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Twenty One Pilots Bring Us Into The Trench

The Bandito Tour Comes To Saint Paul- Concert Review

Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Max Frost, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul
Photo by Sara Fish

Earlier this month, Twenty One Pilots released their 5th studio effort entitled Trench. A story-driven album, Trench takes listeners through the trials of a character named Clancy who is escaping the city of Dema. This high concept idea was brought to life last night in Saint Paul.

Despite being out for only two weeks, fans have truly taken to the aesthetics and story of Trench. Most were dressed in camouflage and bright yellow like in the music videos. Twenty One Pilots has a massive, incredible, and at times overwhelming fan base.

Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Max Frost, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul
Photo by Sara Fish

Truth be told I have fallen out of love with this group. Their album Blurryface proved to be overexposed and the fan base really made me turn away. However, their performance last night was a glowing reminder of why I fell in love with this band in the first place.

This was my 4th time seeing Twenty One Pilots live. I’ve seen them play Skyway Theater, Myth, and the Xcel. As they grew with each tour, I felt more distant from the once intimate and personal band I fell in love with. This love would be reignited during their 2-hour set.

Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Max Frost, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul
Photo by Sara Fish

Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun know how to bring an album to life. The show began with Dun standing with a lit torch, echoing the visual aesthetics established throughout their newest music videos. Joseph would then emerge from the floor on a burning car.

The group began their set with recent hit “Jumpsuit” and would then continue to play hit after hit. Each song was met with strong visuals and breathtaking lights. Out of all the shows I’ve seen this year, this had the greatest production quality by far.

From burning cars, piano backflips, and walking across the audience on a sky bridge, no words can truly some up Sunday night’s show. Twenty One Pilots has this ability to take a large space and make it feel intimate. The best example of this is when the band took to the B Stage.

Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Max Frost, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul
Photo by Sara Fish

My favorite moments of any concert are when things come to a stop for a moment, and you can really take it all in. As the band sat on the B stage, Joseph played a rare deep cut entitled “Taxi Cab” off their self-titled album. This moment brought me to tears.

The highlight of the night was the track “Neon Gravestones.” The light show was beautiful and the song’s meaning is important. With a message of staying alive, Joseph sang from an emotional place and touched everyone in the arena. His emotion and poise make me love this group.

Max Frost, Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul
Max Frost Photo by Sara Fish

Opening the show was singer Max Frost and Awolnation. Frost has a one-man band gimmick similar to Ed Sheeran; it’s just him and a loop pedal. His voice was radio friendly and I can see him soon becoming the next teen heartthrob.

He played a track about his money problems, which didn’t sell me at all because he must be making bank touring with the biggest alternative band in the world. However, he had great energy and was an enjoyable way to start the night.

Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul, Max Frost
Awolnation Photo by Sara Fish

Awolnation blew my mind. I adore this group and their overall sound. They opened with a mash-up of their songs “Run” and “Here Comes the Runts.” Lead singer Aaron Bruno was on a quest to find the best dancer in the room. If I had been on the floor I would’ve won- just saying.

Both opening acts joined Twenty One Pilots on stage to do covers of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls and “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. It was so cool to see all the acts doing that- I appreciated how Twenty One Pilots gave such a spotlight to their openers.

The show wasn’t without some eye roll moments. One example of this was a video that showed the journey of Joseph’s iconic red hat getting to the show, ending in the hat literally descending down from the ceiling. Despite it being really silly, I found some ironic enjoyment in it.

I had an amazing time seeing Twenty One Pilots. Even though I sometimes cringe at the intensity of their fan base I remember how I was when I first found the group. I was just like all the new fans in the audience last night.

I wish I had Twenty One Pilots when I was growing up. Their music is thoughtful and emotional. I regret ever turning away from the group. They’re the best live performers out there, Trench is a masterpiece, and I will never forget my experience at this tour.

Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, Josh Dun, Awolnation, Aaron Bruno, Max Frost, Xcel Energy Center, Bandito, Bandito Tour, Bandito St. Paul
Photo by Sara Fish

Setlist:

  1. Jumpsuit
  2. Levitate
  3. Fairly Local
  4. Stressed Out
  5. Heathens
  6. We Don’t Believe What’s On TV
  7. The Judge
  8. Lane Boy
  9. Nico and the Niners
  10. Taxi Cab
  11. Neon Gravestones
  12. Bandito
  13. Pet Cheetah
  14. Holding on to You
  15. Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls
  16. Hey Jude by The Beatles
  17. Ride
  18. My Blood
  19. Morph
  20. Car Radio
  21. Leave The City
  22. Trees

 

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Written by Dylan Novacek

Graphic designer and photographer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Fan of mid 2000s emo, late 90s boy bands and everything in between. Recent graduate from Concordia, Saint Paul. Check out my work: https://dylannovacek.myportfolio.com/

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