An Open Letter to Tyler and Josh

‘Thank you’
Those two words, in relation to what Twenty One Pilots have done for me, always feel a bit redundant.

Thank you is what you say when someone holds a door open for you, or when someone passes you the peas at dinner, or wishes you a happy birthday. Thank you are words that are part of our every day lives. So how can those same words be enough to express how truly grateful I am for this band and for your music and your message? How can ‘thank you’ ever be enough?

Unfortunately, thank you is all I have.

I could tell you that the reason I did all of this crazy ‘following you across Europe and spending several nights camping out on the streets of various countries’ thing was all to show you how thankful I am. And partially, that’s true. Part of the reason I dedicate so much of my time and money and energy to this band is because I want you to know, I want you to see how much it means to me, and I want to give back to you in every way I can. So if that means spending every spare penny I have on your incredible live shows, I’m going to do it. And knowing that through doing so, I have contributed to your financial stability and more importantly, your joy, even just a little bit, even though I am just one, barely significant person, then that makes everything I do so worth it.

But the truth is that I also do all of this for me too. And in some ways, running off to follow a band on tour was the most reckless and selfish thing I have ever done. But I made the greatest memories, the most wonderful friendships and had the absolute best experience of my life because of it.

And what I cannot forget, what I cannot escape from, is that I wouldn’t even be here to have had these wonderful experiences if it wasn’t for Twenty One Pilots.

12th May 2015. That was the day I first saw you perform live. You played the Deaf Institute in Manchester, a tiny 200 capacity venue with weird wallpaper on the stage. That was one of the most important days of my life. That was the day I made the decision to live.

The absolute truth is that I was in the worst place I have ever been. I have no idea if you would remember, but I actually gave you a letter when I met you after the show explaining how much you had already helped me prior to that show. And you did. You really did.

I remember so clearly when I first started listening to your music. It connected with me and spoke to me in a way no other person, no other music, ever had. There are lyrics of yours that I have said, or thought, or written before even hearing them. And there are lyrics of yours that I had needed to hear for years without even realising it. Somehow this music knew me. It knew my biggest fears, and my darkest secrets and my hardest struggles and it showed me that I was not alone in any of them. For the first time I felt that there was someone out there that really, honestly got it. And for the first time, in my dark hole that I had been dwelling in for so long, there was hope. Real, honest, bright as fuck hope.

Unfortunately though, as bright as the hope was, I was too far in the darkness to know how to use it. And as the day of your show got  closer and closer, I only fell further and further down.

But that show changed something in me. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it’s because of the friends I made in the line. Maybe it’s because of the way the beat of your songs rippled through me and reminded me of what it meant to feel my heart beating. Maybe it’s because live music is the closest thing to magic we have in this world.

But whatever it was, I went into that show wanting to die and I came out of it desperately wanting to live.

Since then I have been to 17 more Twenty One Pilots shows and every single one of them has retained that same magic and that same feeling – the feeling of being alive, and being so fucking glad to be alive.

And the thing is, I know you’re just people. You’re just human. And I know that. But I think that, in part, is at the very essence of why Twenty One Pilots brings people so much hope.

Because you are just two guys from Ohio that wanted to start a band. And you have struggled with stuff and you have not only got through that, but you created something so beautiful and so helpful and so important. And that inspires us to create something too. You have shown us, shown the world, that humanity has so much capacity for good. And that we all have so much potential to create and survive and succeed in our lives.

So, thank you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish you all the happiness you can possibly hold. I wish you all the joy the world can possibly hold. And although I hope very much that Twenty One Pilots keeps going for a long, long time, please know that what you have done, and what you have created will stay with us forever. Nothing about this is temporary.

And although maybe, as your success has grown, some of our voices may get drowned out by other voices, please know that we are still here. Know that no matter what, we will always be here.

But in the meantime, look after yourselves. Get some rest. Eat a vegetable every now and then. Tell Michael we miss him. And know that even though these words are all I have, I mean every single one of them.

Thank you Tyler and Josh. Until next tour,


Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Thank You’s

I wasn’t totally sure I was going to make this post. Part of me felt like it would be really pretentious of me to sit here and write out some unnecessarily long Thank You speech like I’d just won a fucking Oscar.

But at the same time, there are so many people and things that I owe so much to from this tour. And quite honestly, it would be inconsiderate and ignorant of me to have NOT created this post.

So, without further ado, I would like to thank:

  •  Google Maps. You saved my life every day of this tour. Without the genius behind Google Maps I wouldn’t have even made it out my front door.
  • Uber. I mean, seriously, a 40 minute journey in central London for less than £20? You are the fabric holding this society together.
  • McDonalds. I am forever in debt to those 24 hour golden arches of hope.
  • My mum. Seriously, what a woman. I’m a nightmare and you just ride with it.
  • Stefan, George, Mark, David and the rest of the team at Ally Pally. Despite the fact that absolutely no one could have been overjoyed at the sight of a bunch of teenagers, blankets and tents, you welcomed us with so much generosity and respect. Thank you for everything you did to make me and my friends have one of the best weekends of our lives.
  • Rasoul from SafeStore. You literally saved our lives when you let us warm up in your office. And in this shitty ass world, your kindness stood out so, so bright.
  • Judith from Max-Schmeling Halle. Wonderful woman.
  • That random German girl whose name I can’t remember but who gave me her hoodie in Berlin when it started raining. I lost your hoodie, but I’ll keep the sentiment forever.
  • That internet cafe in Paris. If you had not existed I would have failed my essay, ruined any chances of getting a degree and ended up homeless by the age of 25.
  • Peter, for being a top bloke.
  • Seth, for being a literal angel and helping me out with my ticket situation in London.
  • That bus driver that let me and Ellie on for free because apparently London has become some futuristic hell society where no one accepts cash anymore.
  • Medhi and Moe (29). Michael was always going to be a tough act to follow, but you guys didn’t shape up too bad. Thank you for everything you do to make the shows possible, for looking out for us and checking the number system worked out. Moe, keep rocking that cap.
  • All of the TOP crew – you do an incredible job. Thank you for everything, from creating some of the best visuals I’ve ever seen to making sure none of us actually suffer death by giant hamster ball, your work by no means goes unappreciated.
  • Brad and Mark, thank you for capturing me and my friends at our happiest and for being the greatest supply of Josh and Tyler content we could ever wish for. But seriously, you guys are artists and your art is phenomenal.
  • To all of you I met along the way – Pia, Kora, Maria, Nicholas, Zuzanna, Karina, Charlie, Baru, Blanka, Agi, other Pia, Lizzie, Dany, Chloe, Ruby, Matt, Natelya, Nikita, Olivia, Haley, Sarah, Becka, Marina, Jodie, El, Gina, those two girls that let me leave my stuff in their car at Ally Pally, Ali who also allowed me to use her car as storage… I hope I didn’t forget anyone! Your generosity was unbelievable. Thank you so much for being some of the greatest, kindest people I’ve ever met. I’m so glad the internet is a thing so we can stay in contact.
  • And of course, these idiots that are some of my greatest friends – Joey, Ellie, other Ellie, Pete, Jack, Cora, Lauryn, Erin, Han, Emma, other Emma, Kat, Katya, Hollie, Jodie, Sofia, Faith, Ana… I probably forgot people but you know who you are and you know I love you.
  • LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT READ MY POSTS. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much these stats that tell me people are seeing these words, or your unbelievably kind comments and Tweets and messages mean to me.
  • Finally, thanks to those nerds Josh and Tyler. I wouldn’t be desperately poor, addicted to the internet or at risk of failing my degree and ruining my entire life if it wasn’t for you. But then again I’d probably be dead, so there’s that. Thanks for all of it.

Katie does Emotional Roadshow: Part 9 – Paris

Paris was the last show of the tour. And even though I hadn’t slept in days, hadn’t showered in over a week and honestly felt like I was dying, I really, really didn’t want it to be over.

I honestly don’t even remember much of the journey from Brussels to Paris. I just know that me, Cora, Emma and Jack got on a bus and four hours later we were in France.

By this point, I was starting to get kind of grumpy. The sleep deprivation had definitely got to me. But we went to a cafe and we got coffee and French croissants and after that I was okay again. I was ready for one more day.

However, my essay deadline was also that day. I’d been finishing up my essay on the bus ride over, and then as the others all joined the queue I had to Uber it into central Paris to find an internet cafe so I could actually upload it.

Sidenote: Ubers are really fancy in Paris, they all drive Mercedes and wear suits like wtf

Other, more important sidenote: Don’t follow a band across the continent during your final and most important year of university.

So I found an internet cafe and somehow managed to navigate my way through French Google to get up Turnitin and got my essay uploaded. I have never felt so relieved.

I got myself some quiche with like half a broccoli in it to celebrate and let me tell you, it was damn good.

I rejoined the others in the queue after that. Jodie, Dany and Chloe were already there and it was so nice seeing them again. I’d already decided I wanted to do B stage, where Josh and Tyler perform Ode To Sleep and the medley, that show so I wasn’t that worried about being near the front.

It was a pretty typical day of queueing, really; we ate pizza, we got cold, Mark from ReelBearMedia filmed us all (if this footage ever emerges online anywhere I’m doomed because by this point I’d been sleeping on the street for weeks and any hope of make up improving my face had now been abandoned) and Jack dancing got put on French TV.

A pretty surreal thing happened though. This French girl called Zoe came up to me in the line to tell me how much she loved my blog! I had a couple of people I didn’t know in Berlin tell me they read it too. That was a pretty cool moment. It’s nice to know anyone reads these posts, let alone people in different countries.

As it was the last show of the tour I also said a pretty emotional goodbye to Peter. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Peter before but basically he’s from Bristol and he works with the band. I met him in a bar in Berlin and we got chatting and since then we’ve said hey to each other and had a bit of a chat at each show. Great guy, Peter. And he gives me some nice info on the TOP boys… Anyway, he gave me a big hug to say bye. Gonna miss that guy.

Me, Emma and Cora got to B stage and we were lucky that it wasn’t that far from the main stage either so we could see the entire show perfectly.

It was actually really cool to experience a Twenty One Pilots show from the back for once. I finally got to appreciate the incredible lighting and effects that go into it. They’re just two guys but god they put on a show.

When Tyler and Josh came to the B Stage it was amazing. It was kind of like for those 15 minutes I was back at an old show; tiny stage, songs from Vessel and the self-titled record… Josh and Tyler even brought out the skeleton hoodies.

It was beautiful. As much as I love all the effects that go into the shows, some of my favourite moments are when it’s just the two of them, a drum kit and a piano.

After the show, we regrouped, we hugged and we got emotional for a little while and then me and Cora went back to our Hostel and crashed. I don’t think I have ever slept as well as I did that night.

The next day we had a bit of time to be tourists, so me and Cora headed straight to the Eiffel Tower, of course. We were lucky, it was a beautiful day and the Eiffel tower itself is pretty impressive.

We met up with Emma, Jodie, Chloe and Dany there.

We had all really wanted to get tattoos together, but all of us except Emma decided against it, so the rest of us went with her as she got her tattoo instead, which was still pretty cool.

We then went to a bakery and bought French Baguettes because to be quite honest that was the only reason me and Cora even went to Paris. They did not disappoint.

We wandered for a little bit and got food at a cute Parisian cafe. It was such a nice day.

Unfortunately, we accidentally booked our flights from an airport on the other side of Paris so we had a really long journey involving French trains and French buses… I dont know how we did it, but we did it.

I did it. I got on that flight from Paris to Manchester and that was it – the last step of the journey. Tour had ended.

Every day since then has truthfully kind of sucked. It’s hard not to feel down when your day no longer consists of adventuring in foreign countries and seeing your favourite band, but staring into The Void that is your future. I also developed a pretty awful case of flu which made getting back into a routine even more difficult.

But I am so glad I did it. I truly had the greatest experience of my life. And I proved that I could do it. I budgeted efficiently, I navigated my way through foreign cities, I travelled across countries and I met so many wonderful people.

I cant thank everyone enough for making this tour such an amazing time for me.

But most importantly, I guess, thank you to Tyler and Josh. They killed it every single night. And they’re the ones really that gave me this experience and gave me these friends and gave me the ability to have these opportunities. And all I really have to say is… I’m so fucking glad I stuck around for all of this.

K x