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.

*

4:50

Me:  YOU GIRLS ALRIGHT?

Syd:  YEAH

Me:  TAKE PICTURES.

6:35

Me:  YOU IN YET?

Syd:  YEP

Me:  TAKE PICTURES.