20 Years Chronicling Bob Dylan Posters and Ticket Stubs
1999-11-13, Continental Arena, East Rutherford, NJ
Today’s show comes by request of Joe L. Reminder that any Annual subscriber can request a show for me to tackle.
Seeing those two posters for today’s show, similar but full of small differences (like…the show time?) inspired me to do something I’ve wanted to for a while: Speak with the guy who runs the site where I found them, DylanStubs.com.
As you might guess from the name, DylanStubs started in the early 2000s as a place to collect Bob Dylan ticket stubs, now largely a relic of the pre-smartphone era (though you can still get hard tickets if you’re diligent). For instance, here’s a stub from this 1999 East Rutherford show.
DylanStubs soon expanded beyond ticket stubs. Site founder Mark Scalise also shares posters, setlists, bootleg art, show recordings, and more. Heck, just while writing this intro, I discovered two massive YouTube playlists he maintains of complete Dylan concerts. 1271 of them, arranged in chronological order, that you can stream right now. (And if you go to the Setlists page and click any of the blue links — well, it’s about as close to a Spotify for Dylan boots as we’re ever likely to get.)
So I checked in with Mark to hear the story behind the site, and how he decided to chronicle this sort of paper paraphernalia in particular.
Why did you decide to start the website? And should I assume from the name that ticket stubs were initially the main focus?
Back in the early 2000s, I was collecting a lot of shows on CD, the primary medium of the day. At that point I liked to create custom jewel case artwork, and I thought it would be cool to include a ticket stub image as part of the design. As I searched for them on the web, I saw no real central resource for that stuff, so I decided to be an aggregator (some would say a thief) for all of the different images I could find. I was somewhat Borg-like in those early days, but I don't take such an aggressive approach now, and haven't for quite some time. Ebay was a big source of images as well.
As the site matured and more folks became aware of it, I started to have people reach out via email with ticket stub and poster images. I spent less time going out and searching for them, although I still did that too. Nowadays I mostly rely on the kindness of others to send things along.
Why were you interested in preserving and showcasing ticket stubs? A skeptic might say they mostly look the same, especially in the Ticketmaster era.
I'm totally and completely insane. I really don't know what it is, but there's some historical appeal there for me. It's one way to document Bob's performing history and rounds out the documentation that already exists for the shows. It's not like we need proof for most of them, but it just fills out the picture. Same with the posters.
Have you seen trends in ticket stubs over the years/decades?
Well obviously the whole e-ticket thing. I know people who put great effort into obtaining hard tickets for shows because they want that souvenir. It means more than an e-ticket, and I totally get that.
There's something warm and familiar about hard tickets that you just can't get from your phone or an email. I do feel like the European tickets are a little more interesting than tickets for U.S. shows, with images of Bob and stuff on them.
How about trends with Dylan show posters?
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