The Ticket Stub Time Travels Blog wants to remember the concerts with you
Some people think I’m a nutcase for saving these scraps of paper all these years, ”Rod Smith said of his giant collection of concert ticket stubs. “But it turns out they’ve been helpful.”
In January, Smith launched Time Travel Ticket Stub, a blog that associates a heel every day with Smith’s memories of attending the event the heel came from. The project started out as a way of not thinking about the pandemic.
“My wife and I are a couple without children, and attending ball games, concerts, stage events of all kinds is part of our life,” he said last Tuesday. “Then March 2020 came, and it all stopped, and all of a sudden our way of life was gone.”
Rather than get mired in the melancholy of being trapped at home, Smith decided to look back with gratitude.
“Looking at my ticket stubs was like browsing a photo album,” said Smith, who estimates he attended six to eight live events per month. “I remember who I went with, how I got the tickets, weird or funny things that happened on the way to the show. I was like, ‘If I’m never going to another soccer game, look what I have to do. I saw Muddy Waters, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, BB King. ‘ With the blog, I remember meeting Willie Mays, and I’m like, “was he nice to me or was he a jerk?” “
His heels make the case for Smith’s varied tastes, inspiring articles on times he saw Joe Cocker, Roberta Flack, bluesman Buddy Guy and the Manhattan Transfer, or attended lectures from Abbie Hoffman and Oprah Winfrey.
“From ABBA to ZZ Top, so to speak,” he laughed. “In college, I was part of a concert committee that booked shows for the campus theater. I have been exposed to many types of entertainment, from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the Pretenders. “
Raised in Illinois, Smith moved to Phoenix after graduating from Southern Illinois University School of Journalism. “I thought I was going to be the next big sports writer or entertainment critic,” said Smith, who ended up becoming a copywriter instead. He assumed that about a third of his tickets were sold by the advertising agency where he worked for years.
“I have friends who call me America’s guest. I’m intrigued by the art of performing, so I would go pretty much anything I ticketed for. I don’t play an instrument and hit a ball 400 feet away, so I really appreciate those who can.
Smith loves how his memories helped people connect through a difficult time. “Someone will mention Cher, and I can speak to how I saw her on two different farewell tours, with the video presentations and the hairstyles and costume changes.”
Rock stars were inclined to have more than one farewell tour, said Smith, sitting in his den surrounded by 40 bobblehead dolls and nearly 100 signed photographs of himself with famous singers and athletes. “It’s a rock star thing. Dear, the Doobie Brothers, the Beach Boys – they keep retiring but they keep coming back.
There were a lot of shows he couldn’t remember, Smith admitted. “In these cases, I can usually find a setlist on the internet. I pulled out a Wynton Marsalis heel when it was big enough, but I couldn’t tell you a lot of the circumstances behind it. I remembered where I was sitting and the acoustics of Gammage, but not the performance.
Smith said he had almost every date on his blog calendar covered with a ticket stub and a memento about the stub. “Let’s say I’ll be very close. There are days when I have 10 shows for this date, and others when I have one.
It was good to revisit the past, but Smith was counting the days until he could return there, facing a real-time artist.
“It gives me something to look forward to,” he sighed. “Being exposed and becoming part of a crowd again, not just looking back and remembering something that has already happened.”
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