Why I Followed The Same Arena Tour For A Year
Written by Rory Larrison on December 31, 2019
Ticketmaster’s relatively new ‘Fan Verified’ process has screwed me over before. Designed to keep tickets out of the hands of scalpers desperate to resell and make a living, the program ultimately made it more complicated and difficult for real, dedicated fans to see their favorite concerts live– and yet, mysteriously, tickets still seemed to show up on Ticketmaster’s convenient resale site and StubHub for literally thousands of dollars minutes after selling out.
For this reason, my friends and I were not given the opportunity to buy tickets for our favorite local band gone big, twenty one pilots, for their 2017 Tour De Columbus— we were forced to find a way in and swore to never again become victims of the Fan Verified process. So when twenty one pilots announced their 2018 tour, The Bandito Tour, we decided knew we couldn’t miss out again– so we went to five different shows of The Bandito Tour in four different cities.
Every time I told someone I was going to see the band again, they always had the same reaction. They’d question why I wanted to go see the same show over and over again, especially because concerts are becoming more and more expensive. Concert-goers are often used to and tired of this question, so I feel like it’s my duty to answer it once and for all.
Twenty one pilots are known for their live shows– in interviews they’ve expressed this, even going as far as saying that the majority of songs they’ve released were written around their concerts. When they see something missing in their concert, they write it into the show and release it on an album. For me, this has always played a large part of why I’m so in love with the music.
Both members, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, give so much energy into every single performance that it’s a miracle they don’t pass out on stage every single night.
With tricks like Joseph disappearing off stage and reappearing somewhere in the audience in a matter of seconds, Dun literally drumming on top of the crowd using a platform, and alternating between who gets to run in a giant hamster ball over the general admission section, it’s extremely difficult not to see that performing is the backbone to this band. Their music is meant to be experienced in a live environment, and the dedicated fanbase that this band has grown over almost ten years understand this. It’s why they love it so much.
I’d also like to point out as well that I was not seeing the exact same show five times in a row. Each leg of the tour was different, meaning I got to experience difference setlists, lighting, pyrotechnics and overall mood for each show. One small example is that our first two shows didn’t include Chlorine, a song off of twenty one pilots’ newest album, Trench.
The song was a huge hit with fans as soon as it was released and even peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #7. However, because the band did not anticipate such a strong reaction to the song, it didn’t even appear on the setlist until over three months into The Bandito Tour. Once it was added, fans went crazy for the song, and it became the final song before the encore.
Another great example of this is the infamous sky-bridge, a large bridge that descended from the ceiling and let Joseph walk overtop of the general admission pit as he made his way to the B-Stage.
This was an incredibly unique feature that I’ve never seen before in a live show and excited many fans as the lead singer was merely 4 or 5 feet above their heads.
However, during the 2019 leg of the tour, the band got rid of the sky-bridge and went for something a little more daring: Joseph proved his trust in the audience by asking them to split the pit down the middle and give him a walkway to dance over to the B-Stage. The only thing separating the audience from their musical hero was a thin strip of rope security strategically placed, and though fans were ruthless in trying to stand as close to Joseph as they could get, not a single person lunged at or tried to touch the lead singer as he passed them.
Although there are a thousand more reasons other than the ones I’ve listed, the most major and important reason that I choose to spend my time and money following around a band is that over time it’s become more than just a concert.
A lot of people at these shows have gone through similar experiences and emotions in their lives, which is why they all resonate so strongly with such specific music and the live shows put on by twenty one pilots. During the “Truce” singalong towards the end of one of the shows, I was so obviously overcome with emotion that a complete stranger standing nearby felt compelled to embrace me.
That sense of community is a common thread running through every person at that show; you can really feel it in the atmosphere. When the performers and all of the people around you have that common thread, it becomes almost therapeutic. Even if just for those two hours, the entire audience is able to leave the real world behind and quite literally step into Trench.
After exactly one year, two states, four cities, and five shows, I can only give one piece of advice: go see your favorite band as many times as you’d like. Regardless of what your family and friends say. If you have the money, the time and the opportunity to do so, and it makes you happy, it would make absolutely no sense to not to this. You’ll eventually run out of money. You’ll eventually run out of time. You’ll eventually run out of opportunities. So you might as well spend all of that on something that you really, really enjoy.