Twenty One Pilots Concert
It is the second night of the Columbus, OH-based musical duo Twenty One Pilots’ Emotional Roadshow World Tour, and flocks of cars slowly inch their way to the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT on Jan. 18. I walk up to the entrance and see empty water bottles as the remains of teenage girls’ efforts spent waiting in the General Admission line, waiting for the chance to see this revolutionary band bring their “ukulele screamo,” “schizophrenic pop” music to my hometown.
Performing before the alternative hip-hop duo was alternative bluegrass folk rock band, Judah and the Lion. With their banjos strumming, the band refused to show anything but their true selves, performing covers of T-Pain’s “Booty Wurk (One Cheek at a Time),” complete with twerking, and The Killers’ tried-and-true classic “Mr. Brightside” with their own hits from their latest album Folk Hop ‘N Roll. The band brought an Imagine Dragons-like vibe to their voice and music, making them an unexpectedly pleasant, odd, yet wonderful surprise. Before playing their last song “Take It All Back,” the band thanked Twenty One Pilots for the invitation to tour with the band, praising how their alternative and unique brand of music helped pave the way for similar artists to break out to wider audiences, and for burgeoning musicians to explore more of the vast realms of music.
Fellow breakout budding musical act and American rapper and hip-hop artist Jon Bellion took the stage next with Travis Mendes. Bellion’s recent fame comes from his hit “All Time Low,” which had just hit Platinum at the time of the concert. He brought even more excitement to the huge crowd, performing hits from his latest album The Human Condition. Travis Mendes accompanied Bellion as the latter freestyled, and Mendes provided smooth vocal accompaniment and chemistry to Bellion’s dance moves and style. Bellion was also extremely thankful to Twenty One Pilots for the last minute addition to the tour, saying “it was only the second night of the tour and it already had felt like we had become best friends.”
When Twenty One Pilots finally made an appearance on stage after what felt like ages to the fans around me, they refused to disappoint. Throughout the night, they kept the audience riding a huge high, incorporating the pit crowd in their crazy stunts that ranged from crowd-surfing with a giant hamster ball to playing drums in the crowd, truly making the audience a part of the experience. They performed a mix of songs from their most recent hits “Heathens” and “Ride” to some of their older classics like “Ode to Sleep.”
Other highlights included a moving cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Cancer,” mixing the moving and emotional roots of the original song with their own style, creating a heartfelt masterpiece. The duo also brought back Judah and the Lion and Jon Bellion on stage for a few covers, including the Blackstreet classic “No Diggity,” The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love,” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”
Twenty One Pilots' songs are not just rap and hip-hop. They’re rap, alternative, hip hop, rock, even pop, and they fuse these genres to create music that’s alluring, unique, and wholly original in a time where it’s difficult to stand out in the music industry. And that individuality has created a wave of change in its wake. Yet throughout the whole creation and sudden rise to fame, the duo has always remained humble and thankful, hoping that their audience — whether it be two people or two million people — enjoy their show.