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Sunday, 13 November 2016

LIFESTYLE | 21 Pilots live in London

It's not often that I'll post this late in the evening (anymore, anyway) but this is the first chance I've had to write this weekend and I want to get it all down and savour what I can remember whilst I still feel like this; whilst I'm still on a high from Friday night.

Friday night, myself and my friend Briony headed into London to see Twenty One Pilots.

This was a BIG deal for me and I'll tell you why.

I've been a fan of Twenty One Pilots for around two years now, but most recently in the last year or so, they've become a band that are rather special to me. They're up there with The Maine and Bowling For Soup.

I like a lot of music and I love a lot of bands. But every now and then comes along a band that is just that bit more special to you, even if you cannot explain why. Their songs just resonate with you; you could listen to them over and over again without getting bored. There's not one song you don't like and you find that with some songs, they hit you on such an emotional level that sometimes you can physically feel the effect the chords and lyrics have on you.

So, yes. Twenty One Pilots are one of those bands to me. We saw their set back at Reading and I loved it, and still remember telling Briony how excited I was to see them.

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Because I go to gigs so often these days, it's quite rare that I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach; the anticipation for something special. I had that before their set at Reading, perhaps because I'd never seen them live before then, but that special feeling returned on Friday and I knew it was nothing to do with whether or not I'd caught them live before: it was the band through and through.

But first, Briony took the afternoon off work and we headed into London early to have a mooch around Spitalfields market and to grab some food. We chose Androuet, because she loves cheese and the thought of fondue (dipping things into cheese) was enough of a quirk factor for me and something I've always wanted to try.

So we took a seat outside in the cosy setting of the restaurant, red blankets strewn across seats and low but warm lighting adding to the festive feel of the surrounding market. It was lovely and the food was delicious. 

I had classic fondue which included a platter of different meat and pickles and a basket of bread to dip into the melted cheese. SO good.

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Afterwards we headed off to the gig which was at Alexandra Palace. We arrived at Wood Green station to find it taken over by the band; all previous advertisements were gone to make way for the band's posters and fan's art which I thought was a lovely idea.

I could already feel how excited everyone was upon arrival and I wasn't even at the venue yet. It also hit me perhaps how big these gigs were. They went on to add another date (tonight), and both dates sold out. The capacity of Alexandra Palace is just over 10,000, which is impressive. This meant over 10,000 people/fans were attending Friday night.

Now I can't remember the exact details but if I remember rightly, the first time the band came to the UK, they played to a really tiny crowd in a pub before they were big or even recognised over here and I think this was back in like, 2012 or something.

They're not in the UK often, so to go from that to two sold out dates of over 10,000 each night is just incredible.

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We finally got to the venue around half an hour after doors had opened and there was still a massive line. But eventually we got inside, warmed up, grabbed some beers and headed into the main room to watch the band. 

I feel like there's no way I'm going to do this justice, but the gig was truly incredible. They opened with the incredible atmospheric Fairly Local, before delving into a string of hits such as HeavyDirtySoul, Message Man and Ride from their 2015 album, Blurryface and Migraine, Holding Onto You (a personal huge favourite of mine!) and Car Radio (another big favourite of mine and a very emotional performance) from 2013's Vessel.

They also performed recent UK hits Heathens and Lane Boy, and a couple of oldies too.

I think, other than Car Radio, two of the most moving and emotional performances from the night were those of Guns For Hands and Trees. 

Like many of their songs, these are a little deceiving, because they're not slow or ballads as you'd expect the more moving songs to be. A lot of their music can't quite be categorised into one genre, but when you listen to the lyrics and take note of the way the music makes you feel, you can understand why so many fans hail songs such as these as pretty much life saving.

Trees was the last song of the evening, and ended with smoke bellowing from the stage and red confetti falling from the ceiling, making it a really nice moment. The gig itself was impressive with stunning lighting and really edgy video effects too, which I loved.

The band didn't interact much with the crowd, but surprisingly, this didn't bother me. Normally I like it when bands are talkative with crowds at concerts, but there were just so many damn amazing songs to get through that I could understand. Everyone just wanted to lose themselves to the music.

I will note though, at one point the lead singer Tyler spent some time explaining how important it is to look after others at concerts and help one another if someone is feeling faint (which is to be expected at that capacity) and pointed out one fan who needed help, to ensure that security reached her.

That was nice.

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The band played a set that was almost close to two hours in the end which was just amazing. I can now understand why the tour is called Emotional Roadshow, because their set was like an emotional roller coaster! 

From the popular songs that we sang along to at the top of our voices to the songs that just made us want to jump around (literally. They even covered Jump Around by House of Pain) - with a fair few emotional songs thrown in that mean a lot to me and tugged on my heart strings - it wasn't just a gig, watching my favourite band perform my favourite songs.

It was fun and moving and took me on a ride of emotions!

It was just so amazing, I can't really describe it. I actually really wish I'd grabbed tickets to see them again tonight (yes, on the same tour) because I feel like I was too overwhelmed on Friday to take it in properly!

Apart from the We Are The Maine tour/road trip back in 2013, I've never wanted to do this before. Sure, I'll happily see a band again on their next tour, but I've never been so desperate to re-live one single concert or want to watch the same concert with the same band and the same set list again so soon.

If you ever get the opportunity to see Twenty One Pilots live - just do it. Even if you're not a fan, you won't be disappointed. 

And, afterwards, myself and Briony just sat on the grass listening to some of their songs again and looking over the skyline of London and that was really lovely too. We had a bit of a moment, talking about how lucky we were to see our favourite bands in concerts, to feel these things, to even have the chance to visit London or live near such a vibrant city.

With so much sh*t going on in the world right now, an evening spent with my best friend and experiencing an out of world performance from my favourite band was very much needed.

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  1. Glad you had an amazing night!

  2. I'm just so old, I haven't heard of this band, but it does look like a very special night.


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