bliss: a twenty øne piløts concert

on august sixth, i saw twenty one pilots for the first time. i went in with moderate expectations: i was excited, but i didn’t expect to get emotional or to cry.

wow. looking back, that was a good one. a funny joke.

within the first thirty seconds of the concert, i was sobbing. my body shook with sobs as the intensity of the first song echoed throughout the arena. i had the time of my life at that concert. i danced, sung, and cried, and i didn’t feel alone in any of it. tyler and josh are phenomenal performers. absolutely phenomenal. there’s innovative crowdsurfing with platforms and pianos and drums and hamster balls. there’s hazmat suits. there’s confetti. there’s water. there’s kimonos and ukuleles and sunglasses and backflips and piano-top dancing and heart-to-hearts. there’s pure bliss.

during that night, i couldn’t stop smiling. everything in my life felt so wonderful. i was surrounded by the people whose lives had been touched by twenty one pilots so graciously, so preciously, and so humbly. i left that night without many of my tears and with a full heart of twenty one pilots. this experience bumped them up to being my favorite band.

a few weeks later, i scored music midtown tickets. and let me tell you, the week leading up to that festival, i barely got anything done. my mind was focused and my heart was set on twenty one pilots. i made plans with my best friend for saturday, the day they’d be performing, to get there early to get good spots.

we got through the gates at noon and raced to the main stage. full of excitement and anticipation, we sprinted to the pit. i’m proud to say that we were one of the first few people to get there. zella day came on at 1:30 and played a beautiful set. after her show, we inched up about ten feet and squeezed against some more people to be closer to the stage. in that moment, we knew that there was no going back. as we sat through so many other concerts (and as i caught jinjoo lee’s sunglasses) we made friends. there’s something so special about concert friends; i can’t describe it. it’s magical the way we all connect based on our love and adoration for the music and message of other people. we all formed an alliance; laughing at the whims of the festival, forming human barricades so we could maintain our spots, shielding each other from the hose water that kept being sprayed upon our heads, and basking in the zeal and anticipation of what was to come.

about two hours before twenty one pilots was set to come on, i grew anxious. i grew anxious because of the dangerous crowd surge i knew would happen during g-eazy’s set, which was before twenty one pilots’, because i hadn’t eaten, drank, gone to the bathroom, or sat (in, at that point, eight hours, but was really eleven hours by the end of the day,) and because i had been packed so closely with so many strangers for so long that all i was breathing in was water vapor and heat. reminding myself of God’s presence and protection, i remembered how it would all be worth it in a few short hours.

this was it. the final hour. i made even more friends within that hour. every ten minutes, we’d shout out the time left until we could see our boys face to face. singing ride, heathens, and house of gold with the clique are all memories i’ll never forget. when we shouted that there was one minute left, i felt a wave of joy wash over me. this was time.

the lights went out. i saw hands grab the curtain that shielded the stage. the lights flashed, the curtain dropped, and the most intense part of fairly local started to play. my stomach was a hurricane. my camera shook as the crowd surged, ebbed, and flowed. my feet were not touching the ground (quite literally, i may add– i was so close to everyone that i did not have even that much space). i felt such pure bliss that whole evening. when tyler crowd surfed, he was less than two feet away from him. sure, i didn’t have control of my body since the crowd moved it for me, but it was worth it. i got to see my boy standing on the hands of lives that he has touched so gently and so beautifully. i got to see josh smiling bigger than ever, watching his best friend chase his dreams while he chased his own. i got to see everything that changed my life on august sixth again; this time, only mere feet away from myself. i caught confetti while it stuck to my sweat-soaked body, i felt tyler run over me in the hamster ball, i was sprayed with the water from his drums at the end of the show, and i was overcome with bliss in its purest form.

a twenty one pilots show is not like anything you’ve ever been to. the connections you feel, the people you meet, and the experiences you have all add up to be the best night (like no other). this band means absolutely everything to me. i would not trade my relationship with them or their music for anything in the world. i give them, their show, their music, and their message all the stars in the sky. all the love to you boys, and thank you for giving me some of the greatest times of my life.

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