My Teenage Years Through Tickets

I recently stumbled across my collection of gig tickets representing nearly every concert I've been to. They're musty, crumpled and faded, and that's why I love them. Each one has a story or memory attached and chronologically lays out my musical tastes over the years...good or bad.

My years of concert-going started in the winter months of November 2003. I had just turned fifteen and, although I had to been to a few concerts before, this was my first proper, big-scale experience. Of course, being so young meant that we were driven and escorted to the venue by my friend's parents, but I didn't care. I was seeing Linkin Park at Wembley Arena. Yes, you may laugh, but this gig ignited a spark inside me from which a passion for live music has continued to grow and develop, so much so, I've based my entire life around it.

There are certain tickets of mine that have particularly memorable experiences attached to them:

The Alkaline Trio gig was perhaps one of the more life-changing gigs I've been to. It was a packed out venue and my friends and I were at the front for most of the gig, but after pushing our way to the back to get some much needed water, we couldn't face the journey to the front again. So in our naive minds, crowd-surfing seemed an effective option. I managed to be crowd-surfed all the way back to the front before being dropped about 6ft onto the ground. That was the night I broke my coccyx; something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Was the band worth it? Well, not really, but it's a great story! I just wish it was someone like Metallica...

My expectations were high on the day of the Iron Maiden concert. My excitement and anticipation was fuelled by friend's anecdotes of amazing stage shows, props and Bruce Dickinson's amazing vocal talent. "I might even get to see Eddie", I thought - Iron Maiden's gigantic mascot who often makes an appearance on stage. The concert was going well, I was surrounded by middle-aged men in patch-covered denim jackets and then all of a sudden, a technical hitch like no other reared its ugly head. There was some kind of technical fault with the sound, but of course, without amplification or microphones, no one (the band or stage managers) could communicate this to the audience. Bruce tried using a megaphone, but that failed too, so in the end the band resorted to having a kick-about on the stage. Despite Iron Maiden's fans known for their loyalty and commitment, even they eventually started booing and walking out.

Other tickets are special purely for the little things that you remember during the gig, or for the people that you were with, or perhaps you got your ticket signed. But for whatever reason you remember that gig, there's always one reason you went in the first place; for the love of live music. What my collection of tickets makes me realise that however important that concert was at the time, your tastes change, music changes and goes through trends and more importantly, venues change. For example, I spent a lot of time at The London Astoria which doesn't even exist anymore! So I see my ticket collection as representing the lost relics of some of the most iconic music establishments in the UK.

So, I'm going to be very brave here and give you lot a laugh. The following is a list of all the tickets I have in my collection (minus those that were lost on trains or mosh pits, or found disintegrated in pockets after coming out of washing machines. Enjoy:

  • Linkin Park - Wembley Arena - 22nd Nov 2003
  • Good Charlotte - Brixton Academy - 16 Dec 2003
  • New Found Glory - The Forum - 14th June 2004
  • Sugarcult - The Forum - 8th Oct 2004
  • Blink 182 - Brixton Academy - 14th Dec 2004
  • Muse Earls Court - 19th Dec 2004
  • Green Day - The Brighton Centre - 5th Feb 2005
  • Good Charlotte - 20th March 2005
  • Funeral For A Friend - The Astoria - 28th June 2005
  • Alkaline Trio - The Astoria - 18th August 2005
  • My Chemical Romance - Brixton Academy - 4th Nov 2005
  • Fall Out Boy - The Astoria - 30th January 2006
  • Avenged Sevenfold - The Astoria - 11th March 2006
  • Bon Jovi - Milton Keynes Bowl - 11th June 2006
  • The BBC Proms - Royal Albert Hall - 1st Sept 2006
  • Lordi - THe Forum - 31st Oct 2006
  • Avenged Sevenfold - Brixton Academy - 26th Oct 2006 (cancelled I think)
  • AFI - Brixton Academy - 9th Oct 2006
  • Iron Maiden - Earls Court - 22nd Dec 2006
  • Biffy Clyro - The Astoria - 27th Jan 2007
  • Capdown - ULU London - 22 Feb 2007
  • Howards Alias - Underworld - 28th July 2007
  • BBC Proms - Royal Albert Hall - 1st Sept 2007
  • Alexisonfire - Southampton Guildhall - 12th Nov 2007
  • Manic Street Preachers - Windsor Hall, Bournemouth - 9th Dec 2007
  • Alter Bridge - Southampton Guildhall - 24th Jan 2008
  • Bon Jovi - Twickenham Stadium - 28th June 2008
  • Reading Festival - Reading August 2008 (Wristband)
  • The King Blues - The Gaff - 19th Dec 2008
  • Melodramas - Joiners Southampton - 6th June 2009
  • Frank Turner - Portsmouth Pyramids Centre - 23rd March 2012
  • Beach Break Festival - Pembrey, Wales - June 2010
  • Metronomy - Royal Albert Hall - 3rd October 2011
  • City And Colour - The Roundhouse - 18th October 2011
  • Explosions In The Sky - Brixton Academy - 27th Jan 2012
  • Noel Gallagher High Flying Birds - 02 Arena - 26th Feb 2012

So maybe you were at some of these gigs, maybe not, but one thing I ask is that you all keep hold of your concert tickets, as years down the line they'll serve as little gateways to the fond memories of years gone by. Plus...if all else fails, you can have a laugh at your younger self and the awful, cringeworthy music tastes you once possessed.

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