Just after their two shows at Alexandra Palace went on sale, Twenty One Pilots announced a competition for UK fans. It was a little ambiguous, but essentially to enter you had to design a poster for the tour and submit it online. I didn’t enter myself, but friends of mine did and a little while later the winners were announced. Their art is incredible and absolutely worth checking out – the winning posters are also in this month’s Rocksound magazine.
However, what no one knew was that Twenty One Pilots were going to do something else with the winning posters – something bigger.
They filled the entirety of Wood Green Underground station, the stop for Alexandra Palace, with these posters. It was incredible to see. Every single billboard was taken up by a fan-designed Twenty One Pilots poster.
Honestly, I thought it was amazing. I mean, who does that? They gave those people the kind of exposure their art may never have been given. They gave their art a platform where thousands and thousands of people – fans and not – would see their creations. In a world where Donald Trump has just been elected as president, this was the greatest display of kindess I had seen in a long time.
The two Alexandra Palace shows were across the weekend, the first on Friday and the second on Sunday. So obviously, it was necessary to do both.
London was wild. It consisted of spending 5 days on the pavement outside Ally Pally, almost getting arrested and discovering the love of my life was in fact a Jamaican security guard by the name of George.
I moved into Ally Pally on Wednesday to start queuing with a couple of my friends for the Friday show. Maybe excessive, but we were first in line so it was worth it. Especially as another two people, called Marina and Becka, who were lovely and I ended up becoming really good friends with, joined about an hour later.
The problem was that because Ally Pally is city property we weren’t actually supposed to be there. But, when a person wants centre barrier a person wants centre barrier and there is no stopping them. So the four of us chilled out in the park for a while until around 10pm. Which was when the police turned up.
They weren’t too happy. Have I mentioned that we had already been turned away? Well we had. And we didn’t listen. So by this point we were being threatened with arrest for tresspassing and decided to get the hell out of there faster than Tyler does his magic disappearing act during ‘Hometown’. A member of the venue security did however tell us we could start an “unofficial line” just not on park grounds.
So that is the story of how I ended up spending a night on the actual streets of London.
There really wasn’t anywhere for us to go, other than a random patch of street just outside the entrance to the park so that is where we stayed. All night.
By this point Jack and Abbie had joined us. Also by this point, the rest of the internet knew that we were there and boy, some of them were not happy.
Online hate is honestly my favourite thing. I mean it’s horribly anxiety-inducing, but some of the things people come out with is incredible. It’s amazing how someone can hate another person that they know absolutely nothing about purely because of the anonymity a computer screen gives them. The people that weren’t happy were people that couldn’t queue up before the day of the show because they had school or parents, and were salty they wouldn’t get to the front. And I get it, I really do. I was 14 once. But now I’m not 14. I’m 20. And for some fucking reason, someone allowed me the responsibility of making my own life decisions. Not to mention, I have risked a lot for this tour. I did basically put my entire future at risk just to follow two sad, white guys across the continent. I have invested a lot in this, so I was not about to apologise for giving it everything I had.
Unfortunately, pre-teen Twitter didn’t see it that way. My favourite has to be when someone actually wished we all got constipation so we couldn’t go to the show. I’ve never had constipation wished upon me before, but I made sure I got extra spicy at Nandos that night just to be on the safe side.
Other than a couple of trips to Nandos and McDonalds, we spent the entire night freezing our asses off on the street. Hollie and Jodie joined us around 5am though, along with Rosie and Val so by then we at least had a full squad to freeze to death with.
It was about 6 or 7 in the morning when we were all resurrected by an unlikely hero from SafeStore. I won’t name him in case he could somehow get in trouble, but this guy from the SafeStore next to where we were pitched for the night, came up to us and offered to let us all stay in his office for a bit to warm up.
It was glorious. He let us just chill out and charge our phones, he even made us tea and coffee. I’m telling you; not all heroes wear capes. Some of them wear a navy blue SafeStore uniform and a smile.
After a little while we all decided it was time to suck it up and headed back out. This time we went back up to the venue and within minutes 10 of us became about 20. We just sort of stood aimlessly for a while until the guy I assume was in charge of security, called Stefan, came out and saw us. “Twenty One Pilots right?” He tried to hide a grimace. “We’ve been warned about you guys.”
He then went off and told us to wait, which we did, thinking he was probably going to come back with more police and an armed escort. However, when he returned he told us that we could all camp out for the show under this giant gazebo they had outside the entrance. He gave us a sharpie to number ourselves in order of arriving, we were sheltered from the rain and he set up portaloos WITH plenty of toilet roll for us. Honestly, as far as queueing goes it was luxury.
Throughout the day people were arriving constantly, and we had a pretty cute setup under our gazebo. It was such a nice atmosphere.
Stefan was also amazing, and so was Mark and David and of course, the legendary George. I can’t begin to thank Ally Pally security enough for everything they did for us.
I had such a nice time. I was with all of my friends and the atmosphere under that gazebo was wonderful.Singing along to Twenty One Pilots with 60 other people in front of the London skyline at night has to be one of the best queue experiences ever.
This is me and Faith ready to sleep in our makeshift bed on the ground. George the security guy looked after us all night and he was so, so nice. He really didn’t have to give a shit about us, or the number system, but he did. Top guy was George.
The next day was so much fun. The sun was shining, I was with my favourite people, it was amazing.
The show itself was incredible. It felt really special and I think the fact that the whole group of us, the legendary “clukique” were together made it extra amazing.
We jumped and screamed and sang and cried, it was pretty emotional. You should have seen it – during Addict With A Pen the whole first two rows were just clutching each other and sobbing. What a mess.
Can we also please talk about that bit before We Don’t Believe What’s On TV when Tyler gets the crowd to shout “yeah, yeah, yeah”? Because, as bands do, he always acts like the first time the crowd shouts it wasn’t good enough and he gets so sassy about it. And I swear to God Tyler knows how fucking weak it gets me because he looks directly at me every. damn. time. I’m telling you, he knows.