Twenty One Pilots & AWOLNATION with special guest Max Frost
NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The Bandito Tour
October 27, 2018
On a rainy, windy and miserable evening in Nassau county, NY, Twenty One Pilots, AWOLNATION and Max Frost brightened and otherwise dreary day with a concert for the ages—which in most cases ranged from Tweens to Millennials.
The crowd, which also included a large number of Gen-Xers and a few Baby Boomers, filled the sold-out the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The venue, which since its renovation, has added the NYCB Live portion to its moniker was the site of a massive two-day camp-out prior to the event. The campers came early (with tents, sleeping bags and other equipment to allow them to brave the weather) and slept outdoors, lined-up and waited for the venue to open its doors at 6pm on the night of the show. These hearty souls were those who had purchased General Admission tickets and were jockeying for the opportunity to be as close to the stage as possible.
The concert, scheduled on the Saturday before Halloween, featured quite a few attendees decked out in their finest costumes. The fans came out in droves to see Twenty One Pilots perform songs from its canon and from it’s recently released rock opera album, Trench (WEA/Fueled by Ramen). Many were also there to see AWOLNATION, who were touring behind its critically acclaimed 2018 release, Here Come The Runts (Red Bull Records). The opening act, Austin-based singer/multi-instrumentalist Max Frost, is best-known for his single “Good Morning” and is definitely a name to remember.
The show began with Frost appearing alone on stage. Many of the older members of the audience seemed to feel that they were about to hear a DJ set. They were pleasantly surprised. Frost is actually a one-man band. The musician is equally adept on guitar, bass, and drums. He began each song by creating the riffs, beats and melody as tape loops. He then chose a specific instrument to accompany his recently created backing tracks. Frost delivered a powerful, funky and soulful performance. Highlights included “Money Problems,” the ballad “Sometimes” and “Adderall.” The set closer was “Good Morning.” The audience responded to Frost’s amazing performance with a standing ovation. Keep an eye on this rising talent. He’s got quite a future.
After a short intermission, AWOLNATION hit the stage. Before the band had played a single note. It had received a standing ovation. Lead singer Aaron Bruno and his band delivered a short but strong set 45-minute set that opened with the hit “Run” and closed with the band’s signature song, “Sail.” By opening with “Run,” the band immediately grabbed the crowd and got them into the mood to party. The fans in the General Admission pit were dancing and singing along with Bruno as he ran around on stage jumping and dancing his way through the set. The other members of the band were far from stationary. They bopped to the beat and played as they danced and swung their instruments around.
AWOLNATION treated the crowd to a set that was more like a short festival show. Bruno only spoke a few times. He asked the crowd to start a wave while he and the band played “Not Your Fault.” As the band began to play “Table For One,” Bruno asked the crowd to imagine what it would be like if Twenty One Pilots and AWOLNATION played at their prom. In addition to “Not Your Fault,” Table For One,” and the opening/closing tunes, the band’s set included: “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf),” “Handyman,” “Miracle Man” and “Kill Your Heroes.” The highlight of the evening was “Sail” on which audience participation took on a whole new meaning as the crowd screamed and screeched the word “sail” each time the lyric came along in the song. At the end, the band received another standing ovation.
Though their set was short and the banter was kept to a minimum, AWOLNATION turned in a performance that not only revved-up the crowd to Twenty One Pilots, it won over new fans and left the audience wanting more.
Once AWOLNATION had left the stage and the roadies began to set-up for Twenty One Pilots, the General Admission pit became more crowded. Audience members began to move closer to the stage where a large curtain was now gracing the front of the platform. When the curtain fell, the stage was bathed in bright lights and lasers, with brilliant pyrotechnics. The band members (Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun) appeared decked out in costumes and masks. This obviously delighted the fans, many of whom were dressed in Banditos-themed Halloween costumes. Dun carried a torch and a burning car rose from a pit at the rear of the stage. Joseph could be seen crouching on the roof of the vehicle. Once the car had risen to its final height, Joseph jumped off and was handed his bass guitar.
The musical portion of show began with a combination that would have done a boxer proud; it delivered as intended and clearly knocked-out the audience. The first five songs of the set were a mixture old and new: “Jumpsuit, “Levitate,” “Fairly Local,” “Stressed Out” and “Heathens.” While these songs were playing the audience was doused with more confetti than can usually been seen at a ticker-tape or championship parade. The audience members, on the floor, in the General Admission area as well as the majority of those seated around the venue were on their feet, dancing, singing, and bopping to the beat with a wild abandon seldom seen at an arena performance.
The band had quite a few surprises in store for its fans. In the middle of the arena, it had set-up a B-Stage. The second half of the show featured Joseph and Dun taking a stroll on a specially constructed bridge to the second stage outfitted with their piano and a drum-kit to perform “Taxi Cab,” “Neon Gravestones,” “Bandito” and “Pet Cheetah.”
Returning to the main stage for “Holding On To You,” Twenty One Pilots proved that it was not finished with thrilling surprises as it was joined by Bruno and Frost for an impressive version of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris and a beautiful version of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” The main set ended with “Ride,” the single “My Blood, “Morph” and the fan favorite “Car Radio.”
The concert ended with a two song encore—“Leave The City” and the group’s traditional performance closing tune, “Trees” during which the crowd supplied the majority of the vocals.
As the fans left the main portion of the arena, they were absolutely spent, but clearly not ready to go home. Capitalism and retain therapy were in fine form as the lines at the numerous merchandise stands stretched from the last table of one stall/booth to the beginning of the next which was located a few gates down the concourse.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon