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  • Writer's pictureDerrick Wood

My Concert Ticket Stub Collection 2

Here is page two of my concert ticket stub collection book. I would have been 16 and 17 years old for these. Concerts were starting to become a common experience at this point in my life. I didn't have a license yet though, so I still relied on other people to drive me to the shows. One good thing, among many good things, about having a dad who liked concerts was that he would always drive... although I'd often have to take over if he started to fall asleep on the drive back home. It's funny, I wanted to drive so little compared to everyone else that I knew and I would get nervous when he'd pull over on HWY 101 and ask me to take over.


OCTOBER 9, 1996


For the first concert on this list of six, we have Jimmy Buffett. At the time, I only knew the basics of his catalog and went because my dad invited me. I had a fine time, though nothing from the show sticks out to me at this point in my life. I was in no mental condition for memory making at the show though. The one thing I remember is that I kept finding myself about five feet down the slanted grass which left me standing well in front of my dad. I'd walk back up to where he was and then find that it happened again just a couple minutes later. Repeat.

I had no idea that I would become a HUGE fan about ten years later. On his recent visit, my dad even mentioned to my kids that I ended up knowing way more about Buffett than he ever did. As a matter of fact, I just took my kids to their first Jimmy show a couple weeks ago in Phoenix and they loved it! Fins Up!


DECEMBER 29, 1996


This is the first concert in my collection where I have a lot of memories! It was absolutely an unbelievable show and I am so happy that this tour was released as a DVD by Metallica. Not only did they sound great, but the stage set up was first class and they used it to play a joke on the crowd that was so shocking to me that I wasn't sure it was really happening. But more on that later...

I went with a guy named Chris Jones. He and I went separate ways decades ago, but, at the time, we got along pretty well. Well enough for us to have his mom drive us all the way from Salinas to Sacramento for a Metallica concert!

We arrived hours early on a nice and rainy day. She dropped Chris and I off at the Arco Arena so early, in fact, that the gates for the parking lot weren't even open yet. So he and I just stood at the barricade with a group of fans that continued to grow. It was only raining lightly but we were out there long enough that the drops collected so much that we were soaked. Security wouldn't let us get any closer to the distant arena no matter how much we screamed at them -and we did.

It must have been a couple hours until security moved the barricade, but once they did, I was among a mass of fellow metalheads who were running towards the stadium like cheetahs chasing their prey. I'm pretty sure most of us weren't up to the athletic standards that made this sprint an easy feat. But, speed was something that I always had and I was ahead of pretty much everyone. No doubt people were dropping due to tripping or pulling muscles. Out of shape drunk potheads littering the parking, writhing in pain. But, like storming Normandy, I just had to keep pushing on.

We made it! We were at the arena! Just in time to… find out that just because we were allowed in the parking lot doesn’t mean the doors were open yet. So, another wait to suffer through. Although, it’s not like getting inside would make Metallica play, so I’m not sure why there was so much anxiety over being stuck outside. I don’t remember clearly, but I think we were even out of the rain at this new waiting spot.

Ok, so at some point the doors opened and I ran to the front of the stage. Well, to the barricade around it anyways. And what a stage this was!! It was oblong with lots of angles jutting out making a rather interesting polygonal wall that would soon be surrounding my metal heroes. As this massive basketball arena slowly filled in I was holding onto the barricade absolutely determined to keep my position for the experience that was about to overtake us. I was talking with some guy behind me about death metal. He asked me if I like so and so and this band and that. They all had silly death metaly names and I hadn’t heard of a single one. So, I pulled out the one death metal band I actually liked and asked, “Do you like Pestilence?” He’s like, “Yeah, I know them. I don’t like them.’’ Ok, you like everyone in the world but the one band I say. Whatever. Bring on Metallica!! Come on!!

At some point, Korn came out and played Korn music. Like the last time I saw them, I wasn’t really into it. They were just another barricade between myself and Metallica. So let’s fast forward because I don’t remember a single thing about Korn.

When the lights for Metallica went off, the universal sign that the show is about to begin, the sound of about 20,000 throats raging with excitement made my ears vibrate violently. I was already getting my auditory senses pummeled and there hadn’t even been a note played yet. Then, the first of many surprises the night would reveal occurred: Metallica ran out from their backstage area but didn’t go immediately to the stage itself. No, they ran inside the little space between the stage and the barricade to high five the people in the front. Hey, that’s me! I’m in front! Take that, Mr. I hate Pestilence guy! Now, I don’t know how, my memory of the specifics have been fuzzy for years, but I definitely got to high-five three of the four guys. I just can’t remember for sure which three! I believe that I high-fived James, Kirk, and Jason, while Lars ran to the other side of the stage. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, I believe I downloaded a bootleg of this concert before Youtube removed it, so I can probably go watch and see which three came my direction while the other one went his own way. Please hold while I go check….

Ok, I just went and looked. Funny how memories are. Jason came out first, but he was on the exact opposite part of the stage where I was. Then James came out on my side and he was giving lots of high-fives. One of those was definitely me, though the video isn’t clear enough to see my individually. Then Kirk came out directly across from my side and didn’t high five anyone because he was playing guitar while walking. Lastly, Lars walked out casually, same place James did -right by me- but didn’t seem interested in touching anyone. It’s funny, for many years I’ve thought I high-fived three of them. But, now that I’ve seen this video, it’s clear to me that I only high-fived James. But, of the four, that’s the one I’d want to high-five the most, so… cool!! Also, why is that cool? It’s just me and another human touching hands for less than a second. Being a fan is weird.

The stage was set up beautifully for this show and it allowed James, Kirk, and Jason to roam wherever they wanted to (Wherever I May Roam just came to mind). So we got a rotating view of the members as they traveled from one section to another whenever they pleased. It was really exciting and kept things fresh.

Early on in the set there were explosions and pyrotechnics. I don’t remember what happened, but at some point I got sick of being smashed up against the barricade and made egress. At that point, I just walked around enjoying the show from all over the arena. Well, at one hour and fifty-five minutes into the show, during Enter Sandman, the lights on stage start flickering. The explosions slowly become out of sync with the music. Things start to come unraveled sounding. I begin realizing something is going wrong. Some sort of technical difficulty. By that time I had made my way to the upper deck and got a bird’s eye view of the chaos that ensued. Things start sparking all over the stage and the sounds get more and more distorted. It’s obvious I am witnessing some major malfunction, but then, the unbelievable happens. A crew member who was working up in the rafters tumbles headfirst all the way down a ladder. It must have been thirty or forty feet, if not more. He suddenly stops falling just feet above the stage because it appears that his leg is caught up in a cable. He is left dangling there, upside down, squirming in apparent pain. I’m horrified. I’m sad. I’m worried. I am utterly shocked. But, before I can think much more about it, I realize the mishap isn’t over. Something major is going on here. Like, so major, this is going to make the world news. Another crew member seems to have gotten to close to one of the sparks and is suddenly fully engulfed in flames. He is running all over the stage, waving his hands in the air, and I am stricken hard by his obvious pain. Just feet from where I stood at the beginning of the show, the poor soul is put out with a fire extinguisher. Then, some of the giant metal towers above the stage fall over towards the crowd. No doubt, many people are injured…killed? This is a massive event. Everything goes black. I am staring speechless, numb… and the crowd…is cheering. How could they be cheering? A man is being taken off in a stretcher now… and people are cheering. Am I going nuts?! Lars walks out and pulls a tiny chain hanging from somewhere above. A small light bulb comes on, literally and figuratively. I begin to realize I may have just witnessed the most elaborate ruse of my life. The rest of the band comes out and smash pies on Lars’ head. Clearly, none of them are shaken up about what just happened. An amazing, amazing, totally nerve wracking ruse that was INCREDIBLE to witness!! But, to this day, I don’t know how everyone else in the Arco Arena seemed to be unfazed by this stage play. Did they see on MTV that this was going to be part of the show on the tour? Or am I just overly sensitive… gullible? Either way, it was a confusing and exciting mixture of emotions and still one of the coolest things I’ve seen in person.

So, going back to the pies, apparently it was Lars’ birthday. That’s why they hit him with cream pies. Then, the entire arena sang happy birthday to him and he sat down for their final songs of the night. What a great show. Man, Korn must have been backstage wondering why they were even there.

More on the rest of the ticket stubs to come!

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