Twenty One Pilots, Cleveland, and Two High School Girls from Athens, Ohio
“It was the best show I’ve ever seen,” Syd said during the car ride home. Her friend Lauren repeated the sentiment.
I am a dad, and I wanted to make a snarky comment. However, the show was a present for my daughter’s 16th birthday and if we didn’t expect it to be the best show ever, we would not have bought the tickets.
On the way to Cleveland, we listened to every Twenty One Pilot’s album. The girls talked about songs they wanted to hear, and I asked questions.
“How do they choose their songs, their setlist?”
Both Syd and Lauren had been to concerts, but neither thought about band’s setlists and how they come up with them.
I directed the conversation towards Syd, “Is it a choreographed performance like the Katy Perry concerts or do they change it up here and there like Radiohead?”
“They always close with ‘Trees,’” Syd said.
“Do they do covers?”
Lauren said, “‘Hey Jude’ and another one.”
I was curious. It was the first time I was driving to a concert to drop someone off and not go. I know very little about Twenty One Pilots, but I know they have a following. Syd told me that she doesn’t consider herself part of the “Skeleton Clique” because they are “intense about T O P.”
“My mom and sister are jealous that I get to go,” Lauren said.
I was thinking the same thing about me.
Arriving at Quicken Loans Arena a little before four p.m., I was not prepared for what I saw. Twenty One Pilot fans were already in line. Some had camped out. Others were running around downtown Cleveland, loitering on the streets, and pointing and laughing at cars as they went by. I was impressed. I hadn’t seen anything like it since the last time I saw Phish.
Syd told me to pull over, and the girls got out of the car. As they walked towards the back of the line, I drove off to look for a coffee shop and do some work.
Me: YOU GIRLS ALRIGHT?
Me: TAKE PICTURES.
Me: YOU IN YET?
Me: TAKE PICTURES.
Me: WHO OPENED?
Syd: MAX FROST AND AWOLNATION
Cool, I thought. I had heard of both.
I arrived back at Quicken Loans Arena about 11:00. I had never been in the position of picking someone up from
a show, so I knew very little about it. But there were cars lined up, waiting, all throughout downtown.
When the girls found me and got into the car, I asked, “So how was it?”
They were both obviously excited. “It was the best show I’ve ever been to,” they both said.
“Did you get pictures?”
Syd and Lauren laughed. “Syd had to delete apps so she could get more videos.”
“My phone was full and dying by the end.”
“Tell me about it.”
“It was crowded,” Syd said.
Lauren said, “In the pit, you’re so close you have to make friends. There was one point where I was sitting on some dudes lap.”
“Did you get close to the stage?”
“Tyler made eye contact with me,” Syd said.
“Eye contact?” I had to hold back the instinct to be sarcastic and tease. My and Syd’s relationship is built on
knowing when to give the other a hard time and when not to.
“I cried,” Lauren said.
“Because Syd and Tyler made eye contact?”
“No. Because it was so much fun.”
“What made it fun?”
“Someone had a blow-up doll that got bounced around.”
“How about the music?”
“It was different from the album,” Syd said. “They changed it. And they brought out guests from the other bands when they did the covers.”
“It was fun. Thanks for inviting me, Syd.”
From a dad’s perspective, the Twenty One Pilot concert was a success. My daughter had a great time, thriving among a large crowd of people. She danced, sweated, made friends, and further developed a love for live music.
In her excitement, I saw the vision of a young women who will continue to see live shows and one day make music recommendation of upcoming bands. But until then, I will be a good dad and let her have her Twenty One Pilot memory. It is something she will carry forever.