Rock Concert Ticket Stubs -1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s: Clapton, Springsteen, Prince, U2, Stevie Ray Vaughan
1970's Rock Concert Ticket Stubs
The Concerts: The 1970’s
Did you ever save ticket stubs from the great concerts you attended? Check out my musical past times (and the low prices):
First concert: July 10, 1978, The Rolling Stones at the St. Paul Civic Center. The Stones were promoting their album “Some Girls” featuring the hits “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden”. Between my older sister, brother & myself we owned 31 Stones albums and cassettes - I was well versed & pumped. They did not disappoint. 16 years old & I was on my way.
Jamaican reggae star Peter Tosh was the Stones’ opening act. It’s not easy opening for the Rolling Stones – I remember some fools in the audience booed Tosh – I guess they weren’t ready for reggae. Tosh, previously a member of The Wailers with Bob Marley before going solo, had a hit with Mick Jagger (Don’t Look Back) around this period. Peter Tosh died in 1987 after being murdered in his home in Jamaica during a robbery.
I saw Eric Clapton at the St. Paul Civic Center, June 10, 1979. Price: $8.00. (Today, that would buy you a turkey sandwich).
I believe Clapton was at the height of his alcohol addiction around this time, but you’d never have known it. Playing “Layla” live, he was superb. Opening act was the Mississippi blues legend, Muddy Waters who, on the Chess Records label out of Chicago in the early 1950’s, had influenced many a rock & roll artist with his deep voice on hits like “Mannish Boy”. Muddy Waters died less than four years after this concert, in 1983 at the age of 68.
In ’79 as “New Wave” music was peaking, I saw The Cars open for The Doobie Brothers at the outdoor Midway Stadium, and The Talking Heads on October 2, 1979 performing “Take Me To the River” at the Guthrie Theatre. Tickets were $11.00 and $8.50, respectively. Sitting dead center, 4th row at the intimate Guthrie, my sister & I could practically reach out & touch David Byrne’s slicked back hair, which quickly became disheveled after his bopping around on the first number. We pooled our money to buy one Talking Heads t shirt, which we alternately wore all that year & the next until it finally gave out. Good times.
1980s Rock Concert Ticket Stubs
Looking back at old concert ticket stubs, the 1980s were my heyday – prices were low, I had time (no kids), and tickets weren’t that hard to secure. I saw Steve Winwood at an outdoor concert on St. Paul's Harriet Island, also Whitney Houston on another night at the same venue- no ticket stubs remain of either show. Whitney Houston died in 2012.
I started the '80's with Van Halen on April 13, 1980 for $9.50, David Lee Roth belting out “Running With the Devil” & “Dance the Night Away”. I wasn’t that into Van Halen, but my boyfriend & his buddies were, so I tagged along. Glad I did- how many times do you get to see a 25 year old Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso of the 1980s, tackle the intricate “Spanish Fly” live?
Spanish Fly - Van Halen
The Talking Heads
1980 brought David Byrne solo, and again with the Talking Heads, this time at a larger venue, Northrup Auditorium. I particularly enjoyed their new hit, the swirling “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Remain in Light” release:
Letting the days go by, into the silent water
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
You may ask yourself, What is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, Where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, Am I right or am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?
Letting the days go by..
Time isn’t holding us, time isn’t after us,
Time isn’t holding us, time doesn’t hold you back.
Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads
The Rolling Stones
For the second time, I caught the Rolling Stones, November 21, 1981, the Tattoo You tour featuring “Start Me Up” and “Waiting on a Friend”. The price is torn off, but I can see that it started with a ‘1’; we were incensed that ticket prices were approaching twenty dollars for the big acts.
This was the beginning of those over-the-top mega tours, with giant helium blow up ‘girls’ flanking the stage and Mick Jagger foisted on the audience in a giant cherry picker. Though I enjoyed the show, I remember wishing I’d been old enough to catch the Stones in 1969 or ’72 when personal showmanship plus the soulful lead guitar of Mick Taylor were all they needed.
Waiting on a Friend - Rolling Stones
The Who (October 3, 1982), announced their “Farewell” tour and nailed classics “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley” plus current hits “Athena” & “Eminence Front” from ‘It’s Hard’. Townshend, Daltry & Entwistle were always more powerful live than on vinyl.
Baba O'Riley - The Who
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (June 29, 1984) was the massive ‘Born in the USA’ tour where Brian DePalma filmed two takes of Bruce pulling Courtney Cox up onstage to dance for the video “Dancing in the Dark”. Yes, we were there, all for a mere $15. Bruce gave every show his all, playing longer than three hours, until his audience was as invigorated & exhausted as he was. Hard to believe Clarence Clemmons’ sax will play no more- Clemmons died in 2011.
Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen
Jay Leno, Sammy Davis Jr, Monkees
Caught an eclectic mix of shows at the now-defunct Carlton Celebrity Room: a fairly young (34) Jay Leno in ’84, The Monkees’ 20th anniversary tour in ’86, and Sammy Davis Jr. in ’89. I still remember the ‘ancient’ middle aged women shouting out “We love you Sammy!” in the cozy dinner club, & thinking ‘Please don’t let that be me’..
Jay Leno, Sammy Davis, Monkees Ticket Stubs
Christmas Eve, 1984: I wasn’t shopping or singing carols in front of the fire, I was at the Purple Rain Tour where Prince & the Revolution gave us “Little Red Corvette”, “When Doves Cry”, and “1999”. It was local boy made good and it was a celebration.
Dylan, Grateful Dead, Tom Petty
They say never buy the first model year of a car; also, never attend that first concert staged in a fledgling venue. At the puffy, new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome acoustics hadn’t been worked out and sitting in the stratosphere we could only watch in frustration as Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia with The Grateful Dead, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers supposedly put on a fine show June 26, 1986. Well at least it was only 20 bucks. Jerry Garcia died in 1995.
The Monkees & Weird Al Yankovic
Why I saw The Monkees again, August 30, 1987, at the State Fair with Weird Al Yankovic, I can’t say. But I do recall Al’s hits like “Living with a Hernia” (a take-off of James Brown's Living in America) and “Eat It” (spoofing Michael's Jackson's Beat It) were pretty funny. The Monkees' lead man, Davy Jones, died in 2012.
Living With a Hernia - Weird Al Yankovic
I closed out 1987 with U2's Joshua Tree Tour. Seated in the balcony, close to the stage, I reveled in the Edge’s moody guitar work & Bono’s blistering vocals on “Trip Through Your Wires”, “In God’s Country”, & “Bad”. Luckily, someone has documented all of U2’s tours, shows, & set lists (U2gigs.com). It is an astonishing pace: in the Joshua Tree tour alone, U2 played 29 shows in the US, 30 in Europe, and then another 50 in the US. Mine was their 89th show of the tour, November 4, 1987.
One Tree Hill - U2
Jeff Healey Band
Saw Canadian jazz/blues guitarist Jeff Healey March 29, 1989 at the Guthrie Theater. Perched on a stool with his guitar across his lap, the blind Healey made that 1985 Fender Squier Stratocaster sing. It was an intimate venue for a truly unique performance. Jeff Healey, who had lost his vision at 8 months old due to cancer, died in 2008 of cancer at age 41.
Confidence Man - Jeff Healey Band
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Summer of ’89 at the outdoor Riverfest on St. Paul’s Harriet Island, brought two legends in one week: Sunday, July 30, 1989, Austin, Texas’ bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan and four days later, Minnesota’s own Bob Dylan (Thursday, August 3, 1989). Each show was five dollars.
Stevie, having finally kicked his addictions, was celebrating his new release “In Step” which included “Crossfire” and the wistful “Life by the Drop”. I always loved Stevie's version of Hendrix's 'Little Wing'. Vaughan died the next summer, August 26, 1990, after performing with Eric Clapton at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin, when, amidst fog, Stevie's helicopter crashed into a nearby ski slope. Stevie Ray Vaughan was 35.
Crossfire - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Bob Dylan at Riverfest
I closed out the 80’s with my third and final Rolling Stones concert, November 29, 1989. This was the “Steel Wheels” tour with their hit “Mixed Emotions”. I guess I had them too, because I didn’t bother the next time the Stones came to town.
1990s Rock Concert Ticket Stubs
The decade started off strong with Prince on May 6, 1990: at the last minute, nearby Paisley Park Studios announced that Prince was offering $10 tickets to a preview of his upcoming Nude World Tour. Even in 1990, that was a bargain.
The local crowd was especially pumped; I remember Prince arrived on stage in a fog-shrouded, claw foot bathtub. Fortunately, he was not actually nude. The title referred to a stripped-down, back to basics show featuring his big hits without extended solos (no horn section, no Sheila E).
According to Wikipedia, The Nude Tour consisted of 56 concerts in Europe & Asia – none in the US- I guess we were luckier than we realized, for Prince did not tour again in America until 1993. Prince performed “Kiss”, “Alphabet Street”, “Nothing Compares 2 U” plus several songs from Purple Rain such as “Take Me With You”.
Caught Animal Logic, a band formed in 1987 by ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland, on February 18, 1990. Guess he’d had enough of Sting, but Sting got the last laugh - the band folded in 1991. I remember nothing about this show.
Finally got to see Mick Taylor, former lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones, also at the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis. Some guitarists try to impress with a frenzy of runs and fills; instead, Taylor finds the emotion in his tone and phrasing. Mick Taylor, formerly of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (1966-1969), joined the Stones in 1969 at age 20 after Brian Jones was kicked out of the band.
Taylor’s guitar work is evident on some of the best work the Stones put forth: “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”, “Time Waits for No One”, “Sway”, and “Moonlight Mile”. Taylor left the Stones in 1974. When I saw Mick Taylor in 1990, the sound set up was bad and Mick was visibly upset. Timing, it seems, is everything.
"Time Waits For No One" - Rolling Stones with Mick Taylor
Caught comedian Steven Wright at the Guthrie Theater April 20, 1990. I’ve always loved Wright’s dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery. “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”
My third and final Bruce Springsteen concert (following the 1984 Born in the USA tour & 1988’s Tunnel of Love tour) was on Halloween night, 1992. This was Bruce’s tour without saxophone nor organ and no E Street Band. Bruce always puts on a good show, but something had changed & around this time I let go of his new music and moved on.
Following the success of his albums “The Rhythm of the Saints”(1990) and “Graceland”(1986), Paul Simon embarked on his Born at the Right Time Tour. Simon was in top form at the Target Center that night, February 23, 1991.
CSN - Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash was one of my first shows of the 1990s on June 27, 1990 and also the last on March 9, 1994. What a difference four years makes. I’d long admired their late ‘60s/early 70s work, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, “Woodstock” and “Long Time Gone”. Now I was ready only to vomit, spending most of the show in the Women’s room, fighting morning sickness. My first child was pending and somehow it would be eight years before I’d catch another concert.
Prices jumped in the 2000s; a big show often cost more than a small Prius! While I feel guilty that I only paid $5 to see Bob Dylan and Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1989, what’s with $100, $200 & up?
2000s Rock Concert Ticket Stubs
St. Paul was the third stop on the Peter Gabriel Growing Up Tour, and the intricate, prop-laden show was plagued with malfunctions. I could hear the audience collectively groan as the sound repeatedly cut out, props malfunctioned and spirits sank during songs everyone expected to be highlights: “Sledgehammer”, “Big Time”, and “In Your Eyes”.
Gabriel, first in an early, artsy lineup of Genesis (pre-Phil Collins) and later solo, is a visual artist as much as a fine musician. On this night Peter rode a lighted bicycle around the circular stage during “Solsbury Hill”; Peter rolled around in a 10 foot plastic orb; Peter sat in a rowboat and paddled during “Here Comes the Flood”; Peter rode a Segway; Peter walked upside down on a circular track lowered from the ceiling. This may be the future but sometimes less is more.
"Sledgehammer" - the sound kept cutting out at our show
The Beach Boys
My six year old daughter loved The Beach Boys so we took her to see what was left of them when they came to town, May 4, 2003. Mike Love still had energy and hit the high notes but without Brian Wilson, the lyricist, composer, bassist and heart of the band, nor drummer Dennis Wilson, guitarist Carl Wilson nor guitarist Al Jardine, this was not the 1960s Beach Boys. But, for a six year old who liked ‘surfing’ on a sofa cushion to “I Get Around”, it was a fine time, all things considered.
After playing the Hollywood Bowl and Red Rocks, R.E.M. came to the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis on September 16, 2003 to promote their compilation album “In Time”. The hits just kept coming - “Man on the Moon”, “Fall on Me”, “Don’t Go Back to Rockville”, “The One I Love”, “Find the River”. Fortunately I caught them then. Their final tour was in 2008; they broke up in 2011 - The End of the World as We Know It. Glad I was there.
I always loved Dr. John's iconic “Such a Night” in Scorsese’s film “The Last Waltz” & his piano on The Rolling Stones’ “Let it Loose”. The Doctor’s” gravelly voice and New Orleans piano filled the Dakota Jazz Club, September, 2005 on “Right Place, Wrong Time”. Too bad our table was far away & had an obstructed view. No ticket stub remains.
Maybe it was the clear, starry night; maybe it was the enthusiasm of the crowd who knew every lyric – but some of that 60’s magic came through as The Allman Brothers Band played the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair, August 31, 2004.
Alongside Jaimoe, Butch Trucks and Gregg Allman (who still has the voice), Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks were gracious successors to the legacy: the always-missed late Duane Allman and Berry Oakley and former member Dickey Betts. Good to see the music, “Statesboro Blues”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Midnight Rider” and “Whipping Post”, still strong today.
Levon Helm knew trouble. The Arkansas drummer, best known for his vocals on The Band’s “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, faced throat cancer, fire that destroyed his home and barn studio, near bankruptcy, and the death of his cherished bandmates, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. Yet Levon Helm radiated a sense of inner joy.
My brother and I were seeking a trace of that joy when we caught Levon's show in St. Paul on June 10, 2009. Our dad was in the final stages of lung cancer and we were hurting. That night at the 1000 seat, historic Fitzgerald Theater, home of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Helm and his 11 piece band took us away.
Whether drumming, playing the mandolin, or singing in his sharp, southern drawl, Levon Helm enjoyed the thrill of performing. His enthusiasm was infectious.
Helm won the Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy in 2008 for “Dirt Farmer”, his first studio CD in 25 years, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy that same year for his work as a member of The Band, and in 2010, a Best Americana Album Grammy for “Electric Dirt”. Once, an interviewer gushed, “You played Woodstock!”, and Levon replied, “Yeah, so what?” Helm took it all in stride.
“Music can be a salve on a whole lot of hurt”, Helm once remarked. My father passed away sixteen days after this concert. I saw Levon Helm perform once more, July 6, 2010; he died of cancer April 19, 2012 at the age of 71.