Twenty One Pilots have never been ones to rest on their laurels. Everything about ‘Blurryface’ saw Tyler and Josh dream bigger, achieve more. From the record, to the live show, they practiced perfection at every turn and time away hasn’t dampened their search for pristine and polished. ‘Trench’ is deeper, more delicate and more deliberate. It only seems right that their Bandito Tour follows suit.
The Regrettes are driven by a similar lust for adventure. There’s not a hint of hesitation as the band take to the expanse of Wembley Arena. From the opening invite of ‘California Friend’, the band are a fizzying flurry of beaming grins, snarling frustration and unwavering self-love. ‘Picture Perfect’ bubbles with the same excitable threat of early Arctic Monkeys while ‘Hey Now’ thrashes with a bursting heart. Closing song ‘Poor Boy’ serves as an everyday reminder “of how special and important” the voices of women are while party poppers and glow stickers light up the room.
From Josh walking into the darkness of Wembley Arena with a lit torch to Tyler emerging from the floor atop a burnt out car, the world of Trench is slowly introduced.
‘We Don’t Believe What’s On TV’ hints at what’s to come, snapshots of the unfurling adventure shown on TVs on the video screen while the figures of Fame and Success burst onto the stage for ‘Lane Boy’, trying to distract with plumes of smoke. The city of DEMA is shown in all it’s ominous glory during ‘Nico and the Niners’, silence reigns as Tyler stares up at it before escaping across a floating bridges that’s descended across the audience. Later on ‘Leave The City’ sees them turning out Neon Gravestones as yellow confetti ascends. “In time I will leave the city, for now I will stay alive” sings the entire room. The camera pans back, revealing a world of yellow lit hope outside of DEMA as the crowd, united as one voice admits, “In Trench I’m not alone. These faces facing me, they know what I mean,” as the cinematic landscape reverts back to pencil-drawn sketches on a wall that was how this all started.
Every moment of tonight’s show is rooted in story-telling, in adventure and escape and the ever-expanded, highly detailed world that Twenty One Pilots have created with ‘Trench’. It never takes away from the very real connection they have with the room, and every person within it though.
The band are confident, happily playing their two biggest hits within the first fifteen minutes, and know how to take ownership of a room this vast. They make the security at the front dance before ‘My Blood’, they try (and fail) to play The Quiet Game and there are deliberate glances down the barrel of the camera, making the show feel intimate. Tyler steps back and watches the crowd sing ‘Cut My Lip’ and the invitation to “lean on my pride” in awe.
“I feel sensitive. I don’t want it to be the same show,” admits Tyler during the second of their three-night stay at the venue. “So I trimmed my fingernails. That’s dedication,” he grins.
Despite their quest for perfection, the show never retreads its steps. Always facing forward, and always reacting to what’s going on around them, the Bandito tour is a living, breathing beast that every person in attendance has a hand in shaping.
Just like the band, tonight is about so much more than two people. It’s about the worlds we can create together. Heartfelt, powerful, universal and intimate, Twenty One Pilots are at their peak. And they’re only going to get better.