Twenty One Pilots Take Over Chicago: A Double Feature Part 2

by Zach Belles

A good friend of mine introduced me to the two incredibly talented Ohio natives, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, after they released their sophomore album Regional At Best in 2011, prior to its discontinuation and Twenty One Pilots signing to Fueled by Ramen, who has been their label since 2012. I instantly fell in love with their sound and have listened non-stop ever since then. Despite listening to the band for over a decade before their performance at the House of Blues, this concert was my very first time seeing them live.

One of the main reasons I hadn’t seen Twenty One Pilots before now is that I’m very much a person who prefers to see artists in smaller, more intimate venues. When a very popular and well-known group such as Twenty One Pilots goes to a smaller venue, the tickets generally sell out rather quickly. Or, at least, quicker than I’m able to secure them. For this concert, thankfully that wasn’t the case. If you’ve never been to the House of Blues before, I can promise you that the pictures don’t do justice to how small this venue really is. Having thousands of people packed into a pit of a small venue is an experience unlike any other.

The very first band that came out was Arrested Youth, a Chicago band trying to make their way onto the scene, and they performed a very short 15 minute set. I was familiar with one of their songs going into the performance, but even if I didn’t know any of them, the energy of the lead singer was enough to woo the crowd more than the next act, who had twice the amount of time on stage as them.

Half-Alive was a band where you could very much hear the emotion in the voice of the lead singer come through at almost every point in every song which, as always, I think is the best way to perform. However, they didn’t have that sort of “pull” of the audience to them as Arrested Youth did. The engagement from such a pumped up Chicago-based crowd was lackluster, to say the least.

After a very lengthy intermission, it was finally time for the main show to start. In opposition to most likely every other person in the crowd, I intentionally didn’t listen to any of the songs on the album that weren’t released as singles so that I could go into the concert feeling as though my favorite artist had brought never-before-heard music to it. This approach suited me very well as I was absolutely blown away from the beginning. The set naturally started with “Good Day,” which is the first song on Scaled and Icy, which absolutely set the tone for the rest of the show. Every single person in the venue acted as backup singers to Tyler for the entire show. Just the absolute dedication of what seemed to be every person, to knowing every single word to every single song, was truly amazing.

I was completely unaware that the iconic duo supplied an entire ensemble during the tour, with two extra guitar players, and even a trumpet and trombone and several points. Many of the songs that were played were sung as a medley of other similar sounding songs, such as “Lane Boy” transitioning into “Doubt” at one point. By far, my favorite medley that was done that entire night was a song, “Mulberry Street,” which has been my new favorite song since that night, which transitioned into a cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” and then ended back on “Mulberry Street.”

The entire concert, from the atmosphere of a small venue like the House of Blues, to the opening artists, and of course, Tyler and Josh, was a night I most definitely will not soon forget.