Concert tickets – do they have a special memory for you?

Posted On 07 May 2018 at 11:55 pm

I have recently become aware exactly how important a piece of nostalgia the concert ticket has become. Obviously we all know about iconic concert posters, but tickets are just throwaway aren’t they?

Well plainly speaking NO!

It seems that many people treasure their tickets and stubs as they serve as a memento of that special occasion for one reason or other. Maybe it’s because you met a new partner at the venue? Could it have been that bands last ever gig? Was it in a venue much smaller than you would assume that they would be playing in? Could it have been a secret gig prior to a big tour? Did something substantial happen at the gig, such as a riot? Was it this acts first ever concert? Is that venue no longer there? There could be many reasons, but everyone that has their concert tickets will be able to pick a few absolute gems for one reason or other.

My treasured ticket from Depeche Mode’s Jenkinson’s , Brighton concert 2.8.1981 (Clarke, Gahan, Fletcher)

The Spearhead

With these changing times of print at home tickets and showing your virtual ticket on your phone to the door staff, are decent concert tickets sadly becoming a thing of the past? I desperately hope not! I was fearful for vinyl a few years back, but I needn’t have worried had I?

The concert ticket is part of the overall concert experience for the purchaser. It usually starts on finding out that your favourite acts are coming to town and you either especially go into your local decent record store to purchase them or call the ticket line and get them sent in the post.

The Jam’s last ever gig

If the tickets are going to come in the post, then there is the anticipation of wondering when they will arrive. Each day the postman comes, suddenly isn’t filled with despair as the bills roll in, but with excitement as you hear that plonk as the mail hits the mat. Is it my tickets? When it is, you carefully open up the envelope and there they are, all crisp and shiny and your passport to a great night out.

If you get them from your local record shop, then you stand in the queue, waiting patiently, praying that they have some left or have them in stock. You get to the front and YES they have them! You exchange your notes for some pieces of paper, but they might as well be for nuggets of gold – you are soooo excited. You can’t wait for that special day to arrive.

The best ticket number I ever got, not 001 but amazingly 000

The day comes and you get to the venue and you really hope that the promoter will let you keep your ticket or not deface it by tearing it in half. If you have to hand it over for a stamp on your hand, then you really must make a beeline to the desk on the way out to grab a ticket as a souvenir, whether it is your exact one or not.

My first ever gig (sadly not my ticket though)

Alas, sometimes it is not possible to keep a hold of your tickets or you lose them, then this is a little upsetting. I know I have many gaps in my collection, where I wish that I still had that little piece of coloured paper with those special words on it. A classic example of this would be my very first gig, which was The Buzzcocks at the Top Rank Suite in Brighton back in 1978. That was a very special gig as the crowd were very lairy and because the band refused to do an encore due to the gobbing punks, the crowd invaded the stage and there were blokes walking up West Street in front of me with speakers and the like that they had nicked from the venue. Alas The Buzzcocks did not return to Brighton on their 1979 tour, which was a damn shame as their support act was Joy Division, who never played Brighton.

Sham 69 riot concert ticket (Dave Towse)

Back in the day, riots at gigs were a sad regular occurance. My mate Dave witnessed first hand at a Sham 69 gig at the Rainbow Theatre in London, where the gig had to be stopped due to skinhead stage invasions. On a website on the history of the venue it states “The Sham 69 gig ends in a fiasco. The gig lasted 20 minutes through fighting, stage invasions and skinheads out in force.The fire curtain is dropped and isn’t raised until the audience are gone.”

The Exploited riot gig ticket – no many songs played, but memorable all the same

I can recall a riot at the Pavilion Theatre in Brighton when The Exploited were headlining. That was stopped after about 4 songs and the police arrived in force.

Sometimes you would even get different coloured tickets for the same concert, depending on where you were sitting/standing in the venue

Certain concert tickets can bring back happy memories of a fantastic time that you can alas no longer bring back as those people are no longer around and so that little piece of paper can take on huge significance. Whether it be that the artist is no longer with us or the fact that a loved one you attended the concert with has passed away.

Outlandish Sigue Sigue Sputnik actually played a gig in Burgess Hill of all places

I have had a ferret around for some of my treasured tickets and my mate Dave has too and we would like to share a few of them with you.

Maybe you would like to email us photos of your treasured tickets and explain why they are important to you? Send them to and we will endeavour to load them on our Facebook page.

Astoundingly anarchy punks Crass actually played a gig back in the day near Durrington, Worthing – anyone know the year or did you go to this? (Dave Towse)

A more recent ticket from a Chelsea gig where my mate became overwhelmed (Dave Towse)

Who’d have guessed it that Half Man Half Biscuit played a gig in Southwick! (Dave Towse)

A most memorable solo concert by the original Modern Lover (Dave Towse)

Idles, one of the very best of the new breed – 2017 ticket (Dave Towse)

Looks like someone is taking concert ticket collecting to another level!

This signed ticket is for sale on a well known website for £1146.40 – big business!

Bow Wow Wow ticket (David McLean)

The Clash ticket (David McLean)

De La Soul ticket (David McLean)

Killing Joke ticket (David McLean) – I went to this exact same gig!

Magazine ticket (David McLean)

Penetration gig ticket (David McLean)

  1. David Towse Reply

    Superb,interesting article, of course also back in the day one would buy the likes of Sounds, Melody Maker and NME to see what gigs were happening,then go to the venues box office to purchase ticket.

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