The current lock-down situation has highlighted the void left in our lives from not being able to attend music concerts. This encouraged me to actively seek out those uniquely important small pieces of paper that have been hidden away over the past few decades and to collate them all. Of course I’m referring to concerts tickets!
I have been continually attending concerts in Brighton for more than 40 years and so there were quite a large number to go and hunt for. I had realised that I hadn’t actually put them all together in one place for the past 27 years and so this was a mammoth task. Sadly I have not got a special souvenir from every concert that I have attended as regularly you would have to hand them over on entry into the building. Or they would be torn in two by the door staff. Sometimes of late, they have just been virtual tickets that are saved onto my phone. We have been invited to attend a fair few performances over the past few years in order to review proceedings and thus we were often unable to obtain a ticket.
Obviously we all know about the large iconic concert posters and can see the value in keeping them, but tiny concert tickets are just throwaway aren’t they? Well plainly speaking NO! You should have a look on certain sales sites as to how much some of the old gig tickets are now going for.
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 they met a new partner at the venue? It could 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.
Are decent concert tickets sadly becoming a thing of the past due to print at home tickets and showing your virtual ticket on your phone to the door staff. I desperately hope not!
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.
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 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.
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.
Back in the day, riots at gigs were a sad regular occurrence. 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.
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.
Hopefully at some stage in the (near) future, we will be able to safely attend concerts in Brighton again. Then we can all start saving our treasured ticket souvenirs!
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