It all started when my friend Alli introduced me to the band Twenty One Pilots towards the end of 2014. I started really getting into their music in January of 2015, so when the tour was announced we told each other we were going to make it happen and go together.
It was around the middle of October of last year when the tickets for Twenty One Pilots’ Emotional Roadshow tour were going on sale. We weren’t really focused on how we were going to get there--all we wanted was to have tickets to see the band that made us closer.
We decided that her mom should buy the tickets since she had more experience with Ticketmaster and would be able to buy them when they went on sale during the presale while we were at school. This is where it gets interesting. The day the presale was going on we had to take the PSAT at school. Alli was sick the day of the test, so she stayed home and was there when her mom bought the tickets. During the test I had my phone turned off and I finished right at the time lunch was starting, so it took a few minutes for my messages to come through once my phone was turned back on. I had more than 10 messages from her, but the one that stuck out the most to me was that we got pit tickets for only $60.
I was at lunch and I wanted to scream. My friends at my lunch table were so confused because when I walked up I was smiling from ear to ear.
“What’s up with you?” Alycia asked.
“Well today the presale tickets for Twenty One Pilots went on sale and Alli just texted me saying we got pit tickets!” I replied.
“Oh my God! That’s crazy!” Kinsley said.
“I know! They were only $60. How is that even possible?”
“I wish I was going,” Alycia said.
I kind of felt bad because I knew she liked them too, but Alli and I had been planning this for months before I even knew Alycia would want to go.
“I just can’t believe it happened. Like I wasn’t expecting anything, but a regular seat ticket, but no we literally are going to be front row.”
When I said we were going to be front row, I didn’t really think I would be right in front of the stage, I just knew we were going to try as hard as we could for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
The months went by slowly as the concert was more than eight months away, so I made it my motivation to get me through the rest of the school year. At times I even forgot I had tickets because we didn’t physically have them yet and it was all the way at the end of June of 2016.
It finally came around to the month of June and I was hired on to the movie theatre at my local mall as my first job. I had been working a lot of days in the month of June and the concert was the 28th so it was fastly approaching after all.
I had a manager named Lillian who was not much older than me. One night, we were closing together and she asked me what I had planned for the summer.
“I am going to a concert in a few weeks. I’m so excited.”
“Oh really! What concert?” she asked.
“I don’t know if you know them, but I’m going to see Twenty One Pilots.”
“What?! I am too! I’m seeing them in Charlotte,” she told me.
“Me too! I actually have pit tickets, which I am kind of nervous about.”
“Oh my God that will be amazing! I have lawn tickets,” she said, “Also, you have no reason to be nervous because I don’t think they are the type of band to have a really crazy audience in the pit, so I think you’ll be fine.”
Alli and I had to start preparing for the day of the concert, like what to wear and what time we would leave, stuff like that. We searched online for what time the venue would start to allow people to line up. The website told us 9 am which was a rude awakening for us because we realized how early we would need to leave to be outside the venue right at 9.
We did not care how early we had to wake up. We didn’t think, “Oh wow, we will definitely be right at barricade if we get there as early as possible.” It was just us thinking, “Okay so the earlier we arrive at the venue, the better chance we have at being close to the stage.”
The weather that day called for rain. Actually a storm. And the concert was outside. Cheap ponchos and an old umbrella would be necessary because security was tight. We also didn’t want to bring a bag inside due to standing and being packed so tightly for a long amount of time. We packed light, with a few snacks and six water bottles to stay hydrated during the wait.
Working the night before the concert was a little hectic because I packed everything when I got home and I needed to get sleep since I set my alarm for 5:45 am to take a shower, get dressed, and go get breakfast before we got on the road at 7:00 am. Even though I had to work, I worked with Lillian and we talked a lot about the concert, so it was cool to connect with someone above you who had the same interest as you.
The morning of the concert we were a little late getting on the road, which meant we wouldn’t be getting to the venue until 9:30. Alli was a little upset because it was her mom’s fault we weren’t leaving on time, but I assured her it would be fine and it wouldn’t affect our spot.
I was nervous the whole car ride because I had never done anything like this before. Neither had Alli. I could tell that she was nervous watching her mom drive away, and we both were suddenly all alone to figure out what to do next. I have never stood outside a venue in line for more than 9 hours in the hot, sunny atmosphere of Charlotte, NC. Alli and I did not know what to expect, so it made us both anxious.
We walked up to the venue and noticed that the line was divided into two sections already. We were in the second section and we just sat down on the ground. A lot of people were smart enough to bring foldable chairs and blankets to sit on for the long wait and the two girls next to us brought a board game to keep them occupied. I didn’t think anything of bringing items like that because I thought we would have to throw everything away before we went in. Well I was wrong. As the day went on, people were leaving the line, going to get food, and going to the bathroom, all the while leaving their things in the line. I had always thought that if you left your spot in line you would not be able to get back to where you were. Before we were let inside the venue, people went back to their cars and put their stuff away, which is the one thing I didn’t think anything of before hand.
That was hands down the most agonizing wait of my life. We had to sit on the hard ground and it drizzled off and on at times, so that was good since it wasn’t storming, but it was so hard sitting there all day, trying not to be on your phone to save your battery. It was the fact that you had to wait hours for something that you had already been waiting for, for eight months.
Although, waiting in line was not all bad. One cool thing that happened while we were in line was when the cameraman from Reel Bear Media came out and was filming some people if they had interesting stories about how they got into Twenty One Pilot’s music or if they had a cool tattoo related to the band.
It was around 4 pm when the security guards merged the two lines together. Around 5:30 they came by and handed out wristbands labeled “pit” if you had pit tickets. And WE HAD PIT TICKETS!!! The gates were supposed to open at 6, but they didn’t open until 6:30. And then it was absolute chaos.
There were around 8 security guards searching everyone as they walked through the gates, but once we were through security, it was fair game on who got to the pit first. Everyone was running after they got searched, so I told Alli to wait on me since I was behind her. Once we were both done, we took off running, around this wall, up some stairs and made it to the empty pit and we were at the barricade. We realized that we were off to the side and wouldn’t be able to see as well, so we moved behind two girls who were touching the barricade.
Placing my feet in that spot and seeing how close I actually was made it feel like it was just a dream. I would have never imagined being that close to the stage at any concert, let alone at a concert to my favorite band.
We had another half hour until the first opening act came on and it was so hot where the sun was literally beating down on us. We didn’t have water left to bring inside, so we were drinkless and I was honestly very scared of getting dehydrated and passing out before the show even started. The security guys in the front of the barricade decided to be extra nice and pass out cups of water to people that raised their hand and drinking the water sure helped a lot of people feel better.
Chef Special was the opening act and as soon as they started playing I felt my heart beating in my throat, that’s how close we were to the speakers. Their music was pretty good and their set was super short leading to the next opener, Mutemath. This band was way better and they even let some people in the audience play an instrument. After their set, there was about a 45 minute wait until Twenty One Pilots finally came out.
The flashing blue lights on the stage and the boys coming out in their red suits was an indication of how this night was only just beginning. I was in shock for a few minutes over how close I was to the people who brought my favorite lyrics to life. The first song was a few lines from “Fairly Local” and then it went into “HeavyDirtySoul” before switching to one of my favorite songs by them. “Migraine”.
The minute the music started I was ready to scream the lyrics. One of the coolest moments for me was when Tyler Joseph, the lead singer, put the microphone out towards my side for the crowd to sing for about 30 seconds. I continue to replay this moment in my head over and over.
The next big song for me was “Holding On To You” and during this song Tyler got into the crowd, putting his faith in his fans below him to hold him up for the first part of the song. He got back on stage and at one part of the song, Josh Dun, the drummer, gets onto the piano where Tyler is playing and does a backflip and Tyler runs and jumps over the piano to close the song. During “Ride”, Josh got into the crowd and was literally five feet from me. I couldn’t even believe I was that close to him; it was mindblowing.
The last song was called “Trees” and towards the end of the song, Josh and Tyler walk toward the pit. With the security guard’s help, the boys are lifted down from the stage and up into the crowd. The fans in the pit hold Tyler and Josh up as they beat on two drums on the platforms, rising from the center of the pit. Water and confetti shoots into the air bringing the final song to an end.
Watching the confetti fall down and having my favorite band right in front of me made me realize that I had never been more happy or content than I was in that moment. It’s probably cliche to say “Oh that was literally the best night of my life!”, but in all honesty, it was, hands down, the best night I had ever experienced.
I have never been one to connect to music and feel that the songs I am hearing are real or that the lyrics are completely understandable. That’s why the music Twenty One Pilots has created has changed me and my perspective. I connect to their music on a whole new level and I relate to so much that they share in their words. I get down and put a lot on myself, but then I listen to their songs and really listen to the lyrics instead of just hearing them, and I understand that I will be okay and their music allows me to have hope and faith in life. I felt safe in the last few moments of the concert, being trapped inside a tiny pit with all these other people, who were probably around the same age as me, feel the same way that I did in that moment. I’ll never forget how I felt that night and thinking back on it reminds me of the emotion I had, over and over again.