Saturday, December 22, 2007

The First Ten (or, Project Ticket Stub Begins)

I have saved all of my concert ticket stubs since the very first concert I attended. I fell into an easy habit of putting my used concert stubs in an envelope. Over the years that grew to two, three, four envelopes stuffed full of stubs in rough chronological order.

Every once in a while I browse through the envelopes, having a stroll down memory lane (or, sadly, a stroll down memory-loss lane). For a while now I have thought that it would be pretty cool to see what I could do with scanned images of all of the stubs. Today I was deciding what to do: I could go out and chip away at some ice in the driveway. Or I could clean up the chaos in the basement. Or I could clean up the stacks of crap in the computer room. Or, I know, I could fire up the scanner and get Project Ticket Stub off the ground!

Without further ado, my first ten concerts...

Jethro Tull, February 26, 1975 Jethro Tull
February 26, 1975
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

As I recall, a high school friend, Rickey Remes, invited me to this concert. I remember a bus ride to Philly, and think that the entire outing was organized by the local JCC (Jewish Community Center). Hard to imagine that today!

This concert certainly made an impression on my young mind! I remember we had really good floor seats, and I remember the vast spectacle of it all - Ian Anderson was certainly into production and theatrics at this time.

Note the $7.50 ticket price!

Led Zeppelin, June 6, 1977 Led Zeppelin
June 6, 1977
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

A long two years between concerts #1 and #2, but holy cow, what a concert experience for #2! You don't get much better than Led Zeppelin in Madison Square Garden in the mid-70s.

Note that it cost a whole $9.50 to see Zeppelin!

James Taylor, July 5, 1977 James Taylor
July 5, 1977
Garden State Arts Center, Homdel, NJ

A month later, and now for something completely different! Sweet Baby James in an outdoor amphitheater. That's about as far from Zeppelin at MSG as you can get.

Yes, August 3, 1977 Yes
August 3, 1977
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

The first of way too many shows of which I don't have a whole lot of recollections, I'm afraid.

Jackson Browne, September 6, 1977 Jackson Browne
September 6, 1977
Garden State Arts Center, Homdel, NJ

This was Jackson's tour in support of The Pretender, arguably his breakthrough and best album of his career.

Queen, November 23, 1977 Queen
November 23, 1977
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

"We will, we will, ROCK YOU!" And indeed, they did!

Jethro Tull, November 30, 1977 Jethro Tull
November 30, 1977
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

I'm pretty sure this is the concert where Livingston Taylor (James' brother) was booked as the opening act. What in the world were the concert promoters thinking? It was horrifying. Livingston was introduced and walked on stage with his acoustic guitar. He started to sing The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends." He didn't get out much more than the first line ("What would you think if I sang out of tune...") before the crowd was drowning him out with booing. He stopped. He waited. And waited. And waited. But the booing continued. After what seemed like a very long time, he held up both arms in a gesture for the crowd to stop. When the noise died down, he leaned into the microphone and said "Thank you and good night" and left the stage. The crowd was stunned. And so we sat there for an hour waiting for Jethro Tull to take the stage. Stupid crowds.

Many years later I almost asked Livingston if he remembered that show, but I didn't have the heart.

Jethro Tull, December 12, 1977 Jethro Tull
December 5, 1977
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

Yet another Tull show.

Billy Joel, December 11, 1977 Billy Joel
December 11, 1977
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

To this day this concert remains as one of my best all-around concert experiences ever. I'm certain it places in my top-ten concert list. Billy Joel is the entertainer, and he was in prime form in late 1977. He was touring for the highly popular album, The Stranger, and the New York crowd simply adored him. He had us in the palm of his hand the entire concert. And rightfully so.

This concert was broadcast live by WNEW-FM, and excellent FM recordings of it are widely circulated.

Utopia, December 29, 1977 Todd Rundgren and Utopia
December 29, 1977
Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ

Hmmmm, my first time seeing Todd, and my first concert at the legendary Capitol Theater. But no memories. :-(

There you have it -- the first ten! Jethro Tull (3 times!), Led Zeppelin, James Taylor, Yes, Jackson Browne, Queen, Billy Joel, and Todd Rundgren. Great start, and a whole lot more yet to come.


Scott said...

Ticket Stubs aren't clutter. Next step who was there. I was at an early Tull Show - Sommerville to Bro's and on to Philadelphia.

We had four tickets to Yes at the Spectrum (the second one) Who was there?


Tom Spine said...

Yea, you're right Scott -- they aren't clutter!

Mark said he was at 4 of these first ten, but he hasn't said which. (Well, I *know* he was at the Led Zep, and the Billy Joel.)

I know I have some memories of you coming up in the next batch of ticket stubs -- remember ELP? Stay tuned...