April 8, 2020

The Bandito Tour: A Twenty One Pilots experience

Twenty One Pilots, the alternative duo from Columbus known for their unique sound and die-hard fan base, have been on tour since October of last year and are still going strong on the same tour a year later. 

The Bandito Tour, which was announced around the same time as the release of their most recent album, Trench, was originally supposed to wrap up in June 2019 with a final show in their hometown. 

I couldn’t pull enough strings to attend the original leg of the tour, which was disappointing to say the least.

Shortly after the “final” show in Columbus, they announced that they were going to extend the tour through the fall of 2019. When I heard about this and saw that they’d be doing a show in Cincinnati, I took this as a sign and bought a couple tickets before they sold out. 

Credit: Adam Elmakias/Rock Sound

Was I broke for the rest of the summer after I bought the tickets? Yes. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. 

Oct. 22 finally rolled around and I was on my way to see Twenty One Pilots for the first time since 2016. 

As soon as we entered the downtown area, the sidewalks were packed with groups of fans heading to the show. 

Most were dressed in yellow and army green, which are the theme colors of the current Twenty One Pilots era. It’s also common for concert-goers to apply strips of yellow duct tape to their clothing, which I saw a lot of too. 

The fans view the color yellow as a symbol of strength, hope, and protection against fear and anxiety. The band has always been very open about mental health in their music and how important it is to destigmatize the issue.

Credit: Jay Blakesberg/Meyer Sound

The first thing I noticed after parking was another group of fans huddled around their car with a roll of yellow duct tape, taking turns embellishing their outfits with the meaningful detail. 

Upon finding our seats in the arena, the air of anticipation that filled the space was undeniable and you could tell that every person in there was feeling it too. 

The demographic of people in attendance was pretty surprising. I saw people of all different ages, including some children. This was heart-warming to see because it means that the band’s important message is reaching a wider audience than I had previously realized. 

After the opening act, MisterWives, completed their set, the final waiting time didn’t even seem very long. The curtain dropped and something in the air suddenly changed. It was no longer built up anticipation that could be felt, but instead an intoxicating shared energy among everyone. 

Despite the large size of the crowd, the band managed to make the show feel so intimate. 

The high energy and passion that vocalist Tyler Joseph brought to the table was incredibly entertaining. I’m sure it helped that they were back in their home state, too. 

Credit: Pedro Heizer/Boca Raton Tribune

Joseph even walked through the crowd several times, which was neat to see because the crowd separated for him and respected his boundaries the whole time.

The last song of the show, “Trees,” was perhaps my favorite part of the night. 

The moment should’ve felt bittersweet, but it didn’t. It felt more like a moment of intense pride for being a part of something so special. The way they manage to make the crowd feel with that final song says so much about them as performers. 

I’ve heard Twenty One Pilots concerts be compared to giant family reunions, and I couldn’t agree with that more. 

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