Sunday, 1 March 2015

A few words on tickets.

There is something magical about a concert ticket, something about what is quite often just a simple bit of paper with a touch of ink on it. Mass produced and designed to last, at most, a couple of months, they are a prized item for the music fan that carry far more emotions than simple reminiscence of the night itself.

For a start there is the sense of occasion that a ticketed event brings with it. This is not a ‘turn up if you can’ show you may get down a pub or small venue (delightful though those are), this is an event that could sell out and that has asked you to confirm that you will be there with cash in advance. This is not a casual affair, this is an RSVP event for a limited few. And that limitation brings with it the apprehension of trying to get the damn thing in your hands. If it is a major event you have the phoneline and website hounding, waiting for the flag to be raised for you and the rest of the world to charge and grab the trophy; if it is a smaller event, it’s the quiet fear that you won’t get the ticket in time before the rest of the world realises how awesome the band is and decide to join in the fun. Either way, should luck or planning be on your side, once you have the ticket you want to hold it up high and show it off to the world as the rare prize it is.

But then, in a strange metamorphosis, it turns from a thing of joy into a totem of apprehension. The gig is only a few months away, but how many things can go wrong in those weeks? What if the band have to cancel? What if you can’t make the show? What if you don’t get there on time? What if you lose the ticket? So many things could happen, all of them turning those few cubic inches of printed matter from the token of high entertainment into a totem of bitter disappointment. But at the same time it also becomes a beacon of solace and a way to get through the daily trudgery. Whatever the world throws at you is survivable, as you have the solid reminder that the gig is coming. The magic that is live music, that is a live crowd, will be upon you soon. It’s a feeling that gets bigger as the date gets nearer: the ticket becoming more and more real, until it’s in your hand and you’re on the way to the show with it brandished like a pass to the riches of the world.

And then you arrive, you hand over the golden-ticket, and it’s just a bit of paper. Everything is on the music, the performance, the event. Until it’s all over, at which point it becomes a reminder of what went by; a thing to look at and remember with, the trophy to mount on your wall amongst your other mementos of great nights of music. But it’s not a simple reminder of where you were or what you saw, it’s more complicated than that. You didn’t get to see a movie or a broadway show, this wasn’t a performance that will have been repeated a hundred days before and after. And it’s not the tour t-shirt, showing a multitude of concerts that you may or may-not have been at, that can be bought without even having to be near the venue. This is an indelible marker of that show at that place on that date, this is a point in time that you were a part of. 

This is your place in rock history, not just of the history of your own journey, as the show will never happen again. And it is the tool for the whole ride that is live music, of the emotional journey you have gone through with that ticket, from hope to triumph to foreboding to consolation to eagerness to elation to remembrance and permanency.
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