NOTE: This post originally appeared on KHDX.fm in March of 2017.
To call “TWENTY ØNE PILØTS” musicians would be very appropriate, but nowhere near accurate.
However, calling it the “Emøtiønal Røadshøw” tour was certainly completely accurate.
TWENTY ØNE PILØTS’ March 3rd “Emøtiønal Røadshøw” concert at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock was not just a concert. It was performance art with hearty helpings of passion, pizzazz, and pure excitement.
I had the fortune of getting a great spot on the floor of the arena, not right up front but fairly close to the stage. It was certainly a good vantage point for myself to see over the sea of people there, and close enough to an exit so I could get a drink or use the bathroom while my friend saved my spot. Of course, I wouldn’t be doing that during the concert itself.
The concert did not begin with TØP, however. It began right at 7 pm with opening acts Judah and the Lion and Jon Bellion. Now, I knew of Judah and the Lion beforehand, and it was a great choice for an opening act. For those who don’t know, however, Judah and the Lion is an alternative Americana group from Nashville, but don’t let their genre classification fool you. They are a hard rocking band with an amazing banjo player with a beard that could go up against ZZ Top any day. And let me tell you, they gave the audience one of the best renditions of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”. As for the other opening act, we got singer/songwriter/rapper Jon Bellion. I will admit to not being familiar with Jon, and it really wasn’t my kind of music, but both acts were really solid, and I was glad I had heard both. But then the curtain went up while TØP got ready. And when it came down, the show began with the biggest “bang” possible.
Opening up with “Heavydirtysoul” off of their Blurryface album, drummer Josh Dun and singer/instrumentalist Tyler Joseph came out swinging. Donning red masks, there was more than just singing going on. The screens all around them were going a million miles an hour with differents red and white graphics, while Tyler treated the stage as if it was a jungle gym, finally (somehow, magic I suppose) ending up on the upper bowl to finish the song. From there, though, the show went all over the place. From more songs from Blurryface including “Lane Boy”, “Stressed Out”, and “Heathens” to songs off of their album Vessel such as “Migraine”, “House of Gold”, and “Guns For Hands” to covers of songs including “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley and “Cancer” by My Chemical Romance, John and Tyler took the audience on a rollercoaster of a ride, keeping the energy going with their theatrics and performance regardless of the tempo.
However, things took a turn for the even better when all of the acts came together on the stage. At first, I thought they were just getting a second round of applause…before we got more covers, this time in a medley. “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba. “No Diggity” by Blackstreet. “Where Is the Love?” by The Black Eyed Peas. “Jump Around” by House of Pain. And honestly, all three acts worked in a sort of unity that was impressive, and “ZZ Top Banjo Player” dressed up as Santa Claus, while someone else that I didn’t even know was just up there in a lobster suit. It was pure, fun madness.
The show, unfortunately, did have to come to an end. And when you had songs like “We Don’t Believe What’s On TV” where the whole audience was shouting “YEAH YEAH YEAH” at the top of their lungs, or moments where the band had one of their sound and light crew crowd-surfing in a giant inflatable hamster ball, it just made it even harder to bring the concert to an end. I have a feeling that the band sensed that, however, because a) Tyler came right out and said something to the effect of “we wish the night could go on forever because we’re having such a great time with everyone” and b) the last few songs just all felt like you could end with that song and it’d be a perfect ending. It was truly perfect.
Before wrapping up the post, though, I want to say one quick thing: I was impressed with the music, yes, but I was also impressed with the demeanor and attitude of Josh and Tyler. Not only did they call out their sound and light crew for the amazing job they did (and that’s no understatement, they really did do an amazing job), but you could tell that they *wanted* to be there, performing live for around 13,000+ people. And that’s not something you always see, so for that, I give them props.
Overall, it was certainly a show worth seeing. You got your heavy hard rock songs (“Stressed Out”), you got your emotional songs (“Tear In My Heart”), you got your impressive covers (“Cancer”), you got great opening acts, and you got a class act in the form of TWENTY ØNE PILØTS. If you’re just a casual fan, or you’re simply interested, you should see them live if you have the opportunity to, because I have a feeling that you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a diehard fan, then I know I don’t have to convince you.
- Date/Time: March 3rd, 7 pm
- Venue: Verizon Arena, North Little Rock, AR
- Concert length: 4 hours
- Favorite TWENTY ØNE PILØTS Song: do I really have to choose?
- Favorite Opening Act Song: “Take It All Back” by Judah and the Lion
- Favorite Cover: “Mr. Brightside” by Judah and the Lion, “Cancer” by TWENTY ØNE PILØTS (tie)
OVERALL RATING: 5/5