Twenty One Pilots

All text and images ©2016 David Hill Photography

Bank of New Hampshire Pavillion
Guilford, NH
June 18, 2016

I’m a relative newcomer to this band, but was looking forward to seeing them, after hearing some of their songs on the radio, and an enthusiastic endorsement of their live show by a co-worker. The opening bands, Chef’s Special and MuteMath did a good job warming up the crowd of mostly teens and early twenty-somethings. A malfunction with the device that was to drop the curtain delayed the start of the show, and I thought the kids around me might not be able to control their excitement. The two man band put on a good show, but I won’t say a great concert. From playing part of the show in the middle of the arena, to literally standing on the crowd, and rolling around on top of the audience in a giant hamster ball, they are certainly showmen.
The young fans around me seemed to know every word to every song, were singing along in full voice, and were really enjoying themselves.  The duo brought out members from both opening bands to take part in a quartet of cover songs including "Twist and Shout", and "Jump Around." Near the end of the set the did play their two most recent radio hits "Ride", and "Stressed Out"
As I said , I considered this to be more of a show than a concert. The difference to me were the pre-recorded backing tracks that were used. During the show, drummer Josh Dun was doing his thing and Tyler Joseph was playing bass, piano, keyboards, or ukulele.  I give him respect for being a multiple instrumentalist, but the issue is that during the songs where he was playing one instrument, I could still hear others, and there was no one else playing. I go to shows to see and hear live music, and when I don’t, I feel cheated. If you want to be a two man band, and make your album sound fuller by doing overdubs in the studio, I have no issue with that. If you're going to go out on tour without a supporting cast to make the songs sound like they do on the record, you should create stripped down arrangements that honor the integrity of the song, and perform those. Let your fans see what you can do.
In the end, the crowd really did have a good time, and that is truly what matters. For me though, as a fan of live music, seeing this band once is enough for me.
Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots gets a lift from the crowd at Bank of New Hampshire Pavillion