I found some old concert tickets stuck inside a book. The book: Boy's Life, written to perfection by Robert R. McCammon; as a self-proclaimed book critic, I am inconsistent in my findings--one day I'm praising Anna Karenina to the high heavens (and its' often-quoted, flawless first line: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."), the next day I'm swearing by Danielle Steel and her *cough*
Inside of this book filled with magical things were concert ticket stubs, preserved in various shades of "faded". I never throw concert tickets away, because I always forget that I've gone to them. Finding them in books and bags and pockets and crevices is the fun part, anyhow.
Ticket: Capitol Hill Block Party from last July; Spoon and Aesop Rock were my favorites. Seeing my little brother drunk for the first time, and telling a willowy, patchouli-smelling hippie to get bent tied for second. Principled, dirty hippies who live off of wheat germ and healthy doses of integrity shouldn't make snide comments about the origins of my Old Navy t-shirt when they're carrying around an IPhone and a Prada backpack.
Ticket: Bette Midler, Experience the Divine Tour, 1994. My parents bought tickets for the whole family (I was 18, my little brother was 9), and we sat in the front row of the balcony at The Paramount. We got there super early so that we could, as my mother said, "see the real show". The real show turned out to be Bette Midler's biggest fans: drag queens. I sat there with a "who cares?", bored look on my face, but my nonchalance was totally faux. In real life, I'd never seen a drag queen that close up or quite that decorated. It was illuminating. My little brother, on the other hand, was the very definition of "tactless". He sat there slack-jawed, wide-eyed, and bright red through the entire show. Every time she cursed (a lot), made a lewd, locker room joke (a lot), or shook her fabulous, aging ta-tas in our direction (non-stop), he sunk further down into his seat. It was a really wonderful family outing, and the concert was CRAZY.
Ticket: Kelly Clarkson, The Paramount, 2005. Yeah, I went. I didn't go proudly, but I went. Kyle had gotten last-minute tickets the day-of, and I thought--why not? I knew she could sing on key, which is usually half the battle. I worried that it would be unbearable fluffy pop, but I was pleasantly surprised--she did a lot of blues-inspired music, some R&B, a little bit of jazz. She took that horrific American Idol song (A Moment Like This) and did the electronic dance party version, which was gay and refreshing. Also, we were in the second row of the VIP section, so I could have reached out and touched her; I didn't, but I could have. She had really bad skin, I remember that sadly. I had a blast, I will admit. But I would never see Clay Aiken. I have to draw the line somewhere.
Ticket: Arlo Guthrie, The Britt Festival; Ashland, Oregon--1994. Went for my senior trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival with two girlfriends who were too Jesuccentric for me. We bought tickets on a whim to The Britt Festival, an outdoor music weekend festival, and it was really interesting. What I remember is that everyone was stoned but us, everyone was older, and the ground was hard. I saw Arlo Guthrie, and sang along to Alice's Restaurant, and then the motherfucking Smothers Brothers came onstage. I thought that was just the coolest thing ever, because I used to watch their specials on TV with my parents; I didn't always understand the humor, but I thought the two brothers were realistically lovable. We hauled ass backstage afterwards and spoke to them; the blond, ditzy one kept saying, "So do you ladies need a ride back to your hotel?" The dark-haired, serious one kept replying, "No, they do not need a ride back to their place from an old fart like you." The two brothers laughed without mirth and then held out their wrinkly hands for autograph pens. I got their autographs for my dad, because he thought they were funny. I always thought my dad was goofy like the Smothers Brothers, but after meeting them, I decided that my dad is cooler than both of them combined. He's also not some lecherous old dude with an orange make-up line, either; that makes a difference, too.
My dad took the autographed program and carefully placed it inside of a treasured book, so that someday he might find it again; or maybe he did it like me, absentmindedly, but I know it's in a book somewhere. Great minds, thinking alike.