I have one of those poster-sized frames in my classrooms behind my desk, and at least once a week (because why would my class all pay attention at once and get the info once), someone asks me what all the tickets in it are for.
I love to talk about those tickets.
They are the ticket stubs of every concert I have ever gone to that required a ticket.
Filling up almost the entire poster frame (four columns and many, many rows).
Inevitably, someone wanders up to the poster and gasps, “wait, you went to these concerts???”
The first ones are all wrinkled and faded, but I can still remember them, even sitting here at my kitchen table.
The very first one is a pink and blue ticket master stub from 1994.
My aunt had tickets to see Aerosmith at The Palace in Auburn Hills (near Detroit), but ended up with better tickets. Knowing I was a HUGE fan even at the age of 15, she offered to sell me and my high school boyfriend the tickets.
Surprisingly, my mom thought it was a good idea too.
In fact, I remember my mom saying, “I like Aerosmith. They seem to be a good, clean band.”
Yeah, I’ll give you a minute to chuckle at that too.
My mom is a sweetie. Naive, but sweet.
(and yes, I would use this later in life to go to many, many more concerts of bands that she thought were “nice” by what she heard on the radio. Sorry, mom. It’s true. LOVE YOU!)
That Aerosmith concert was the first time I got to road trip with a boy (yes, he brought me home back across the state after the concert. I was a GOOD girl. Shut up, I really was.), the first time I got beer spilled on me, the first time I smelled pot, the first time I realized that live bands meant lots and lots of f words in the middle of songs I never heard f words in before.
It was also my first concert T-shirt. So I could prove the next day as I sleepily went through my day (that was mom’s rule: you may go, but NO skipping school because you are tired) that I was there. That I saw the LIVE.
That concert launched an all out addiction.
Because I have always been a rather eclectic music lover, my concert-going past shows that. Much to some people’s surprise. Here is a quick list of just SOME of the bands I’ve seen (some more than once…some more than three times)….
Dave Matthews Band
Type O Negative
Ben Folds Five
Pearl Jam (countless times, really)
Stone Temple Pilots
Corrosion of Conformity
Clutch (also countless times)
Nine Inch Nails
Bare Naked Ladies
And so many more…I can’t even think of them all…
Mind you, I wasn’t much of a passive concert-goer either.
No way. It only took me about two “general admission” concerts to realize A) they are my favorite way to see live music and B) I am much better (and tougher) on my own.
In case you didn’t figure it out, I have never been much of a risk-taker. Never. I like to play it safe and follow rules.
Oh, I talk the big talk and can get nasty if have to, but I would much rather just get through my life without confrontation and drama.
And as a teenager, I wasn’t much of a rebel.
I didn’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs (ok, I drank AND smoked in college, but the smoking was short-lived and more of a check-me-out-being-a-rebel-thing. I was really to afraid of cancer to keep smoking. plus I was terrible at it). I kept my curfew. I didn’t lie to my parents (much). I didn’t go where I knew I shouldn’t be, and I didn’t skip school.
I was the kid all the parents wanted their kid to hang out with.
Not that my friends weren’t rule-breakers, but I was the one in the group who would drive their sorry butts home and sneak them past their parents. All the while not breaking any of my own parents’ rules.
But somehow concerts were my way to rebel.
My concert uniform became old jeans, a concert T-shirt (NOT the band I was there to see…duh), and steel-toed boots.
I did not get hooched up for a concert because that was not the point for me.
I had one goal. To get as close as humanly possible to the front and rock out.
I always stood with my friends through the crappy openers. We would inch our way forward, but no one pushed. It was just standing and waiting (unless the opening band was, say, Red Hot Chili Peppers…then the pushing would commence early).
The biggest rush of my life is that minute that the arena goes pitch black and the roar of the crowd goes up to the ceiling.
I can still feel it if I close my eyes.
Before the first song even begins I used the darkness to wiggle away from my friends and slide through thick bodies to the front.
I always made it to the front.
We don’t get to many concerts anymore (the last stub I have is from 2008 before getting pregnant with Eddie), but Cort and I have fun telling stories about the ones we did go to. I have many more stories than he has, but he likes to smile at my toughness, since he was always the guy back by the soundboard. He didn’t need to be at the front to enjoy the live show.
But I did. I need to see the sweat fling from the guitarist’s fingers as he rapidly assaulted the strings.
I had to be able to witness the lead singer taking a drink of his beer that was behind an amp.
It was part of the music for me.
So it makes me smile when my students…who are the same age I was when I first walked into The Palace to see Aerosmith…ask me about those stubs.
The stubs that are wrinkled and faded from being jammed in a sweaty pocket while I wormed my way through sweaty dudes and drunken chicks to get to my place at the rail in the front.
The stubs that show that yes, I was somewhat rebellious.
Even if I did get up and go to school on time the next day.