On Wednesday night, thousands of fans (mostly teenaged fans) packed inside the Smoothie King Center as Twenty One Pilots brought their Bandito Tour to New Orleans. The popular alt-rock group, Twenty One Pilots (TOP), is just made up of just two people, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. And the dynamic duo are known for their energetic live performances so I, of course, had high expectations. One fan even told me, “This will be one of, if not the best show you’ve ever seen.” Were my expectations met and exceeded? Keep reading to find out.
Twenty One Pilots’ Dedicated Fans
Let me start by saying, TOP fans do not mess around. When walking up to the arena, it didn’t take long to notice 90% of the concert goers were decked out in all the yellow and black. If they weren’t paying homage to the band’s latest album by wearing yellow & black, they were dressed in TOP merch.
While waiting in the photo pit, I had the opportunity to chat with a few fans that snagged spots at the front of the barricade. To my surprise, all three of them flew in from California just to see Twenty One Pilots for not their first or second time…this was their eighth show (and not their last). They told me their next stop is the Columbus, Ohio, show which is also Twenty One Pilots hometown show. They camped out for basically 24 hours for front row at the New Orleans show so one can only imagine what the hometown show will ensue.
It was one of the most interactive crowds I’ve ever seen. When I looked around the crowd of 10,000 people packed inside the Smoothie King Center, it seemed like everyone was genuinely a fan of Twenty One Pilots. And for a second it honestly felt awkward that I wasn’t a hardcore fan that knew all the words because everyone else in the room did.
The Attention Grabbing Show
Let’s just say Twenty One Pilots fans got their money’s worth. To sum up the night: burning cars, a b-stage, smoke machines, confetti for days, and having their favorite band perform on top of them. Twenty One Pilots opened up their New Orleans show in the most attention grabbing way. Dun appeared on stage wearing a black ski mask while carrying a lit torch before firing up his drums. As their song “Jumpsuit” started, Joseph (who was also sporting a ski mask) leapt off an old Cadillac as it burst into flames.
“We’re back and it feels good to be back here,” Joseph exclaimed to the crowd, “we’re gonna give you everything we have tonight and we hope to get something in return.” As someone who only knew three songs (yes, I went in only knowing the radio singles), I have to admit that Twenty One Pilots put on a better show than expected. For almost two hours they covered just about every genre of music from rap to reggae to rock. The night was filled with infectious tunes from their various eras that you couldn’t help but bop your head along to.
There were costume changes. There was a ukulele. There was a drum solo by Josh Dun. There was a moment when Tyler made his way to the back of the arena to a b-stage using a bridge that hovered over the GA crowd. There was a moment where two members of their crew jumped on stage dressed in gas masks & all-white boiler suits with fire extinguishers. There was a moment when Tyler told everyone in seated sections to sit and joked it was only fair since Josh had been sitting the entire show. There was a moment where SMG security guards danced on the big screen to show fans how to let loose and have fun.
My favorite moment of all was when Dun & Joseph ascended into the crowd during their final song “Trees.” I’ve seen artists pull crazy stunts during shows such as P!nk slingshotting across the crowd but this was so much different. The two band members finished off the show on platforms that were held up by audience members alone. The immense trust level and the genuine relationship these guys have with their fans was evident in that moment.
I don’t know if Twenty One Pilots is the best show I’ve seen but I can agree it’s up there as one of the best, especially since Josh changed into a shirt that had “NOLA Who Dat?” on it. If you missed Twenty One Pilot’s show or just want to re-live the night, you can watch clips of their performance on my Twenty One Pilots Instagram Highlight and view the photo gallery below.