It was their third time playing at Milwaukee’s The Rave/Eagles Club, which offers three different stage areas, and Twenty One Pilots sold out the venue’s biggest room.
As fans eagerly awaited the two-part group from Columbus, OH to grace the stage, they were treated to energetic performances from opening acts MisterWives and Vinyl Theatre. After the first two artists performed and the stage crew finished setting up Twenty One Pilot’s equipment, the house lights dimmed and the audience erupted with cheers in anticipation of the headliner’s first song.
The stage lights illuminated the duo in their patented ski masks as they opened with a high energy track, “Guns for Hands.” The crowd was immediately captivated and carried that collective enthusiasm throughout the nearly two-hour set.
Most of the performance was spent playing songs from their first major full length album, “Vessel,” which debuted in January 2013. However, the band covered a collection of popular hits including “All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled, Ace Hood’s “Bugatti,” Lana Del Ray’s “Summertime Sadness,” and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” a song they have frequently played in their young career.
The band also treated their older fans to songs from their two self-released albums that hit the music scene in 2009 (self-titled album) and 2011 (“Regional at Best”). An emotional rendition of “Addict With a Pen” from their self-titled album connected the hearts of the band with the audience, featuring lyrics that read, “I’ve been traveling in the desert of my mind and I haven’t found a drop of water.”
Throughout the set, the band took breaks to talk to the host of the show, a wise old voice named Nigel. Every time Nigel spoke, a little light in the upper right hand corner of the stage lit up. The presence of Nigel brought a creative dynamic to the performance and had the crowd laughing, as it was discovered that he has been married for 437 years. Despite a marriage that came to be four centuries ago, Nigel claimed that Ace Hood played at his wedding reception. The gimmick speaks to the duo’s sense of humor and dedication to entertaining the audience.
One of their major singles, “Car Radio,” was chosen as the first encore. Starting off slow and building momentum towards the end, the track was an excellent choice to get everybody off their feet and rock the house. Vocalist/pianist/ukulelist/do-it-all musician Tyler Joseph made his way from the stage to the back of the room, where a high ladder and platform were put in place. He passionately sang the final lyrics of the song before doing a mic drop, provoking the crowd into a frenzy.
“This is the night where the album Vessel and Milwaukee ruled the day,” said Tyler, sending the audience home with a memory that will live on in their minds for years to come.