Setting the stage on fire—literally—Twenty One Pilots’ Bandito Tour blazed into Austin.
Singer, pianist and guitarist Tyler Joseph and drummer Joshua Dun are known for their energetic performances, and on this night they didn’t disappoint the “Skeleton Clique” (the moniker given to Twenty One Pilot fans).
Earlier in the day, fans arrived clad in yellow and black, the color scheme used by the band on their latest album “Trench,” released in October 2018. Once the doors opened, there was a rush to claim the best seats in front of the stage, closer to the band. As the tension mounted before the duo took the stage, lit-up cell phones filled the arena, creating a bright wave across the Frank Erwin Center.
After Bear Hands, a modern-rock band from Brooklyn, had finished their opening set, Dun walked out on stage carrying a torch, wearing a yellow ski mask and with Twenty One Pilots’ signature “X” on his chest. As Dun approached his drum set, Tyler Joseph arose from the stage standing on top of a car, which was set ablaze as “Jumpsuit,” the first single from “Trench” started.
As they played through old favorites and newer hits (including “Stressed Out” and “Heathens”), the crowd sang every lyric. At times, Joseph would step back from the microphone and let the crowd sing for him.
Before performing “Legend,” Joseph told the crowd that the song was written for his grandfather, Robert Joseph, who passed away last year. “He taught me one thing,” explained Joseph. “That life is worth it, and to keep fighting all the way to the bitter end.” Joseph’s grandfather died while the band was recording “Trench,” in March of 2018, and Joseph has described “Legend” as the hardest song to write on the album. Robert was a big fan of his grandson’s work, and was included on the album cover of 2013’s “Vessel.”
Did we mention? Twenty One Pilots are known for their energetic shows. On this night, from Joseph’s walk across a bridge over the fans, to Dun’s jumping onto the piano and doing a backflip, the band made sure the crowd was entertained. As both members headed over the bridge and back to the main stage, Dun took off his yellow raincoat, revealing a white shirt with a hand-drawn Texas state flag, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
After crossing the bridge, Dun and Joseph slowed things down and played their more musically rich songs, which included “Smithereens,” “Pet Cheetah” and “Bandito.”
The Bandito Tour may be winding down, but Joseph and Dun made sure that the crowd left this show feeling amped. During the song “Morph,” which included a cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” Dun climbed onto a drum set being held up by the crowd. Joseph also stepped off the stage and into a mosh pit of fans, who held him up while he sang. The encore was comprised of the band’s single “Chlorine,” and ended with the fan favorite “Trees.”
Cover photo Brian Maass