By Melissa Jones
It was a big decision and a giant purchase for my friend Wendy and me: “Pit” tickets near the stage to see The Rolling Stones at Century Link Field in Seattle.
It’s the most money I’ve ever spent on a concert, dwarfing the $175 I spent for Prince and his all-girl band at the Roseland.
Wendy and I would drive from Portland to Seattle the day of the show, staying at the cheapest hotel we could find. The morning after the show, Wendy would get me to Sea-Tac at 4 a.m. for the earliest flight back to Portland, in time to make a 9 a.m. Portland flight with my son for a long-planned vacation that I couldn’t reschedule.
The planning was nerve-wracking.
So when Wendy told me she was having our tickets mailed to her house, I was confused.
Why would anyone get physical tickets mailed when she could download a ticket to her phone? It’s one less thing to carry. One less thing to remember. No shipping costs.
I’m an avid user of the “wallet” on my phone that allows me to save tickets and quickly access them in the airport security line or in the Moda Center bag check.
But this summer – before Janet Jackson in Las Vegas – I started having doubts.
These doubts began during this summer’s Women’s World Cup soccer matches. No, I didn’t go see them in France.
But 20 years ago, I was present for the momentous game at the Pasadena Rose Bowl when the U.S. women beat China’s team. It was another big event that took a lot of planning to attend. I drove to LA from Phoenix to go with my former UCLA roommate, Anita. I stayed at her apartment, and she drove us to the stadium; I remember hearing “La Vida Loca” in her truck on the way.
During this year’s matches in France, everyone harkened back on the team of 1999. The players were back on TV and sportscasters reminisced about Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt at the end and triumphantly falling to her knees in her sports bra. (I was there!)
My friend Anita and I played lacrosse together at UCLA and we traded texts during this year’s soccer matches; she asked me where we sat at the Rose Bowl.
While I remember hearing Ricky Martin on the radio and seeing J. Lo perform the halftime show, I don’t remember where we sat. And I don’t have any photos. In 1999, if you wanted a picture of something, you had to bring a camera, and I guess I didn’t.
I told Anita that I’d look through my ticket stubs, kept in a box in my basement with my yearbooks, my Olivia Newton-John program (first concert!) and my Go-Go’s bandana (first concert without my mom!)
Going through the envelope is like looking at a lifelong yearbook of live music. Ben Harper at Edgefield. Susana Baca at the Aladdin. Manu Chao at the Crystal Ballroom, where I talked to other women who were there by themselves.
There are sporting events too, like UCLA basketball in the Final Four in Indianapolis, when I happened to be living there. Cubs spring training in Phoenix just before I got married. Lots of Blazers and Timbers. I’m not sure why I saved my ticket to “Slumdog Millionaire.”
The earliest concert stubs bring back the most memories. Oingo Boingo at the Arizona State Fair with my high school friend Donna. The glittery text on the ticket for The Thompson Twins at Mesa Amphitheatre. Big Audio Dynamite when I was a student in London, drinking hard cider at age 19 and stage diving after hugging Mick Jones.
The most confusing ticket stubs are of things I don’t remember.
I saw Marjane Satrapi at the Schnitz? I have no recollection of that.
Maya Angelou? Wow. I saw her?
Jane Goodall at Arizona State? I’ve never had a great memory, but how does an anthropology major forget seeing Jane Goodall?
I couldn’t find a ticket stub of the World Cup game from 1999. It was probably lost somewhere in the many states and many moves I’ve made since then.
There are other shows I remember that have no record in my phone, inbox or basement, like Def Leppard in Phoenix at Compton Terrace, a venue long gone. And U2’s Unforgettable Fire tour at Compton Terrace. Did I also see Lollapalooza there?
I don’t remember.
But I will remember when, where and how much I paid to see The Rolling Stones in Seattle. Cuz I have the ticket stub.
Melissa Jones is a former staff writer for The Oregonian who was recruited by George Rede! She’s an Arizona native who now lives in NE Portland with her husband and son. She teaches journalism at Clackamas Community College, and her next show is Cher at the Moda Center.
Editor’s note: Former staff writer at The Oregonian? Lives in NE Portland? Teaches college journalism? That could be me. Where Melissa and I diverge is Cher. But I’ve got my ticket to see Heart on September 3rd!