Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 8 – Brussels

It has taken me a really long time to get around to writing the Brussels post. Partially because between now and then I have had to return to Real Life, but mostly because Brussels was probably my favourite show of the tour and I wanted to do it justice. And it definitely felt like it was one of Josh and Tyler’s favourites too. Sometimes there is just something special, an extra level of intensity between the band and crowd that is both subtle and extremely powerful. I don’t really know what it is, I just know that the Brussels show had it.

Brussels was nice because there was a big group of us all going together – aka these idiots.

We all met up at the airport. It was actually the most stressful flight of my life because someone almost missed the boarding, mentioning no names… *cough* Kat.

But we all made it and it was only about an hour to Brussels.

We made it to the venue – the Vorst Nationaal at about midnight.

Obviously the squad pic was necessary.

Only four other people were already there, one of them being Pia from Berlin and Prague and it was so, so nice to get to spend another show with her.

Emma and Jack joined us there and a little while later we were also joined by Marina and Becka.

Queueing in Brussels was… wet. It literally rained for 18 of the 19 hours we were queueing and everything got soaked; my bag, my clothes, everything.

Luckily Emma, being the hero that she is, brought wine and we all ended up spending several hours huddled in a bus stop, drinking wine and wondering why the fuck we were homeless in the middle of Belgium anyway.

We ended up having a laugh though, like when a drunk guy fell asleep with his pants down, while taking a piss on one of the tour buses. And when a group of us went to this random cafe and stood outside the door before it had even opened, totally soaked and begged the guy working to let us in. And when five of us crammed into an uber and the guy kept telling us he could only take four people so we ignored him until he drove us anyway. And when Ellie met her hero Mark from ReelBearMedia while literally wearing a binbag.

All the waiting in the rain amd crying into Belgian waffles was worth it though, because the show itself was actually iconic.

We were centre barrier and it was honestly the most amazing feeling getting to experience the show with these guys. Singing along and doing the Lane Boy crouch-jump and rapping terribly to Ode To Sleep and crying during the medley and nearly getting killed by a grown man in a hamster ball all became even more special because I was doing it with them. We all got to have this crazy, amazing, emotional experience together.

But the show didn’t just feel special for us; the entire crowd was so into it, and so were Josh and Tyler. Heathens, which is always on another level, totally ignited that venue. We Don’t Believe Whats on TV was unbelievable amounts of fun. And when they went to the B Stage, it was actually really amazing to be focused not on the band in front of us, but on us. We all grouped up and totally lost ourselves in the music – jumping and singing to Ode To Sleep together is one of the best memories I have, me and Emma smashed that rap in Forest and I just know I held onto Cora so tight during Kitchen Sink. This band has done a lot for all of us, and every single one of us one way or another was brought together through them. And I just became so acutely aware of how lucky I was in that moment.

*Ahem* So anyway, back to Twenty One Pilots.

Holding Onto You is one of my favourite songs, and one of my favourite moments of every show because Tyler comes into the crowd for the first verse. Every show, he looks out at the crowd and chooses where he is going to go, and he just climbs up and stands on our hands and we hold him up. I have been fortunate enough to have been stood on by Tyler Joseph several times and let me tell you, that boy is heavier than he looks.

But anyway, Cora had brought her pride flag along and when Tyler was looking out to the crowd he looked directly at us and came right over. And I am telling you, it was because of the flag. He saw the gays and he came for the gays.

I did have to spend a lot of the time trying to hold Tyler’s foot away from Cora’s face so that he didn’t actually kill her, but nevertheless it was an amazing moment.

Just to make the show even more special, a butterfly somehow had made its way into the room and flew onto stage, where it stayed for the rest of the set. Tyler spoke about it during Trees and then, when the show was finished, James the butterfly flew right at us on barrier. It was the perfect end to a perfect show.

I love this band. And I love the people I spent that show with. Getting to be in a room with so many people that mean so much to me, being at that one place where we all truly belong… well, it kind of just felt like home. And I wish I could go back.

But I wasn’t quite done after Brussels. Me, Emma, Jack and Cora immediately made our way to Paris. How we did it, I have no idea, but we did.

So, until Paris gets written up,

K x

 

Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 7 – London Night 2

The plan had been to immediately start queueing for the Sunday show after the Friday one, but I was such a mess there was no way I could spend another night in the cold without at least taking a nap in an actual bed.

I had queued for about half an hour with my friends before I knew I had to leave, I was too ill to go without sleep again. So I attempted to book a hostel for the night – attempted being the operable word. I never managed to book anywhere because I couldnt understand why nowhere was letting me book for October, not realising that it was in fact the middle of November. That is how exhausted I was.

By the time I realised my mistake however, I had already made arrangements to go down to my mum’s house in Oxfordshire for a nap and a shower.

I literally do not deserve my mum because I just turned up at 4 in the morning for a nap, and she cooked me baked beans and gave me £10. What a woman.

I accidentally slept longer than I wanted to, so I rushed back to London as fast as I could and returned to our Gazebo of Suffering.

No, actually it was a really fun night which involved a lot of meme re-making, singing and these idiots actually trying to do their longest yeah boy.

Other things that happened, which can only happen in a Twenty One Pilots queue included:

  • Being woken up at 5am by someone playing Ode To Sleep on a kazoo
  • Hearing the words “I’m going to take that ukulele and shove it up their ass” several times on several different occasions
  • Someone saying “I just really want Tyler and Josh to hit me with their tour bus” and half the queue turning around to say “same”
  • Someone whips out the black paint and suddenly 50% of people have black hands and neck
  • Goner starts playing and everyone screams “NO!”
  • Jack starts dancing and we all pretend that we have no idea who the strange Australian guy that just slut-dropped to Stressed Out is.
  • “Who on earth brought a shower curtain?!” “OH, that’s Pete’s bed!”

It was an interesting time.

As well as being surrounded by my friends, I met a lot of really wonderful people in the queue at Ally Pally too. Olivia and Hayley had flown all the way over from America, and I met El and Gina who were lovely, plus Zuzanna and Karina from the Berlin show were there too.

One of the greatest moments though, was watching the sun rise over London on Sunday morning. Who knew London could look so beautiful?

Getting into the venue for night 2 was a bit of a mess, but I spent the show with Katya and Joey who made it so much fun for me. They are the comedy duo to end all comedy duos.

It was a great show, though as it was a Sunday the crowd seemed a bit younger that time around and a lot more people got taken out of the crowd. A few people even threw up in the pit which I hadn’t ever seen before. Just be careful if you’re going to queue up for a while; drink plenty of water throughout the day and don’t forget to eat. And please don’t go into the middle of the pit if you don’t think you can handle it. You’ll have a much better time seeing the show further back than you will from the sidelines, having just been dragged ass over tit across the barrier. Believe me, been there, done that.

For this show, I made sure to not film or take any photos through the entire set, only getting my phone out to film Tyler’s Trees speech at the end. And it was so much fun, just being in the moment. There isn’t anything sadder than seeing 10,000 people all stood there filming, rather than jumping with their arms up during a song like Car Radio. Taking a few photos and videos is cool, but don’t waste that moment by standing there filming just so you can add it to YouTube later. That moment doesn’t matter nearly as much to anyone else as it does to you, so live it. I realise the irony of me saying this in a blog post designed to include others in my experience, but I still made sure that I was as involved in every one of those shows as I possibly could be. Not to mention, it probably doesn’t feel great to look out from the stage and see a crowd of phones rather than a crowd of passionate faces.

i stole this picture from ellie pls dont sue me ily

So yeah, London was pretty wild. Thank you to everyone that made it the greatest experience ever. I miss you all so much. You’re the greatest people I know and I am so lucky to have you.

Until Belgium,

K x

Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 6 – London Night 1

Just after their two shows at Alexandra Palace went on sale, Twenty One Pilots announced a competition for UK fans. It was a little ambiguous, but essentially to enter you had to design a poster for the tour and submit it online. I didn’t enter myself, but friends of mine did and a little while later the winners were announced. Their art is incredible and absolutely worth checking out – the winning posters are also in this month’s Rocksound magazine.

However, what no one knew was that Twenty One Pilots were going to do something else with the winning posters – something bigger.

They filled the entirety of Wood Green Underground station, the stop for Alexandra Palace, with these posters. It was incredible to see. Every single billboard was taken up by a fan-designed Twenty One Pilots poster.

Honestly, I thought it was amazing. I mean, who does that? They gave those people the kind of exposure their art may never have been given. They gave their art a platform where thousands and thousands of people – fans and not – would see their creations. In a world where Donald Trump has just been elected as president, this was the greatest display of kindess I had seen in a long time.

The two Alexandra Palace shows were across the weekend, the first on Friday and the second on Sunday. So obviously, it was necessary to do both.

London was wild. It consisted of spending 5 days on the pavement outside Ally Pally, almost getting arrested and discovering the love of my life was in fact a Jamaican security guard by the name of George.

I moved into Ally Pally on Wednesday to start queuing with a couple of my friends for the Friday show. Maybe excessive, but we were first in line so it was worth it. Especially as another two people, called Marina and Becka, who were lovely and I ended up becoming really good friends with, joined about an hour later.

The problem was that because Ally Pally is city property we weren’t actually supposed to be there. But, when a person wants centre barrier a person wants centre barrier and there is no stopping them. So the four of us chilled out in the park for a while until around 10pm. Which was when the police turned up.

They weren’t too happy. Have I mentioned that we had already been turned away? Well we had. And we didn’t listen. So by this point we were being threatened with arrest for tresspassing and decided to get the hell out of there faster than Tyler does his magic disappearing act during ‘Hometown’. A member of the venue security did however tell us we could start an “unofficial line” just not on park grounds.

So that is the story of how I ended up spending a night on the actual streets of London.

There really wasn’t anywhere for us to go, other than a random patch of street just outside the entrance to the park so that is where we stayed. All night.

By this point Jack and Abbie had joined us. Also by this point, the rest of the internet knew that we were there and boy, some of them were not happy.

Online hate is honestly my favourite thing. I mean it’s horribly anxiety-inducing, but some of the things people come out with is incredible. It’s amazing how someone can hate another person that they know absolutely nothing about purely because of the anonymity a computer screen gives them. The people that weren’t happy were people that couldn’t queue up before the day of the show because they had school or parents, and were salty they wouldn’t get to the front. And I get it, I really do. I was 14 once. But now I’m not 14. I’m 20. And for some fucking reason, someone allowed me the responsibility of making my own life decisions. Not to mention, I have risked a lot for this tour. I did basically put my entire future at risk just to follow two sad, white guys across the continent. I have invested a lot in this, so I was not about to apologise for giving it everything I had.

Unfortunately, pre-teen Twitter didn’t see it that way. My favourite has to be when someone actually wished we all got constipation so we couldn’t go to the show. I’ve never had constipation wished upon me before, but I made sure I got extra spicy at Nandos that night just to be on the safe side.

Other than a couple of trips to Nandos and McDonalds, we spent the entire night freezing our asses off on the street. Hollie and Jodie joined us around 5am though, along with Rosie and Val so by then we at least had a full squad to freeze to death with.

It was about 6 or 7 in the morning when we were all resurrected by an unlikely hero from SafeStore. I won’t name him in case he could somehow get in trouble, but this guy from the SafeStore next to where we were pitched for the night, came up to us and offered to let us all stay in his office for a bit to warm up.

It was glorious. He let us just chill out and charge our phones, he even made us tea and coffee. I’m telling you; not all heroes wear capes. Some of them wear a navy blue SafeStore uniform and a smile.

After a little while we all decided it was time to suck it up and headed back out. This time we went back up to the venue and within minutes 10 of us became about 20. We just sort of stood aimlessly for a while until the guy I assume was in charge of security, called Stefan, came out and saw us. “Twenty One Pilots right?” He tried to hide a grimace. “We’ve been warned about you guys.”

He then went off and told us to wait, which we did, thinking he was probably going to come back with more police and an armed escort. However, when he returned he told us that we could all camp out for the show under this  giant gazebo they had outside the entrance. He gave us a sharpie to number ourselves in order of arriving, we were sheltered from the rain and he set up portaloos WITH plenty of toilet roll for us. Honestly, as far as queueing goes it was luxury.

Throughout the day people were arriving constantly, and we had a pretty cute setup under our gazebo. It was such a nice atmosphere.

Stefan was also amazing, and so was Mark and David and of course, the legendary George. I can’t begin to thank Ally Pally security enough for everything they did for us.

I had such a nice time. I was with all of my friends and the atmosphere under that gazebo was wonderful.Singing along to Twenty One Pilots with 60 other people in front of the London skyline at night has to be one of the best queue experiences ever.

This is me and Faith ready to sleep in our makeshift bed on the ground. George the security guy looked after us all night and he was so, so nice. He really didn’t have to give a shit about us, or the number system, but he did. Top guy was George.

The next day was so much fun. The sun was shining, I was with my favourite people, it was amazing.

The show itself was incredible. It felt really special and I think the fact that the whole group of us, the legendary “clukique” were together made it extra amazing.

We jumped and screamed and sang and cried, it was pretty emotional. You should have seen it – during Addict With A Pen the whole first two rows were just clutching each other and sobbing. What a mess.

Can we also please talk about that bit before We Don’t Believe What’s On TV when Tyler gets the crowd to shout “yeah, yeah, yeah”? Because, as bands do, he always acts like the first time the crowd shouts it wasn’t good enough and he gets so sassy about it. And I swear to God Tyler knows how fucking weak it gets me because he looks directly at me every. damn. time. I’m telling you, he knows.

K x

Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 5 – Prague

It’s been a little while since Prague, but I think about that show a lot. It was one of my absolute favourites; the city itself was beautiful, the people I met were the loveliest and the show was one I will never forget.

I was completely exhausted on my way from Berlin to Prague, but it was worth staying awake to watch the sun rise over the city from the coach as we made our way across countries.

When I got to Prague I got changed, washed and put some make up on in the station toilets. I got judged so hard but I paid 20 crowns to use that bathroom so I was going to get my moneys worth.

Finally presentable and looking slightly less on the verge of death, I headed out into the city.

It was so beautiful, full of old buildings and churches and the most incredible architecture.

The first place I went was to a market, where tiny stalls were selling all kinds of things, from the most amazing smelling food to hand-crafted furniture. I got some hot, spiced apple juice as I walked around and it was delicious.

After that I headed to a place called Old Town which was stunning. If you ever get a chance to go, please do.

Prague is wild though. You have Old Town, this extremely historical place and yet there are cocaine energy drinks and cannabis vodka and… a sex machine museum. No kidding. It’s like right on one of the main streets and you cannot miss it. When I first walked past it, innocent old me was like ‘oh cute, a model ferris wheel’… IT WAS NOT A FERRIS WHEEL. I REPEAT, NOT A FERRIS WHEEL. ABORT MISSION.

After that traumatising experience, amd wandering around Prague being a tourist for a few hours, I decided to head to the venue and oh boy, it was a treck. All I can say is thank God for Google Maps because without it, I would probably still be wandering around the Czech Republic now.

I was the first one at the venue, which I couldn’t believe as it was 6pm the night before the show (writing that down makes me realise just how ridiculous that actually is) but after wandering around the Tipsport arena for about half an hour I realised I was in fact the first. And it was just me and my German buscuits for about an hour until Pia arrived.

Pia is the girl I met in Berlin, and I was so glad to be with her again in Prague. We were joined by some really lovely people and we formed the nicest group including Baru and George and Lizzie – who was from Leeds, which was kind of surreal!

The queue was actually a lot of fun. Very cold during the night and Pia totally saved my life by letting me stay at her hotel for a couple of hours. I’ve relied so much on the generosity and kindess of others on this tour and it never fails to surprise me just how lovely people can be.

After a lot of vending machine coffee, the biggest pizza I have ever seen and a whole lot of laughter the time in line passed by really quickly.

Getting into the venue was insane – the barriers were opened and people just charged so that both people and barriers fell down. Luckily we were all at the front so we avoided the crush, and we all made it to centre barrier too.

I get asked a lot why barrier means so much to me, and honestly I don’t even know that I can properly answer that question. I mean yes, you can both see and breathe better. But it’s obviously more than that. I guess it’s got something to do with being so close to and seen by the band on stage… That connection with them is like nothing else in the world.

The Prague show felt especially like that – Tyler made so much eye contact and he smiled at us so big and it felt super special.

Both Josh and Tyler blew me away with that show. They did the full setlist minus Migraine and it seemed to go on forever, but I’m not complaining! Even the security guards in the venue kept turning aeound to watch the show behind them. Tyler would tell them to turn around, but he looked so happy about it. I mean, how often does that happen, really?

It was also the first time I got to see the medley and Ode To Sleep live which was insane. Ode To sleep is one of my favourite songs of all time and the medley includes some of the most important songs to me, so it was pretty special. I’m so glad they still play songs from their self-titled album, it’s an actual masterpiece and in a way it reminds me of how human they are… but maybe that sounds weird.

After the show I got a taxi to the airport and hung out there until my flight. By that point though, I was not feeling good. I could barely keep my eyes open and I was really ill. I don’t even know how I made it onto my flight, but evidently I did. Honestly, I didn’t even know that level of tired was possible. Once again though, vending machine coffee saved me.

Look at it. This is the greatest technological advancement of the modern age hands down.

I miss Prague, a whole lot. Like I said, I really will never forget that show. Thank you so much to Josh and Tyler and their crew and Pia and Lizzie and Baru and Rebekah and all of you for making it so wonderful.

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in London,

K x

Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 4 – I slept ?? In a bed ??

This is me contemplating the 10 hour sleep I just had in an actual bed and realising that I will never take a sleep that is not on the cold, hard pavement outside the Tipsport Arena for granted again.

So, I’m back in Manchester for a couple of days. I figured I should at least go to a couple of lectures, eat something of actual nutritional value and maybe take a shower or something. It was the best shower of my entire life, just by the way.

But back in Manchester means back to reality. And I don’t like it. It doesn’t make sense.

Why am I not being pushed against a barrier? Why am I not covered in sweat? Why am I not freezing cold on the streets of a foreign land? Where is Tyler? Where is Joshua?

I don’t understand. This is not where I belong.

As much as I miss tour life, though, the rest was seriously needed. Getting home from Prague was a struggle to say the least. I could barely keep my eyes open in the airport, I was really feverish and generally just ready for the sweet embrace of death.

Not really surprising though, as by that point it had literally been 4 days since I had last slept.

I made it home, though. And now I have three articles to write, two essays and an exam to revise for all before the London shows this weekend…

All I’m saying is that if I end up failing my degree and being unable to get a job because of all this, Twenty One Pilots better offer me a position as cheif coffee runner or something. After all, I am basically single-handedly funding their electricity bills.

I’m kidding, mum, dad. I’m not going to fail my degree. Please don’t call the police.

So, as I said, Emo Roadshow continues for me in London this weekend and I am extremely excited. Between now and then my post on Prague – which was the best show of the tour so far – will be up so keep an eye out!

Thank you, as always, for reading.

K x

Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 3 – Berlin

Three things everyone that has been to a Twenty One Pilots show will understand:

1. Finding the confetti from the Trees finale everywhere for at least 3 months after the concert. I deadass just went for a wee and found red confetti in my pants.

2. Can you rap the entirety of HeavyDirtySoul? No. Are you damn well going to try anyway, probably embarassing yourself and almost passing out from lack of oxygen in the process? Hell yes.

3. Finding yourself practically begging to be run over by a grown man in a giant hamster ball.

All three of these things happened to me at the show in Berlin, which was one of the best experiences of my life.

As soon as I arrived in Berlin I checked into our hostel and took my first and only shower of the entire week. And even then, I couldn’t wash my hair, had to use shampoo as body wash and I used a t-shirt for a towel so im not even sure it counts. This is the real tour life. I bet Tyler and Josh dont have to deal with this shit in their fancy ass tour buses.

Jack arrived not long after me and we headed out into the city.

The weather wasn’t great, but we went to Potsdamer Platz and saw part of the Berlin wall before getting something to eat.

We started lining up for the show the next day, which was the day before the show. Meaning we were freezing our assess off outside the Max-Schmeling Halle for a good 34 hours. Clearly, I must hate myself because why else would I do this to myself?

We were first in line along with a girl called Pia, and were then later joined by the very amazing Kora, Zuzanna, Charlie, Karina and Sarah and it was just us for a while which was actually so nice. The day passed so quickly. A woman called Judith that worked at the venue was so nice to us too, though I think she was pretty convinced we were crazy. She let us come inside to warm up and took a really hideous picture of us for their facebook page… I look like the poster child for juvenile heroin addiction.

Jack also built us a magnificent display of DIY and we had home for the next 30 or so hours…

Jodie, the love of my life, arrived with others at midnight and I ended up spending the show with these lovely, lovely people.

The day of the show was spent singing very dramatic renditions of Disney classics, eating a copious amount of fries at McDonalds in order to get the free wifi and getting rained on. A lot.

It continued to rain throughout pretty much the entire day, right up until doors, which was always going to be hell. Believe me when I say that there is no hell like the hell of the final two hours before concert doors. You’re there freezing your ass off because you had to remove all your layers before the show, your blood has literally turned to ice and the anxiety is unreal. Especially in europe. Because, as I mentioned, there’s no queueing. There is just The Crush. And being at the front of a crowd of thousands of  people all desperately waiting to charge through the same three doors as fast as they can into the venue, is terrifying. I mean seriously. In Berlin I got shoved into the security guy checking tickets so hard on the stairs we both nearly fell down them.

We all ended up at barrier though, and I couldn’t have been with a nicer group of people. I’ve said it before, but I really have been overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone around me at these shows and I feel so lucky to have made such amazing friends.The fact that we were all brought together through this one band and their music is really kind of special, and these are friendships I intend to keep for a very long time.

Do I even need to talk about how amazing the show was? You guys know this. But, just for the record, it was pretty amazing.

They also played the Jump Around cover which I have wanted to see live for ever. The second Josh whipped out that trumpet I was On It. So, so much fun.

But the best moment by far, was when Jodie did the Stressed Out handshake with Josh on stage.

Tyler is so sneaky, he deadass saw Jodie’s sign saying “handshake??” Before asking the crowd elusively if anyone knew the handshake before finally going to Jodie “oh you know the handshake??” And got her up on stage in front of 8,000 people to do it with Josh.

She smashed it.She really did. And all of us at barrier were cheering for her so hard, it was amazing.

Afterwards, Josh gave Jodie a drumstick and don’t tell her I told you this, but later on that night she fell asleep holding it.

The show itself was actually super emotional for me. I don’t know why, but as soon as Tyler played the first chords of Car Radio I was gone. I was a mess. What an embarassment I am.

I just couldn’t stop thinking about how far both me and this band have come over the past couple of years. In 2015 they were still playing 200 capacity venues and now they are selling out arenas across the world. And honestly, I don’t know a band that deserves this success more.

Fans always want to believe that their favourite band mean everything they say and that they’re genuine in everything they do, but too often that’s not the case.

With Josh and Tyler, I can confidently say it is. And it is their integrity and their honesty and the intensity of the connection between them and us that this success has stemmed from. And, of course, the fact that they make damn good music.

So, thank you Berlin and everyone that helped make it such an amazing experience. I can’t thank everyone I queued with enough.

Next stop is Prague, so until then

K x