Tony Brooke recorded Twenty One Pilots at the Fox Theater in Oakland on October 17th and 18th, 2015 for a video shoot. Stephen Pride assisted the recording. Two tracks were released in April 2016 on a special limited edition single called "Double Sided" for Record Store Day 2016, showing solidarity for French record stores following a terrorist attack. It has the songs "A Few Older Ones" and "Doubt."
More of this recording was also released in January 2016 as the full-length concert video "Blurryface Live," and in November 2016 as a limited edition 3-LP vinyl album, "Blurryface Live."
The band's studio album "Blurryface" had recently debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and the track "Stressed Out" reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was #1 on various Billboard genre charts. Their world tour began in May 2015, and reached Oakland in November, where they packed the house with screaming crowds for two nights.
Technical notes from the recording by engineer Tony Brooke:
This was a two-day multitrack audio recording and video shoot by LDM Worldwide at the Fox Theater in Oakland California. The Fox is a 2800-capacity grand-style theater. Both shows were sold out and fans were lined up around the block before lunch.
This was a mic-split, 48-track, 24 bit/96 kHz multitrack audio recording using a 48-track RADAR V Nyquist recording system. Files were Broadcast WAV format. Gain stages were Earthworks/Neumann audience mics, Millennia Media mic preamps, more. Stage inputs used the tour's mics, which were reordered to suit the best mic preamps per channel. For full technical details and setlists, see each sheet of the Excel Track Sheet file.
The first day's load-in was cripplingly slow. There was a mudslide on the Grapevine, which delayed some of the trucks coming from L.A. We arrived at 11:30am (for our noon call) but were not permitted to begin loading in until 2:30. The crew was still flying lighting until 1:30 or 2. This meant we had no time to get a real soundcheck and add our additional mics (audience and drum ambient). The band got a brief soundcheck but we were only ready for a brief line check at that point. After that point we had time to complete the rest.
The drummer plays on a riser, which has little room for extras, and it rolls away for the opening acts. But we negotiated two ambient 414s at the far back corners of the riser. There were fans pointed into the drummer's face, and thus one of the ambient mics, so the 414s required windscreens (and will need rolloff in the mix).
Two sets of audience mics were recorded. One pair of Neumann km184s were placed at the corners of the stage, well behind the PA. These cardioids provide a nice even crowd coverage without picking up the stage. Twenty One Pilots uses in-ear monitors so there was no monitor bleed. (Side fills were on for the opening acts, not sure if they were on for TOP.)
A matched pair of Earthworks QTC30MP omni mics was placed on tall boom stands on either side of FOH, about 20 feet apart. These provide an even balance of the room. In some placements, I have found that flipping the phase on one of these omnis will disperse the crowd wider and null more of the PA. It depends on how much panning the FOH engineer is using and the acoustics of the space. Try it and see.
Timecode was not reliable from the stage, as it was generated from the playback workstation, and had 30-minute gaps between songs. Attempts to lock to it were squirrely anyway. For the second night, we got a timecode line from the truck (24 framerate). The truck reported that it was also not reliable. So rather than lock to it, TC was recorded to an open track (35).