A Rundown Of Twenty One Pilots' High-Energy 'Bandito' Tour

Since releasing their fourth studio album, Trench, Twenty One Pilots has been touring the United States for their first leg of the Bandito World Tour. According to fans, these shows have been nothing short of electric, between the opening acts and engagement with the crowd. On November 3rd, I had the chance to see all of the intense action from the pit in Tampa, Florida, and it was an experience that I’ll cherish forever.

Before the sun rose that Saturday, my friend and I began our journey to Amalie Arena. By the time we arrived in line, it was 8 a.m., and 300 other people had already lined up, proving the extreme dedication fans had for this band. We talked with some fans who had camped out in line for two days and braved a tornado warning and the Florida cold for their prized spot to get the barricade. Although everyone in line was sleep deprived, we all made friends and spent the next eight hours getting to know each other and sharing our music tastes. At 5:30 p.m., the arena staff began letting us into the arena and to the pit. My friend and I secured spots 20 feet away from the barricade on the right side of the stage. Neither one of us had been in the pit for a Twenty One Pilots concert before, so the people around us made sure we were safe and guided us through the madness throughout the night.

The first opener, Max Frost, began his set at 7 p.m. and surprised the whole arena by being a one-man band. At times he was beating the drums and playing the piano at the same time, all while trying to sing. I only knew two of his songs, “Good Morning” and “Adderall,” and needless to say, my friend and I were already losing our voices from screaming to those songs. In the middle of his performance, he paused to have everyone light up the arena with their cell phone lights before performing his song “Sometimes.” Max Frost’s groovy pop music was an excellent opener for Twenty One Pilots and got the crowd really excited for the rest of the night.

Awolnation was the second opener, and they brought the energy with “Run,” which got the crowd (and the pit, especially) jumping like crazy, lighting up the arena with their energetic tempo and intense use of the electric guitar. Some fans behind us described Awolnation’s music as “so empowering I could run through a brick wall,” which is harshly true.

From their ‘80s, hipster-looking set, they seemed like they’d play California-rock music, but it was the total opposite. For their slower song “Handyman,” the lead singer, Aaron Bruno, asked everyone to lock arms and sway to the love song. People all around us grabbed each other as he said, and it was truly a beautiful scene to witness strangers united in this way. Shortly after, the crowd lit up again during “Burn it Down,” and the whole pit was dancing until the band performed their notorious song “Sail.” Hearing this song live was iconic, and it was crazy to see everyone “emo” as many put it. My friend and I could not stop screaming during this song. The song and just the general energy of the band were great live.

After a short break, the monotonous sound of a hum started playing throughout the arena and the green light shined on the curtain. It was time for Twenty One Pilots.

Swirls of nitrogen gas began to fill the pit, and the shadows of the drummer, Josh Dun, appeared on the curtain. After two minutes of ominous sounds, the curtain dropped revealing a burning car with the lead singer, Tyler Joseph, positioned on top of it. The duo opened with the rebel sounds of “Jumpsuit” leading into their fast-paced rap “Levitate,” during which Tyler “levitated” above the stage with his microphone into one of their older songs, “Fairly Local.” The introduction to their set was breathtaking, and you couldn’t help but stand there in awe and scream the whole time.

After doing his infamous death drop, Tyler fled the stage and appeared in the audience, seated in the first level of the area and shocking the entire crowd. Having been to one of their shows before, this trick Tyler played was not new to me but where he ended up was. He disappeared again to return the stage to perform two of their more famous hits, “Stressed Out” and “Heathens.” Something that is special about the band’s shows is that they like to engage the crowd a lot throughout the night. During “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV,” Tyler had the crowd chant the opening verse of the song, “yeah, yeah, yeah,” a few times before playing it, each time asking the crowd to scream louder. He had the fans in the pit get real low during the bridge in “Lane Boy” before enticing a full-on rave during the chorus, which was the craziest experience at a concert for me.

Before performing a couple of songs on their B-Stage in the back of the arena, a catwalk levitated down from the ceiling for the band to sing part of “Nico and the Niners” on. This technique was absolutely amazing to witness in the pit as Tyler sat on the edge letting his feet hang above our heads. Returning to the main stage, the band was joined by the opening acts of the night to perform renditions of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles and “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Twenty One Pilots has always been humble in this way by including the musicians they tour within their set, and they always make it a point to recognize their talents, too. After the jam session with the other artists, Twenty One Pilots performed three more songs including “Ride” and “My Blood” before closing out the night with a long finale.

Transitioning to only the piano and drums, they performed “Car Radio,” and there was not a dry eye in the arena, including myself. Everyone in the pit was furiously chanting the lyrics through the tears, and Tyler himself struggled to tap the piano keys without pausing. They ended the night by performing part of their new song “Leave the City” before going into a song from their second album, Vessel. Towards the end of the song, the duo went into the pit and stood atop fans holding them up, as they violently beat on their drums during the ending melody with yellow confetti blasting out into the crowd. This moment was blissful in itself as the confetti pieces were swarming the pit, but hearing the song that is famous throughout the fan base was incredible.

This show was filled with stage changes, floating objects and flashing lights, all of which contributed to the emotional night. Overall, the connections I made with other fans of Twenty One Pilots was unlike any other I have ever made, and everyone was overwhelmingly supportive and friendly to each other. I was crying for almost half of the show, but hearing some of my favorite songs live made my life so much better — not to be dramatic. This was no doubt one of the best concerts I have ever been to, and I cannot wait to experience it again next year on their second leg of the Bandito Tour.