Top 5 Things I Miss About 1980s Concerts

I feel a bit like Andy Rooney as I type this post, feeling a bit cantankerous after my early morning wake-up today. Ravinia opened its online ticket sales at 5 this morning. I’m not a very good morning person. At 4:45 a.m., I’m barely functional. Still, for Duran Duran tickets, I set my alarm, snoozed until 4:55 a.m. and dashed to my computer to start what should have been a quick process. Already signed in, I planned to click on lawn tickets and check out. No price range to select, no seats to be pulled. At 5:01 a.m. I had tickets for the first of two nights. Easy breezy. At 5:02 a.m., I repeated the process for the second night, only the payment couldn’t be processed. 90 minutes later, due to a “temporary” glitch on Ravinia’s site, I finally had my second night’s tickets. Lack of sleep + computer issues that may lose chance at DD tickets = very cranky Duranie. Of course, all turned out fine…but I’ve been a zombie most of the day (see below for cat-illustrated rendition).

The process made me wax nostalgic for the old days. So, here are the top 5 things I miss about the 80s concert scene:

  1. The ticket purchase process. Back in the day, we waited in queue for tickets. Ticketron and TicketMaster locations were housed in local malls – I usually frequented the Bergner’s and Sears at Spring Hill Mall. Depending on the popularity of the group, you might just walk up or spend several hours in line. For the biggest groups (Wham!, Duran Duran, George Michael), we camped overnight outside the department store’s doors. We spent time talking with each other about our favorite band members, the latest gossip facts we read in Tiger Beat, etc., and rumors/fears of band breakups. There was honor among groupies, so if it was inclement weather, we slept in our cars without losing our place in line.
  2. Ticket prices. Tickets were much less expensive back in the day. Click here to see vintage tickets from my collection. Prices ranged from $15-$30, with most under $20. Parking was $2! Using an “inflation calculator”, that range translates to an approximate current value of $32-$65. Prices now often start at $100 and easily soar over $300 – and that’s face value!
  3. Actual tickets. Nothing beat the rush of racing the clock to get the best seats, then proudly displaying the prized tickets to others standing in line. Not boasting, but celebrating! Also, counterfeit tickets were practically unheard of (at least in our area) – especially with the incorporation of fancy watermarks. The fact that most people didn’t own a printer helped. Lastly, we all kept our ticket stubs as souvenirs. A page we print ourselves now just isn’t the same.
  4. Poplar Creek. Sure, we have several concert venues in Chicago, but none replace this outdoor arena. No matter where you sat (even the cheap lawn seats), you had a great view and the sound was incredible. There was even a spot where teens could sneak in the back for free. Granted, it was a bit tricky to access, but when you’re a student, every dollar saved meant a dollar for beer.
  5. Butane lighters. Okay, it could be a bit (a lot) dangerous, especially with the enormous amount of flammable AquaNet and StudioLine hair products lacquering our hair. Holding up a lit cell phone (especially one that times out in seconds) just isn’t the same as flicking your Bic and swaying with the naked flame to your favorite ballad.

What do you miss most? Drop me a line and let me know. Cheers!

The 4 stages of today’s ticket purchase process, as purrrfectly illustrated by these fine felines

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