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  • Angelo Spenillo

Concert ticket time machine

A major part of my book, "I Am a Professional Metalhead" (coming in early 2020) is my musical memoirs. I've been a metalhead for over 30 years so, as you can imagine, there is quite a bit to cover. The biggest challenge that I had was that it isn't always easy to remember who I saw and when I saw them. I've actually been able to easily figure it our because I kept most of my concert ticket stubs. I thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the changes to the concert-going experience that I noticed as I started looking through them.


Here's the book where I store them. It's pretty simple. The ticket stub slips in and there are a few lines to write what you want to remember about the show. In my case, I was adding my notes decades after seeing the show so it was fun to see what stuck in my mind - and what didn't.


1990 - here's the ticket stub from my first metal show - Whitesnake with Bad English. We had great floor seats that only cost $20!


2003 - There are two tickets here for a reason. One has something and the other doesn't. See it? The barcode! It didn't all change overnight but this is around the time when us concertgoers started getting our tickets scanned instead of ripped as we entered the venue. Check out the ticket prices - still in the $20 dollar range!


2006 - I counted and have gone to over 200 concerts in my lifetime. As I looked through each ticket stub, I can remember parts of most of the shows. Except this one. I knew that I had seen Fear Factory at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC but completely forgot that I saw them at JAXX, too! It is weird that I can't remember being there because I bought a shirt at this show that I still wear.


2009 - By now, all the tickets had barcodes but do you see the other difference between the two? Now tickets could be printed at home! I do like that convenience but miss having that pre-printed tickets - especially because these printouts don't fit very well into the book!


2019 - Now, tickets are virtual unless you want to pay extra for a hard copy. I went to see Iron Maiden and just showed my phone. They printed this piece of paper so I could find my seat. For club shows, you don't even get a printout (no seats).


The future - There is a part of me that wishes that concert ticket stubs were not becoming relics. They were a fun way to trigger memories of great live music experiences. But I know that times have changed. I also know that there are still great ways that we can remember those experiences - supporting the band by buying (and wearing) merch, taking (and posting to social) photos and videos from the show, and looking up the setlists at setlist.fm


How do you like to reminisce about shows you've seen?

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