Long before Twenty One Pilots performed at some of the world’s biggest festivals and arenas, frontman Tyler Joseph was cleaning up after shows at Express Live !, the indoor and outdoor multi-purpose venue in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
“Tyler worked for me in customer service,” says Scott Stienecker, who founded powerful regional promoter PromoWest in 1984. Go up to the top of the hill and they would rake all your mugs of beer to the bottom of the amphitheater. .
As Stienecker says, Express Live! was welcoming The Killers, and when PromoWest security chief Liz Linard approached Joseph with a rake, the future arena star returned it with a direct message: “Liz, I’m going to be the next Brandon Flowers.” .
“Liz came in and told me that and we laughed,” Stienecker says. “Oh yeah, he’ll be the next Brandon Flowers. And now him and Josh [Dun] are huge!
Many successful artists return home as heroes, but for Twenty One Pilots the connection to Columbus goes beyond mere fame. For years, the group has established itself in the most populous town in the state of Buckeye and continues to honor its roots.
In June 2017, Twenty One Pilots hosted the “Tour of Columbus,” a fanfare-filled five-show tour that spawned the idea for what would become the “Takeover Tour” of 2021. Two years later, the Nationwide Boulevard of the city, a thoroughfare running alongside the Nationwide Arena, was temporarily renamed Twenty One Pilots Boulevard to coincide with the group’s two-night stand in June 2019.
“They’ve always been loyal,” says Stienecker, whose history with the band dates back to the earliest plays performed at small Columbus club The Basement.
On the other end of the venue spectrum, the Schottenstein Center and the Nationwide Arena, the two venues in the city that operate in tandem through Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment, also have ties to Twenty One Pilots which predate the world famous. of the group.
“Tyler played high school basketball in the State Championships at Schott, and the Schottenstein Center was the very first arena game they had,” said CASE senior vice president Mike Gatto. “Tyler still lives in the community.”
When Twenty One Pilots book tours, all routes tend to return to Columbus. The city was not part of the original plan for this fall’s “Takeover Tour”, but as the trip took shape, manager Chris Woltman approached the group’s agents, Andrew Simon and Jeff Krones of CAA, to add parts. of Columbus. Soon they added a three night race in October at the Nationwide Arena.
“There haven’t been a lot of groups out of Columbus, Ohio that have had a global history that’s now in the making for a decade,” says Woltman, whose relationship with Stienecker and PromoWest dates back to his days in as a student in Ohio State in the late 1980s.
“There’s a certain kind of hometown reality about it,” Woltman continues. “I am also from Columbus. You can get us out of Columbus, but Columbus is still a part of all of us on this team. “
Ambition has always been a key factor in Twenty One Pilots’ success, so naturally the group is already looking at the next level – and they own some 105,000.
“Columbus is their home, and their goal – and our goal for them too – is to be able to play at Ohio Stadium,” said Gatto.