Yeah... you read it right. I'm taking it back to 1991. From about the age of 16, I've always been crazy for seeing my favorite bands live. In my younger days, I'd chase down touring vans to meet the bands. My friends and I would try to come up with creative ways to get backstage, or get into 21 and over shows. We'd always find a way to grab a set list after the show.
One of the best parts of the concert experience was camping out. Most of the bigger shows were usually in danger of selling out, or had reserved seats. You needed an edge. Yeah, you could spend all morning hitting the speed dial for Ticketmaster, hoping to get through. You could show up at the Dillard's box office at 10:01 on Saturday morning. Neither of those guaranteed you a seat, though. Both of them guaranteed you a seat behind me. On many a night, unbeknownst to my parents (who will undoubtedly read this), I'd sneak out and meet up with friends outside Dillard's at around midnight. We'd spend all night leaned up against the building, sometimes freezing our asses off, singing songs, eating junk, talking about the last time we saw the Cure or Depeche Mode. When the mall security would tell us to leave, we'd move the car to the parking lot across the street, and sneak back to the building, ninja stylee. When he'd come back, we'd hide in the bushes. The line would grow and grow as morning drew nearer. We'd watch the sun rise through bleary eyes. Some beautiful soul would entrust us with their place in line while they went to 7-11 for donuts and cokes. At 10, you'd hear the familiar click of the lock unlocking that you'd been waiting for all night long. New friendships would be temporarily forgotten as everyone shoved around to regain their place in line and keep anyone else from getting ahead of them. Later, tickets would be compared to each other, as well as to what we remembered of the venue seating chart. We'd then head home to sleep all day before spending an agonizing month of anticipation of the concert we'd waited all night to pay for. The shows were always great.
The camping for tickets tradition sort of drifted away. Dillard's started doing a "lottery" where everyone in line at 9:00 would get to draw a number and that would determine their place in line. It was to discourage camping. The problem was, every once in a while, they wouldn't expect such high demand for a certain show, so they wouldn't think to do the lottery. This lead us to believe that for every show there was a chance that the lottery wouldn't happen, so we'd camp out anyway. Eventually, I guess that got old, or I stopped liking the kinds of bands that would sell out in 30 minutes. I can't remember the last time I camped out. Maybe there hasn't been a show important enough to warrant a campout.
Until now. The Pixies played their last show almost twelve years ago. I saw them on that tour in Tucson, AZ and the show sucked. The venue sucked. The band members were all pissed at each other. Had I known it would be the last time I'd see them, I would have tried to enjoy it more instead of being mad about the two hour delay between the opening band and the Pixies. I wouldn't have paid attention to the couple practially screwing who were squished up against me in the crowd. Dammit.
So here we are. Twelve years after I found out from a Rolling Stone article entitled "There Goes Your Band" that the Pixies were to be no more and I'm gearing up to see them five times in one month. I'll be driving all over the Northwest, from venue to venue, sleeping in cheap hotels, buying T-shirts, screaming the lyrics to "Gouge Away", and fighting, kicking, and clawing my way to the stage at the end of the last encore to get that set list.
Wish me luck!