Twenty One Pilots 24/02/2019 Birmingham Genting Arena (or whatever it’s called now, to me it’ll always be the NEC!) Support from The Regrettes.
First gig of the year. Always a good way to blow off the winter cobwebs in my opinion. Living so close to Birmingham were quite lucky in having two massive arenas to go to. Unfortunately the Genting Arena is a ball ache to get to, whether you’re driving or using public transport. It’s served by Birmingham International train station but quite often the last trains don’t match up with finishing times for gigs. Which means either leaving gigs early or hanging around the train station with all the drunks and stragglers. Another bad thing about the Genting is the sound. I cant quite put my finger on it but I’ve stood and sat in various parts of the arena and always struggled to hear a balanced sound. Perhaps the arena is too big. I dont know, I’m no expert but it’s not my favourite venue.
Anyway I was cajoled into buying tickets for myself and my daughter. Going with my best mate, her two daughters and my other best mate and her partner. I was probably the only one out the lot of us who wasn’t really that bothered about going. Having not listened to the latest album and only admitting to knowing the well known hits such as Stressed Out, I didn’t foresee myself enjoying it. But I was wrong.
We missed the opening band as the girls wanted T shirts and we trawled the outlets for a particular one. We had seats so didn’t have to be there at a certain time to get a good view. As it got closer to TØP coming on stage the atmosphere was electric. I looked around and wondered if I was the oldest person there (at 39 I’m no spring chicken) but there was a good mix of people, mainly age 14 – 30 I would say.
The stage looked amazing when the lights finally went down and the music started. The whole venue was bouncing and you can’t help but get sucked into the atmosphere. It went like a blur to be honest, they performed songs I knew, songs I didn’t but now love and songs that I’m not bothered about!
Would I see them again? Definitely. For a two piece band you definitely don’t feel lacking in any way shape or form.
Panic At The Disco 27/03/19 Birmingham Barclaycard Arena ( I’m old, its the NIA!) Support from Arizona and MØ.
I’m not going to lie but I was way more excited to see PATD than a 38 year old mother of two should be but hey, what you going to do?! I love the build up to gigs and this was no exception. Again we went with the same people and at the order of the younger members of the party we had to get glittered up.
Again we had seats booked so didn’t have camp out the night before to get a decent glimpse of Brendon Urie. We didn’t really have a preference for the support bands so got to the venue in plenty of time but queued up for the all important merchandise. After the obligatory toilet visit (come on kids, squeeze a wee out, these tickets cost a fortune, I wanna get my money’s worth!) we found our frankly brilliant seats. In big venues I prefer seating as I’m only 5ft 6 and am guaranteed to be stood behind some giant wearing stilts and for good measure a big floppy hat. And when I do move from behind the floppy hat man, I will undoubtedly find his sister who will have a giant head of hair that is impossible to see through. I get incredibly anxious about not seeing anything that I just don’t enjoy the experience.
So after paying a small fortune for higher tier tickets (and we were glad to to be honest, an almost side view of the stage with a view of the band that you didn’t need the giant big screens for) we settled ourselves down for the gig. We arrived part way through the 2nd support act and I mainly complained that I hadn’t heard of them before! The anticipation then built up to fever pitch with a giant countdown clock counting down whilst Mr Blue Sky by ELO played. All went black, the band started playing, a spotlight appeared on the stage and as if by magic Brendon Urie shot up through the stage and told us to “F**k a Silver Lining”. Oh my god, I was not expecting that. Yes readers I did scream like a little girl, I did immediately jump up from my seat and did sing along to every word.
They stormed through the hits, not chatting between songs. I expected this as he didn’t do that when we saw them in 2016. A highlight was “Ready to Go”. A personal favourite of my best friend but when we saw PATD in 2016 she left the venue to take her daughter to get some water and missed the song, only hearing it from the bar outside. Not realising that she had missed it, I didn’t think to film it and kicked myself for 3 years for not doing it. So to get the chance to experience that song with her amazing. My other best friend filmed our reaction and I can confidently say I looked like a toddler who had just devoured a huge bag of blue smarties!
Another highlight was seeing Brendon Urie sitting at the piano singing “I can’t make you love me”/”Dying in LA” and then the piano seamlessly gliding into the air across the audience, one side of the arena and then back again. Brendon tended to talk more towards the end. We couldn’t hear much of what he was saying because of the incessant screaming of the teenagers (no not us this time) but I agreed wholeheartedly with whatever he was saying 😂. I didn’t care much the cover of The Greatest Show if I’m being honest, I liked the film but couldn’t stand all the hype around it. The other cover they did is in my top favourite songs of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody. I was in awe of their version in 2016. I don’t know why but I was really emotional when I was stood in Alexandra Palace with probably 10,000 other people around me singing in perfect harmony. Probably the closest to seeing Queen as I’ll ever get. The effect in the NIA wasn’t as good but still special.
I started to feel a bit deflated after Bohemian Rhapsody because I knew we were hurtling towards the end of the concert but I also knew the best was yet to come. I missed the early career of Panic!, only finding them just before the release of the Death of the Bachelor album. I quickly and hungrily trawled through the back catalogue, devouring fan favourites and album classics. One song that defines Panic is “I write sins not tragedies”. To hear the crowd go wild when it starts up is something else. Brendon Urie knows this and gives it his all.
The ending comes with Victorious, ticker tape and frantic waving as the band leaves the stage. My daughter claims Mike, the guitarist, flicked her the peace sign after she caught his eye as he was leaving the stage on our side. I was drenched in sweat and glitter and ready to do it all over again!
Would I see them again? Most definitely! On the list of bands, regardless of money or circumstances, we’re going!!
I’m not going to lie, my photos are awful. This is what prompted me to change my phone. Listening to the shit recordings and blurred crappy images over the years has made me more appreciative of a decent phone. I’m not a big lover of filming entire gigs, just the odd song and photo will suffice but you want it to be good. Just don’t laugh, they do get a bit better as the year goes on!
I hope you have enjoyed part one of my music gigs of 2019. I severely underestimated how much I could waffle on and wanted to include all the gigs in one post but life ‘n’ lockdown got in the way. So hopefully in the not too distant I will complete parts two and three.