If you are planning to see Twenty One Pilots live in concert you might be in for a few surprises. When my friends and I arrived at the Sound Academy in Toronto on September 13th, six hours before the gates opened, the first surprise was disappointing. Even with our early arrival (and 2 hour car ride to get there), the size of the line was astounding. There were four tents set up by the doors, and with at the very least a hundred people in front of us, it seemed as though every Twenty One Pilots fan was just as dedicated and passionate as the next in line.
Although my dream of being front row centre was crushed, there was something special about the sense of community within the Skeleton Clique. Although it was cold and raining, everyone couldn’t have been more kind and generous. Someone shared their umbrella with me, and we were offered juice boxes, hot chocolate, Timbits, and granola bars. Plus there was a group of fans with ukulele’s who sang for hours, leading the crowd in excited renditions of songs like House of Gold or We Don’t Believe What’s on TV.
These were the kinds of fans who wore their TOP love on their sleeves (and just about everywhere else!) Twenty One Pilots merch of every kind decorated the line, along with people sporting Josh Dun red eye shadow or Tyler Joseph’s outfit and black neck/hands from the Fairly Local video. Also, I have never seen so much dyed hair in one place!
The second surprise was that the opening band, Finish Ticket, absolutely commanded the stage with their energy and infectious sound. The crowd was 100% ready to dance after waiting so long outside and I have never heard fans go so crazy for relatively unknown openers. This reaction was deserved since Finish Ticket gave their all and made me excited to hear their recorded music/see them live again. Outside the venue we got a photo with the guys from Finish Ticket, who were very friendly and had a few interesting stories to share. We stuck around for a while and chatted about everything from sketchy hotels to the electric kazoo!
Echosmith highlights were when there was a stand up bass on stage and when they closed with their hit song “Cool Kids”. The singer, Sydney Sierota, had admirable energy and impressed the crowd with her incredible voice. They also had a cool light up Echosmith sign!
Then came the moment everyone had waited outside for hours to be a part of. The lights dimmed. The Twenty One Pilots symbol lit up. Clouded in dim red light, Josh Dun took his place behind the drums while Tyler Joseph, face covered by his skeleton mask, made his way to a microphone hanging from the roof to begin what would be an incredible performance with Heavy Dirty Soul. Once again I was baffled by the fan support. From beginning to end, every word was chanted from the lively crowd; every high speed rap, cheery melody, and sad but hopeful lyric. Even when they performed a medley of less known songs from their self titled debut album and Regional At Best, which included (my favorite!) The Pantaloon, Semi Automatic, Forest, Screen, Ode to Sleep, and Addict with a Pen, everyone was more than ready to sing along.
There were also all the classic Twenty One Pilots moments, like when Josh Dun does a back flip off the piano during Holding On To You (which he has been doing since their first ever show!), when Josh drums on top of a platform held up by the crowd, and when Tyler climbs a column during Car Radio. My other favorite moment was Josh Dun’s drumming during Lane Boy, which shows off how talented he really is.
Unlike bands that become successful through popular radio singles, they had no restrictions of what to perform as Encore songs, so decided to play two of their saddest ones, Goner and Trees, in order to leave the crowd a sobbing mess. During Trees red and white confetti rained upon the crowds outstretched hands in an exciting conclusion to an amazing night.