ticket stub story number four: radiohead — nyc, august 2001

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the mythology of new york always appealed to me, even though everything i knew about it only existed in films, photographs, and folklore. if you were to ask my thirteen-year-old self where i thought i would live as an adult, i probably would have told you new york city. i wanted andy warhol’s new york. i wanted the velvet underground and joe dallesandro and deborah harry and the factory. i guess i was born too late.

in august of 2001, i was chatting with some friends at a bar in chicago and it was decided that very night that we would fly to new york to see radiohead. we had no tickets for the concert (sold out) and no idea where we were staying. i think i had about $100 in the bank and i had never done a spontaneous trip quite like that. i was scared to death. no plan? no money? a city larger than chicago that i had no idea how to navigate? but i had to do it, something in my bones told me i had to.

at that time, flights would sometimes be incredibly cheap, so we were on our way to newark before you knew it. it was late summer, hot and humid. one of my travel companions had some friends that met us out at a bar. they were tall and leggy in stiletto heels, such tiny, delicate birds. i felt like a blubbery pile of sweaty flesh next to them.

the dynamic of friendships among young women always had a competitive edge to it. hell, sometimes, it still does. now that i am older and wiser, i see how i never learned to handle those feelings of insignificance brought on by its good buddy comparison. most of the social dynamics in school was so exhausting and ridiculous to me that i was just fine being different than the popular kids even though it meant feeling ostracized. whenever those awkward adolescent feelings start to creep back in, i get anxious like a motherfucker. fight or flight takes over everything and all rational thought disappears. my body aches to run away, to take flight, but no. fight always comes first.

all night long, from one bar to another bar, and then to a dance club, i felt hideously out of place. but all of that ended once we got to max fish. now that was a bar i could get into, the vibe was just right. even meg white was there, drinking whisky and playing pinball. the white stripes were still so new that summer of 2001 that i felt like the coolest girl in the world just to be in the same room as her.

the next day after wandering the city, i managed to get myself to where the ferry would take us to liberty state park. i still didn’t have a ticket, but somehow, it all came together in just a few minutes. i found someone selling a ticket, got on the ferry and was on my way to see radiohead for the first time.

the sun was starting to set and the light was changing as we coasted along past the statue of liberty, passing a joint around as i snapped photos. i marveled at the manhattan skyline as the sunset painted a wash of pastels onto the shining metropolis. my eyes drank in the scenery as every terrible thought i had about myself the night before melted away into the water beneath us.

kid koala was the first act, followed by the beta band, and then radiohead played. i was alone for most of the night, moving around the crowd, watching everything from different vantage points, taking in the music and feeling my skin tingle. thinking back on it now, that trip reminded me of how fun it is to travel and see live music. i vowed to do it again soon.

here is the setlist from that night:

the national anthem
morning bell
airbag
karma police
knives out
packd like sardines in a crushd tin box
exit music (for a film)
my iron lung
no surprises
dollars and cents
street spirit (fade out)
i might be wrong
pyramid song
paranoid android
idioteque
everything in its right place

like spinning plates
lucky (false start)
you and whose army?
how to disappear completely

true love waits
the bends
the tourist

when i got home to chicago, i had a couple rolls of film to process, but they slipped my mind. i ended up not getting the film developed for a few weeks. as i looked through the photos, i froze. the manhattan skyline was bathed in that perfect light, exactly how i remembered. it was just a few weeks after september 11 and i was looking at photos that had the twin towers in the background.

as i was compiling the setlist above, i did a quick search for photos from that show and found this beauty below. i was listening to “the tourist” when i found this. it just seemed perfect to end this ticket stub story with it.

 

Radiohead in Black & White With WTC in Background - Imgur

brain radio: vipassana

at the end of december i went completely off the grid up in occidental, california for a 10-day vipassana meditation course. i’d been working toward something of the sort for awhile, strengthening the bond between my mind and my body, learning to live in the moment. never had the time to unplug quite like this though: 9 of the 10 days are spent in complete silence without distractions. no phones, no computers, no writing, talking, gesturing, singing, dancing, or even physical contact. we lived like buddhist monks, really.

the hardest thing about it was not having music to listen to. i was aching for nick drake one morning as the sun rose, glittering like gold leaf in the trees. i wanted to belt out lines from “me and bobby mcgee” as i listened to my footsteps squishing in wet leaves and mud. instead, i let my brain play these songs as i meditated, wandered, and soaked up my surroundings with the full capacity of my senses. it was magnificent.

naturally, i had to make a playlist. it’s just what i do. so if you are curious about what kind of music plays in the brain of one who cannot speak or sing or listen to music, you are about to find out!

enjoy, and may all beings be happy.

brain radio: “let it happen”

who is your favorite band or musician at the moment? if you know me, we have probably talked about my favorite band of the now, tame impala. this morning and many mornings since it was first released, i awoke with “let it happen” playing on my brain radio. it’s something of an anthem for this time in my life, particularly the last year or so, when i finally started getting in touch with what i really what from the universe and what i want to contribute to it. the hardest part is staying true to that and not deviating from that path.

when this song first came out, i had it on my phone and listened to it on a walk in my neighborhood. the sun was shining, i walked fast, along with the beat. “all this running around, bearing down on my shoulders.” i’ve been so sick of the hustle, selling my marketable skills to the next bidder. i just want to share stories and ideas and things i make with the world, not just the things i do to pay rent. “something’s trying to get out, and it’s never been closer.”

this is a wild time to be alive. listening to music keeps me from getting too lost in the sadness of the world and reminds me of the beauty that exists.

why don’t we just let it happen?

 

 

ticket stub story / november playlist

my morning view / los angeles, november 2015 #apartment #home

A photo posted by miss lisa g. french (@misslisagfrench) on

 

november. it’s finally cold enough in los angeles to have a heater on at night. two pairs of socks if you’re feeling extra chilly. coincidentally, i am wearing socks i bought on a trip to london back in…well i know it was for my 28th birthday. so it must have been 2003. i hang on to the randomest things. you know, like ticket stubs. and memories.

ticket stub story is officially two weeks old today, and it’s been invigorating to write about these moments in my life and hearing about others in the process. while writing about the ticket stubs, music memories, and brain radio activity that i’ve shared so far (and some that i am writing now), there was always music on.

welcome to our first playlist! on it you will find all of the songs mentioned on the blog so far as well as a few that will be mentioned in stories to come. heck, i’ll probably add a lot more to it before the month is over.

i hope you are enjoying everything so far, i am having a blast with this. so much more is coming up: some travel, some live music action, and of course, more stories. let’s listen to some music!

ticket stub story number three: bloc party — chicago, march 2005

the jacket i wore that night, along with the ticket stub and buttons from the show.

the jacket i wore that night, along with the ticket stub and buttons from the show.

2005 was an interesting year. my 30th trip around the sun began in february and i lived in the wicker park neighborhood of chicago, right there on milwaukee avenue in the middle of the action. “the crotch” we lovingly called it, that intersection of damen, milwaukee, and north avenues. summers, winters, we were all over that crotch, soaked in whiskey and vodka and rock and roll.

i frequented reckless records as they were only a couple of doors down from my apartment, often picking up issues of NME to find out about the latest music from britain. even as a teenager i was obsessed with NME and melody maker and was turned on to a lot of music because of those magazines. bloc party was likely an NME discovery back then, we didn’t have apps like shazam and i wasn’t looking at blogs that much since it was still the myspace era for me and most of my friends (we were too old for facebook).

i went to this show alone if i remember correctly. i watched the drummer Matt Tong in total awe. if you’ve ever seen bloc party live when he was still with the band, you probably get what i am talking about. he straight up destroys the drums live. he was soaking wet with sweat from the slaughter of the performance, it was fantastic. i’ve always had a thing for the rhythm section. see a show with me, then wait and see how long it takes before i comment on the drummer or the bass line. seriously, try me.

about a month after the show i went to costa rica on a whim. i was working at the pontiac cafe at the time and i was making a fair amount of dough in a short amount of time so i bought a plane ticket and went to costa rica and i think i spent all of three days planning everything. on the flight, i had my headphones on listening to the stations that were provided by the airlines and then a song came on that stopped me right then and there. in the air, above the clouds, “so here we are” came on, a bloc party song that was one of my favorites from their album, silent alarm. (i need to get that on vinyl, now that i think about it.) it’s a killer song, and it was just what i needed to hear at that moment.

i was really unsure about my life, i had graduated from art school four years earlier, i was waiting tables, i wasn’t making art (of my own), i had an unrequited crush, i was drunk a lot because it was chicago and that was what you did in wicker park in 2005. i watched a lot of six feet under back then too, which explains why i was very introspective. (i still love that show deeply.)

to get to costa rica from chicago, you have to fly to miami first. in the airport, i went to the bar and had a mojito and nervously fidgeted because we didn’t have phones to stare at back then when the uncomfortableness of traveling solo seeps in. it had been awhile, i hadn’t been able to afford much travel since moving to chicago seven years prior, but i managed to get to the UK, amsterdam, and now costa rica.

that trip to costa rica re-invigorated my love for travel. on the flight, Kele Okereke sang to me, “i figured it out” and i wrote it down in a notebook. i still have it somewhere. i knew right then, on that airplane to costa rica, that i needed to make a big change soon.

i was going to have to leave chicago.

music memories: “always something there to remind me”

through the process of writing about the next ticket stub from the collection, memories were sprouting out from everywhere. it took me back to dallas again, i’m guessing 1997. i was madly in love and in hindsight, i had no idea what to do with that emotion. the handsome fella said something back then that stuck with me over the years.

i forget where we were or what was going on at that time, but i thought it was sincere. he said, “If we ever broke up, I’d have to leave Dallas…it’s like that Naked Eyes song.” okay, maybe it was kinda cheesy. whatever, it’s a fond memory and i am keeping it that way.

i sang this song out loud in my apartment at 4:45 this morning and i loved every moment of it. i wish i could have found the original music video but all that is out there seems to be this one. it works!

 

 

this is the first of many music memories to come. we’ll be sharing stories about songs, albums, bands and all that jazz that takes us back to that feeling, that place, that time.

ticket stub story number two: pavement — chicago, june 1999

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it was a warm night and i was moving fast from the el to the show, still adjusting to night walking alone in unfamiliar territory. fresh from dallas, texas less than a year before, i was living in the heart of the loop in one of the dorms of the school of the art institute of chicago, so i wasn’t that familiar with the northside. it wasn’t my first time at the metro either, but i am kinda hilarious with directions.

i was broke most of the time back then, being an art school student and all, but i knew you could save on crazy fees if you bought tickets directly from the metro’s box office. i ended up buying two, one for each of the two chicago dates. it was my first time seeing pavement so i was super stoked, so much so that i beelined right over to the front of the stage. i had a crush on stephen malkmus and his haircut that burned with a fury. up near the front, i giddily danced and sang along and occasionally hollered for “range life” but alas, they did not play it that night. they were playing again the following evening, so i still had hope.

this is what they DID play that night (according to setlist.fm):

Here
Cream of Gold
The Hexx
Kennel District
You Are a Light
Major Leagues
Father to a Sister of Thought
Speak, See, Remember
Shady Lane
Platform Blues
Ann Don’t Cry
Trigger Cut
Grounded
Folk Jam
Spit on a Stranger
Frontwards

ticket stub story number one: how it all began.

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a little over three years ago, i thought about starting a music blog but that quickly became far too much to do at that time, so it was put on the back burner. now that i have the time and i am writing a lot more, it’s time to start swapping stories.

my collection of concert ticket stubs is one of the few things that has traveled with me across the country for almost twenty years; from my hometown in dallas, to chicago, to los angeles where i have lived since 2006. the collection has grown a whole bunch over the years! from time to time i find more amongst my belongings and add them to the collection. occasionally, i stop and look at a few, each time completely transported right back in that moment.

there are a few which have stories that will take me a week to write and others that can be summed up in a paragraph. this one right here, from november 1, 1993, is one with an epic tale. i considered making it my first entry but really, this ticket stub defines what this whole project is about. music. sharing stories. connecting. i am dying to find out if anyone else out there was at this show and what they could contribute to the story!

ticket stub story is about our collective live music story. were you at that show? did you see another show on the same tour? share it! this is going to be a lot of fun, and i am so thrilled to share these stories with you. i hope you enjoy reading them!