October 30, 2018 Twenty One Pilots Dazzle Long Island, NY 10-27-18 w/ AWOLNATION & Max Frost
Summertime long in the rear-view, as of late, Long Island, NY is in the midst of Halloween season and that means week-end visits to haunted houses, pumpkin picking, and finding creative ways to enjoy the fall colors which highlight the landscape of the Empire State. But while the warm weather has ended, music fans can find solace in the fact that great concerts on Long Island are a year-round thing, never to stop as long as planet Earth exists.
That said, a misty and windy Saturday evening perfectly set the fall stage on October 27, 2018, as one of the hottest music acts of the past few years, Twenty One Pilots, flew into Long Island for a layover at Uniondale, New York’s own Nassau Coliseum. On the heels of their massively-acclaimed new album, Trench, released on October 5, 2018, Twenty One Pilots kicked-off The Bandito Tour on October 16th at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
A duo, Twenty One Pilots is solely comprised of two immensely talented musicians: Tyler Joseph, who handles vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, ukulele, and bass, alongside the savvy Josh Dun on drums. Coming out of nowhere, Twenty One Pilots have shaken-up the landscape of music, seeing tremendous success with a stash of hit singles on radio as well as in the movies. In plain English, the inspiring sound of Twenty One Pilots is unlike any act out there today. Together, Tyler and Josh remix the most sparkling trends of Alternative Hip-Hop, Electronica, Indie Pop, Rap Rock, and Alternative Rock. Across the universe, the band’s sound reaches a wide range of fans with varying musical tastes. All in all, the music of Twenty One Pilots has proven to be the kind of stuff anyone can get into.
As a sold-out Long Island crowd descended upon the Nassau Coliseum, the electricity of anticipation was on a new level, different from that of most shows. Fans of all ages lined-up as far the eyes could witness and were not too shy to express their excitement as they anxiously awaited experiencing one of the most raved about live acts in recent memory. All this mass hysteria in the air translated to the coliseum stage where the first of two support acts was ready to go.
An up-and-coming new artist, Matthew Alexander Frost, aka Max Frost, is a multi-talented Singer/Songwriter hailing from Austin, Texas, who first began playing drums and guitar at a very formidable age. Releasing his first full length album, Gold Rush, just a few weeks prior, on October 5, Frost’s musical style can be described as Indie Pop/Pop Rock, somewhere along the lines of a Shawn Mendes. Inspired by artists from all walks of music, Frost credits a universal array of styles as his biggest influences, such as The Beatles and Frank Sinatra as well as Hip Hop.
Taking the stage to a nice ovation, Frost showed he is literally a one-man band, playing guitar, bass, and drums over his own backing tracks. Full of musical passion, Frost’s soulful performance of tracks such as “White Lies,” “Money Problems,” and “Adderall,” really loosened up the growing crowd. As Frost put the finishing touches on his set, the closing single “Good Morning” left his fans elated and smiling ear to ear. Overall, Frost did a good job getting the crowd ready for a big show and is certainly an artist to watch.
Next on the bill, AWOLNATION was primed and ready to play direct support to Twenty One Pilots, bringing their own party to a nearly packed house. Beaming with energy and spirit for human emotion, the AWOLNATION crew is Aaron Bruno on vocals, Daniel Saslow on programming/keyboards, Isaac Carpenter on percussion, Michael Goldman on bass, and Zach Irons on lead guitar. All the way from sunny Los Angeles, California, AWOLNATION’s musical science incorporates an unbridled mixture of Alternative Hip-Hop, Electro Pop, and Alternative Rock – giving the band a style all their own. The backstory on AWOLNATION began when the band was formed by Vocalist Aaron Bruno. Soon after, AWOLNATION released their first EP, Back from Earth, in 2010. Thereafter, the band’s first full length LP, 2011’s Megalithic Symphony, reached platinum status thanks to a treasure of great songs.
Ever since then, AWOLNATION has garnered a huge following and are now on tour in support of their third album, Here Come the Runts, released in February 2018, and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard charts. As the vibe in the air grew hotter, AWOLNATION made their way to the stage met by a stirring ovation from fans in attendance. Wasting no time, AWOLNATION burst into the outro “Run” and thrilled via the rousing “Kill Your Heroes.” Feeling the groove, the crowd was beyond magnetic as the band offered “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” and “Handyman.” As AWOLNATION prepared for “Not Your Fault,” Bruno wanted to take the set to what he called a new dimension and got the crowd to start a wave which went around the arena about five times and Long Island ate it up.
Next, Bruno again made a request, asking everyone to show AWOLNATION what a Twenty One Pilots prom would look like, as the band broke into the endearing “Table For One.” Following a performance of one of the band’s newest tracks, “Miracle Man,” Bruno introduced the final number by explaining how he wrote the song about a tough time in his life and he never thought anyone who ever actually hear it. That said, to an emotional ovation, AWOLNATION broke into their biggest hit, “Sail,” showcasing one more time the band’s beautified musical presence. After an uplifting production, the capacity crowd sent AWOLNATION off with a fantastic display of cheers. To anyone who has never seen or heard AWOLNATION, if you love music, this is simply one of the best modern bands out there.
Entering the final countdown, this juncture of the night saw a once partially full space now packed to capacity with some of the most impressively dedicated music fans. With Halloween just days away, from the floor to the highest points, Twenty One Pilots devotees could be spotted everywhere dressed in Bandito costumes, showing sheer commitment to the band they love. Finally, after a long while, the anticipation climaxed when the house lights went out and the fans all together became unhinged with elation and gave out possibly the loudest cheers this long-time running concert venue has ever seen.
As the curtain fell, a stage full of bright lights and smoke overwhelmed the senses as Tyler and Josh appeared to the delight of crazed fans. Opening via the first of a plethora new tracks off Trench, Twenty One Pilots put on their “Jumpsuit” and wowed straight into “Levitate.” Just two songs in, the atmosphere inside the coliseum was full of potent energy and it became obvious the die-hard crowd was ready to belt out every last lyric with the band. All systems go, Twenty One Pilots pulled no punches, gifting the band’s two biggest mainstream hits early, that being “Stressed Out” and “Heathens,” as confetti covered the pit area. On top of the world, the scene was wild with the crowd on their feet, dancing, singing, and sitting on the shoulders of a friend, while Twenty One Pilots lit-up the night via fan favorites “The Judge” followed by the Reggae-flavored “Lane Boy.”
Always full of surprises, several of the night’s biggest moments arrived when Twenty One Pilots performed on the B-stage in the middle of the floor. As a light fixture lowered half-way to the floor, Tyler used it to make his way across, first staying up there for the story of “Nico and the Niners.” In a number of absolutely stunning Twenty One Pilots moments, Tyler and Josh took the second stage to just a piano and a drum-kit for the emotive numbers”Taxi Cab,” “Neon Gravestones,” and “Bandito.” If that was not enough, the band was surrounded by a videotron enhancing the performance to an everlasting life and moving visuals.
Another exhilarating point in the show came when Max Frost and AWOLNATION joined Twenty One Pilots on stage for not one but two, unreal cover renditions of Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” gifting the show with the loudest sing-alongs of the night. After those breathtaking performances, Twenty One Pilots took Long Island on a blissful “Ride” which continued into the never let go feeling of “My Blood” and “Car Radio.”
After a near two hour set, Twenty One Pilots gave Nassau Coliseum one last big moment, as Tyler stood in the crowd, atop a hand-held platform for “Trees,” handing over one last burst of emotional energy, confetti, and smoke to send the fans home having witnessed one of the best, most engaging shows they will ever see. As the band waved good-bye, the rabid Long Island audience praised Twenty One Pilots with well-deserved glass shattering cheers and applause.
Leaving it all on the stage, Twenty One Pilots dished-out a two hour, over-the-top, roller-coaster of a show, featuring fire, confetti, smoke, lasers, and, more importantly, a positive outlet for fans’ energy and emotion. The substantial lyrics of each song vividly stood out amongst the talents of the band as the music reached fans in attendance to the highest of emotions. In the end, it is obvious, the music of Twenty One Pilots truly brings people together and their performances are a true testament to what it means to love music.
Photo credit: Andrew Fiero Photography