believe What's on TV" and did his usual backlip off Joseph's piano during "Holding On to You." He also, per usual, mounted a small drum kit held aloft by fans at the front the general admission floor for a brief solo at the end of "Morph." A skywalk took the two to and from a B-stage in the middle of the arena floor, where they performed songs such as "Neon Gravestones" and "Bandito" encased in a tall fabric cube.

There was plenty for the eyes to take in, but the music held up its aural end, too. Joseph's blend of Eminem-style raps and Chris Martin physicality marked his performances of "Levitate," "Stressed Out," "Pet Cheetah" and "Holding on to You," and, ukulele in hand, he conducted singalongs during "We Don't Believe...," "The Judge" and the reggae-flavored "Lane Boy" and "Nico and the Niners. The B-stage performances, which also included "Taxi Cab," brought an intimate calm to fusillade.

And Joseph and Dun were joined by opening acts AWOLnation and Max Frost for covers of the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" (who Joseph thought were performing Wednesday, not Thursday, at the nearby Fillmore Detroit) and the Beatles' "Hey Jude."

There was a personal component to the show as well, as Joseph shouted out to relatives living in Michigan and attending the show -- and to his sister Madison, dedicated "My Blood" to his infant niece Mia who he presumed was asleep backstage. "I have a feeling this is a show we will not forget very soon," he noted at one point. Neither will the Wednesday's crowd -- at least not until Joseph and Dun figure out a way to outdo themselves again on the next go-round.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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