Josna Rege

64. Concert Collage

In 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Inter/Transnational, Music, Stories on July 31, 2010 at 10:28 am

Concerts and concert-going have occupied a special place in my life, as they have for many of my generation; not only big rock concerts, but also small punk, ska, and reggae shows, even smaller folk and blues gigs in clubs and cafes, and Indian musical recitals of all kinds. Andrew and I have always managed to find the money for tickets to see, hear, and come together in the presence of our favorite singers and musicians, and they have sent us back out into the world recharged with hope and creative energy. Prophets and truth-tellers for our time, they tell us of ourselves and our condition, and fill us with the courage to face the challenge of our lives.

Here are some of the tickets and ticket stubs from concerts that Andrew and I have attended together over the years, from Ravi Shankar at London’s Albert Hall on August 22nd, 1971, to Patti Smith in New York’s Bowery Ballroom on December 30th, 2002.

Although, given our propensity for hoarding, they are probably stashed safely in a box somewhere, tickets from many of our concerts are missing from the collage above, including: Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry; Mimi Farina, Focus, Holly Near, Pete Seeger, Odetta; Harry Belafonte, Jimmy Cliff, Third World, Bunny Wailer, Sister Nancy; UB 40, the Selecter, the Gang of Four, Elvis Costello, the Frames, Human Sexual Response; Tom Paxton, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys; Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee; Brave Combo (in a category of its own!); John McLaughlin and Shakti, Prabha Atre, Bhimsen Joshi, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Dates and venues are important. It matters that it was 1971 when we first saw Doc Watson play with his son Merle at the Boston Tea Party in the Fenway; 1981 at the Bradford Ballroom, Boston, when the Specials gave what turned out to be their last concert; 1993 at the Tilak Smarak Mandir in Sadashiv Peth, Pune, when the young sitar virtuoso Budhaditya Mukherjee made the hairs on my arms stand on end; 1996 on a tiny stage at the Dublin Castle, an Irish pub in Camden Town, London, when we first heard the Frames and experienced Glen Hansard’s incantatory performance of “Revelate.” Each of these moments in time and place encapsulates its era and allows us to recall it in all its personal and cultural particularity.

There are stories from specific concerts waiting to be told, and favorite artists demanding a tribute; but for now, let these ticket stubs stand as markers for the as-yet-untold stories and for some of the red-letter days of the past forty years. Did I forget to mention how much fun they’ve been? Write to me, if you were there too!

  1. What a great, great graphic! You are the only other person I know who saw Jimi Hendrix. I saw him in Troy, NY at RPI in October (I think), 1968. Where did you see him?

  2. Aah, Ann, you are very fortunate. What was your experience like? I can say I saw him, but that’s about all. It was at the Boston Garden, June 27th, 1970, less than three months before his death, and barely four months after I had come to the US. Apparently the acoustics were very bad at that concert, but in any case it was my first big rock concert, I knew nothing of Jimi Hendrix’s music at the time (the concert was a 16th birthday present from the first boy I had met at Brookline High School), and the drama unfolding in the audience around me was extremely distracting. All I remember of Jimi’s performance was his (probably obligatory) playing behind his back and setting his guitar on fire. But he was so tiny and far away on the stage (no big TV screens at concerts in those days) and as I said, I didn’t come to know and love his music until later. What a waste!

  3. Jojo
    That will take you back. So many great concerts over the years, gives you a perspective. The two concerts that stand out the most to me were a Jethro Tull concert I saw here in Albuquerque in 1973, that was one of the first big multi media light show concerts I saw and Ian Anderson standing on one leg playing his flute was just over the top. The other was an Allman Brothers concert at the Boston Garden, where the opening band/act was the Eagles that no one had even heard of. They stole the show. All great memories.

    • Michael, All bands I never got to see; so glad you did, they sound wonderful. You’ve mentioned that Jethro Tull concert before; it’s never too late for me to go back and discover their music. And a double bill of the Allman Brothers and the Eagles! We went to a concert in Boston once for the warm-up act, the Dutch band, Focus, who were far better than the main performer, Joe Cocker, who was so drunk that he kept falling over. That is the only concert we both walked out of partway through.

  4. hi josna, what a great trigger of a sound, of a view, of the bass lines going through me… i did see jimmy cliff and bunny wailer at the notorious loreley reggae concerts on the rhine in germany, don’t know when, though, and have NOT kept stubs. but the music plays on in my head.

  5. Bine, ah yes, bass—key to the reggae vibrations! You make me remember Sly (Dunbar) and Robbie (Shakespeare’s) drums-bass duo, accompanying all the great reggae singers. And yes, that’s a good word, the stubs themselves are mere triggers; I have the bad habit of saving EVERYTHING. And I will have to look up why those concerts are notorious. x J

  6. And I remember dancing on a table during a Third World concert at the Bradford Ballroom–with you. The other act was Toots and the Maytals, right? A fantastic post Seabrook cathartic night!

    • Linda! Now I remember. I had forgotten that that Third World concert was at the Bradford Ballroom too. The view from the tables was excellent! I had forgotten when that Toots concert was, as well; so it must have been some time in the Winter-Spring of ’79-’80? x J

  7. Hey Josna, sorry if this seems spammy, but I have no idea how else to reach you.

    I love the photo you have at the top of this post. Can I use it for the cover image on my Facebook page? You can see it here:


    • Hello Jonny, What an interesting page! Yes, you may use the image; thank you for asking, though. All I ask is that you credit my blog (Tell Me Another, that is, not my name) by name and put the link to its homepage somewhere.
      I’m glad to know about your project and look forward to returning and checking it out from time to time. Best wishes, J

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