There are not enough words to help anyone comprehend how good of a show Twenty One Pilots achieved at the O2 Academy Brixton last Thursday. This was night three of their London takeover tour, but they were far from worn out! Their comrades in Half Alive brought a show every support act could learn one or two things from. 

Kicking off the show Half Alive didn’t feel like an opening act at all, it felt like a co-headline show. From the get-go you could see this wasn’t going to be a standard support band. During the first song two accomplices walked on stage with a crumpled up white sheet, holding it behind Josh Taylor (lead singer), he scrawled GMYS (Get Me Your Shoulders) with spray paint and within a split second of completing it, he launched it into the crowd, blink and you would have missed it. 

Half Alive’s sound was a perfect match for Twenty One Pilot fans, bouncy pop-rock with feel good vocals. If their music wasn’t upbeat enough for Gen Z’s, the synchronised dancing between Josh and his willing stagehands would make any TikTok influencer proud. Another handy white sheet appeared ten times bigger than the last and just when you thought the dancing couldn’t get any better, they went one step further and amazed everyone with a silhouette shadow spectacle. It had such a DIY sense to it, just using a crinkled sheet and handheld torches, but this didn’t make it feel any less impressive. By the end of their set the whole crowd was clapping along – if you ever find yourself with the opportunity to see this band jump at it you won’t be disappointed.

Where do I begin with Twenty One Pilots? Their performance just kept on giving, from the moment they first walked on stage, all the way to their confetti crammed finale. For every album track played they had an outfit to match. They took to a backlit smoky stage donning matching black balaclavas, whilst also channelling Elton John with gold shimmering glasses. If the parallel outfits weren’t enough, Tyler Joseph went one step further with his outfit with smoke eluding from his mask throughout opening track Good Day. Going straight into No Chances, which started with floor to ceiling video visuals that could easily be compared to the start of a Dr Who episode. 

This drama didn’t last long before Tyler changed into his classic signature red beanie and white t-shirt to sing Stressed Out, leading the crowd into complete screams. It was clear they had the crowd’s full awe, and it was only the third song, going onto a medley of Migraine, Morph and Holding On To You. Tyler and Josh Dun watched in amazement, while stood upon the piano as the crowd rapped their lyrics back to them. Josh not wanting to be left out of the theatrics back flipped off the piano, then headed straight to the drum kit ready for Heathens.

Continuing the show with Lane Boy, Chlorine, and Mulberry Street, which then saw Tyler sat attuned to his piano to hit us with an ultimate Elton John aura covering Bennie and the Jets. This really split the crowd into ages groups – the older fans singing their hearts out, while the slightly younger fans just vibes along. 

Things just kept getting more and more outrageous, with Bennie and the Jets being just the start of the covers. TOP weren’t doing things by halves, for the next medley of covers it wasn’t enough to do just by the piano. No, this medley had to be done next to an actual campfire, yes you read that right a campfire! This was a wholesome moment for everyone, Tyler sat clutching a ukulele, Josh sat upon his acoustic drum box, while the rest of the band joined in with a violin, accordion, bass, and guitar. Blessing us with a mashup of I Can See Clearly Now, My Girl (changing up the lyrics adding in Josh Dun rather than My Girl) and Home not forgetting the tiny snippet of Careless Whisper. Making full use of the campfire they went on to do an acoustic version of House of Gold blended with We Don’t Believe What’s on TV. To signal the end of the campfire Josh took to the trumpet and pumped out a solo.

After a quick instrumental cover of the Halo Theme Tyler took to the stage ready to play crowd favourites Jumpsuit and Heavydirtysoul. It was definite Tyler wanted everyone to be seen in this show, from bringing their Kerrang! award on stage ( that they had won for Best Live Act) and wanting to bring light to the fans not the award, to Tyler bringing the upbeat security guard on stage, who kept everyone entertained in the queue, to singing head shoulders knees and toes with the amused audience. 

The last cover of the night was a tiny little snippet but cannot be left out, the smoothness of this in between Shy Away was too perfect. Just as everyone was engrossed, they hit us with the best transition I’ve heard, a delight for every emo there. TOP covered My Chemical Romance’s I’m Not Okay (I Promise) and it was impeccable.

As the finale came, the air slowly filled with smoke as Josh and Tyler took to the crowd on platforms either end, each with a giant drum. Once positioned, the air was hit by a loud bang and filled with colourful confetti. The energy in the room was full of happiness and hope, which everyone took home with them that night. If you ever find yourself needing a boost or an escape from life, get yourself to a Twenty One Pilots gig.


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