The concert began with a short set by Finish Ticket, an indie pop rock band that showcased more rock than pop. During their slowest song, the audience waved their cell phones and lighters without prompting from the band, eliciting a grateful response from Finish Ticket’s members.
Reminiscent of punk rock due to the lead vocalist’s slight raspiness and raw guitar melodies, the band wasn’t unenjoyable yet wasn’t especially noteworthy.
Their advertisement of their last song as “angry and bitter” was not appealing. Much of the crowd remained seated while Finish Ticket played, although the whole theater would be on its feet once the headliner took the stage.
Echosmith followed, spending a bit more time on stage. A female-led indie pop group composed of four siblings from California, Echosmith has recently gained some popularity.
Although their bright style doesn’t seem compatible with Twenty One Pilots, much of the audience appeared to know a few of their songs.
Echosmith’s cover of Modern English’s “I’ll Melt With You” was a fun follow-up to their ballad “Tell Her You Love Her.”
Their hit single “Cool Kids” closed the set; Sydney, the lone sister, offered encouragement prior to the song, telling the attendees that they were each special and loved.
The crowd responded positively, with many rising from their seats and moving to the beat-heavy dance tune.
Once Echosmith exited, the anticipation became palpable. This was a sold-out concert for which some people had camped out the night before, or at least since early morning, in order to get the best spots in line. The majority of the concertgoers were teenagers and young adults.
When Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, the dynamic duo behind Twenty One Pilots, entered the darkened stage accompanied by a throbbing bassline, thunderous cheering erupted throughout the venue.
Joseph and Dun didn’t acknowledge the crowd before launching into “HeavyDirtySoul,” the first track on their newest album, Blurryface.
They were dressed in their usual concert gear: Joseph donning a skeleton hoodie complete with skull hood and red beanie underneath, Dun in a black short-sleeved hoodie and green alien ski mask.
Immediately following was “Stressed Out,” a light hip-hop ditty about growing up. This song, among others on Blurryface, features rumbling bass vocals by the character whose story is told by the lyrics on this conceptual album.
Its closing was altered for the live version, with Joseph transitioning into a downtempo piano melody that flowed into one from their last album, Vessel: “Guns for Hands.”
Continuing with another older tune, Twenty One Pilots pulled back in their performance to encourage the crowd to sing along to “Migraine” before returning to a Blurryface track, “Polarize,” an electro-pop piece.
Joseph donned a floral kimono and brought out a ukulele to strum “House of Gold,” which was dedicated to his mother, then moved into a bouncy song, “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV.” An excerpt from Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” was combined with Blurryface’s deceptively light-hearted but heavy-lyricked “The Judge.”
Figures in hazmat suits appeared among theatrical fog for hip-hop “Lane Boy” before Joseph asked the crowd if they’d mind hearing a few of their early pieces.
A medley of half-songs and choruses from their self-titled album and Regional At Best was performed with Joseph on piano while Dun provided light drum backing.
A couple more new releases, “Doubt” and “Message Man,” had Joseph climbing onto the outreached hands of the pit and Dun backflipping off his drum stand before reverting to a more subdued performance of “Holding Onto You.”
What looked like clips from a horror movie flashed on the backdrop as ominous overtones echoed and were quickly replaced by the reggae-pop “Ride,” featuring Joseph on electric bass and Dun on an audience-supported board for his drum solo.
There were humorous moments throughout the show: “Josh sneezed twice on stage—that was cute,” Joseph assessed.
Both bantered with security guards, having the crowd cheer on Mike and boo Bobby. (“You suck, Bobby! … Bobby’s going to beat me up later,” noted Joseph.) Calling a kimono-garbed audience member who had made a banner up on stage to perform an elaborate handshake with Dun and take a selfie to be retweeted later was a highlight of the show.
The music resumed with Joseph prompting everybody to “find a partner and get up on their shoulders” for “The Run and Go.”
The spirited “Tear In My Heart” is the most radio-friendly song from Blurryface, and it elicited an enthusiastic audience response as Joseph leapt around stage, singing into a hanging microphone stylized as a red wire-wrapped lightbulb.
Twenty One Pilots announced “Tulsa is our biggest headline show in this area and you guys sold this place out; that means so, so much to us.”
This seemingly drew the show to a close, since both Joseph and Dun exited the stage to roaring acclamation at that point, but an encore was in store.
A spotlight shone on the balcony section to which Joseph had transported himself; from his perch on the ledge, he sang “Car Radio” as Dun drummed below.
He returned to the stage to perform “Goner” as audience members held up papers reading “F|P|E” (standing for the “Few,” the “Proud,” and the “Emotional,” a Blurryface lyric) that had been distributed prior to the show.
The show ended with Joseph proclaiming “there’s nowhere in this world I’d rather be than in this room playing music with you people.”
He and Dun both climbed on top of the crowd with drums to play their classic closer, “Trees,” and red confetti rained down as they reached the climax. Finally, the artists left the concert-goers with a promising farewell: “We’re Twenty One Pilots and so are you. See you next time, Tulsa!”