When I first started going to gigs as a teenager in the early ’80s I always felt obliged to buy a concert programme just as I did when I went to a football match. I never really made the connection that I was supporting the artist. For me it was more about having a keepsake, something I could hold on to for years to come as a reminder that “I was there”. Either that or it was something else to stick on my bedroom wall! The novelty soon wore off though as I got older and gigs started becoming more of a night ‘on the lash’. A ticket stub is far easier to keep safe in your back pocket than a programme when you’re down in the mosh pit or staggering for a cab home after drinking the venue dry of Red Stripe lager!
I only bought a handful of concert programmes and these were all at my first few shows at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall but I’m glad that I kept them. Just a glance at a cover is enough to trigger a memory from my formative years as a gig-goer. And if that doesn’t work there is usually a cutting from the local newspaper carefully stapled into the back of the programme, alongside my ticket stub, to remind me of the night (yes I was a little bit anal at that age!)
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