REVIEW – ‘Twenty One Pilots – Bandito Tour’ engages fans


Katie Johnson

Twenty One Pilots performed at the American Airlines Center Nov. 7. The duo had a packed setlist filled with both old and new songs. Following the last song of the night “Trees,” Tyler Joseph, right, and Josh Dun, left, came together to thank the audience.

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Twenty One Pilots set the stage – along with a giant car – ablaze during an energetic and captivating time at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Nov. 7. The eccentric alt-rock duo, along with numerous fans, sported bright yellow and olive-green outfits with yellow tape crisscrossed over themselves in support of their newest album, “Trench.” The fans dubbed the “Skeleton Clique,” wore these colors in uniform with both the band and each other. “Trench” itself feels like a rebellion to the “Billboard Hot 40,” and with Tyler Joseph appearing with torches to kick off the night certainly gives the impression it is a rebellion.

Fans lit the arena up with yellow lights during “Jumpsuit,” the first single off  “Trench” to show their support for the boys. Toward the end of the song, yellow petals filled the room.

Band climbs charts, advocates for mental health

“Twenty One Pilots” first broke through the charts back in 2015 with the release of the twice-platinum Grammy-award-winning album, “Blurryface” for their thought-provoking lyrics and talk about mental health issues.

Immediately following “Jumpsuit” the pair kicked into “Levitate” another song off their latest album. During this,  Joseph stood atop the large flaming car onstage. “Fairly Local” was up next and both Joseph and Josh Dun were on risers which moved up and down. In the middle of the song, the lights went out and a few seconds later Joseph appeared in the middle of the crowd.

“Stressed Out” and “Heathens” were up next. These were two of the songs which launched the duo into the mainstream charts. The audience went wild and everyone was singing along to both.

“We Don’t Believe What’s on TV” and “The Judge” followed suit and Joseph appeared in a floral kimono with a ukulele. Both mellow songs gave everyone a breather and a chance to prepare for “Lane Boy” where Joseph had everyone in the pit get down low before the beat dropped. When the beat dropped everyone jumped up and went wild while two people in all white with gas masks appeared onstage with canisters full of smoke.

After “Nico and the Niners,” another single off of “Trench,” a walkway came down connecting the main stage to the B-stage. Joseph walked across, periodically stopping to interact with fans, while Dun walked right through the pit rather than using the walkway.

“Taxi Cab” was the first song performed on the B-stage, and Joseph told everyone to sit down and relax during the B-stage songs. Throughout the night Joseph would twitch and shake his head often, overcome with emotion. This was quite prominent during “Neon Gravestones,” a melodramatic piano ballad with powerful lyrics about combatting suicide and the stigmas around mental health.

Katie Johnson
The duo performed 3 songs on B-stage during the night. Joseph, on piano,  beckoned to Dun,  right, to head up the walkway back to the main stage. Joseph stayed on the walkway for the duration of “Pet Cheetah.”

“Bandito” and “Pet Cheetah” followed suit, two more songs off “Trench”, and both Joseph and Dun made their way across the walkway during “Pet Cheetah.”

Duo unites fans

“Holding On to You,” a popular older song off of “Vessel,” was up next. Joseph stood atop the crowd with loyal fans holding him up. During covers of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles and “Iris” by the Goo-Goo Dolls, opening acts Max Frost and AwolNation, came onstage to sing alongside Joseph and Dun.

During “Car Radio,” another popular song off “Vessel,” Joseph climbed up a large pole in the middle of the audience.

Dun, the drummer, didn’t say a word throughout the entire night as he used his drumset as a way to communicate his emotions, and he definitely did just that.

Following the encore, “Leave the City,” the duo ended the night off with “Trees,” a fan favorite. Joseph and Dun continued to bang drums as they were held up by the crowd on platforms while the arena filled with confetti.

For the last song “Trees,” Joseph and Dun had platforms with drums, which the crowd held up. This concert tradition has continued since the band was formed back in 2009. The duo played the drums while confetti filled the air.

Joseph ended the night off by saying “We’re Twenty One Pilots, and so are you.” As he spoke, a sense of unity seemed to be felt throughout the audience. The lyrical sentiments of the song “Leave the City” brought to life the relationship Joseph and Dun have with the crowd with the lyrics “In Trench I’m not alone”. It truly felt like a family.

The entire night was a whirlwind of emotions, and after experiencing “Twenty One Pilots” live, I can wholeheartedly say this band is definitely worth seeing. They know how to entertain and, most importantly, Joseph and Dun engage with the audience.