Burning cars! Backflips! Crowd surfing drummers! Twenty One Pilots pull out all the stops for huge Reading Festival show

A properly big live show is something special. Whether it’s Beyoncé pulling out all the stops for her historic Coachella set, or Rammstein setting fire to a fake baby (and themselves) on their current tour, sometimes you see something that feels special and you’ll remember for years to come.

This is what Twenty One Pilots’ co-headline performance on the Saturday night at Reading is like. Whether you’re a member of Skeleton Clique (the name of the band’s fanbase) or an uninitiated Reading goer, the show feels like something special. Featuring dancing security guards, burning cars and Josh Dun’s trademark backflip, it’s a madly brilliant and theatrical show. Here are the best moments.

A car is set on fire

Now a staple in their live shows, the band brought the car from their music video for ‘Heavydirtysoul’ with them to Reading, and then duly proceeded to set it on fire.


Twenty One Pilots at Reading festival

The stage show is crackers

Aside from the burning car, the band brought massive CO2 cannons, fireworks, loads of confetti, and the whole thing was opened with drummer Josh Dun walking onto the empty stage with a lit torch in hand. Subtle? No. But did it look bloody insane? Absolutely.

They turn the whole stage into a their own personal parkour space

In what looked like a health and safety nightmare, Joseph clambers to the top of a scaffolding tower and performs ‘Car Radio’ from the platform at the top of it. Dun backflips off a piano. Joseph performs the opening of ‘Holding on to You’ standing on the crowd. It’s like parkour, just with added pyro and music.

Twenty One Pilots at Reading festival

They covered Oasis!

“We want to thank you as a couple of Americans, thank you for letting us come across the pond and play at your festival,” frontman Tyler Joseph tells the audience midway through, adding: “We have such a deep respect for your festival culture…so this next one I dedicate to you.” And then they launched into a cover of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ prepared especially for the festival.

Security guards moonlight as backing dancers


“Would you please give it up for the security guards for looking after you all evening,” Joseph says to the audience. Thus begins said security guards’ involvement in the show. As the singer tries to encourage the swarms of revellers to dance during ‘My Blood’, he goes to the members of staff for examples of how to dance. Then later he welcomed some of them on stage, as the band members put their arms around them and they did a bit of a choreographed dance.

They play the drums on the crowd

At the end of ‘Morph’, Dun makes like he’s going to run into the crowd, but instead of launching himself onto their arms, he instead heads to a miniature drum kit which is being held up by members of the audience. This was repeated in the final song of the set, ‘Trees’, where both members of the band played huge drums on top of the crowd.

Twenty One Pilots played:

The Hype
Lane Boy
Holding on to You
Stressed Out
Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis cover)
My Blood
Cut My Lip
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes cover)
Car Radio