These are all of my concert ticket stubs from 1980-2015 that I managed to hang on to and decided to inventory by year(s). Enjoy the trip back in time to 1989 below…
Oh, 1989. The beginning of the end of the infamously fun-filled ’80s. It was an era I am forever grateful to have experienced as a young adult: a time of relative world peace and prosperity, and one of the most creative and diverse music revivals in mankind’s history. There were arrays of styles, breeds, and visuals that both spoke to the individual identity and grouped them together in appreciation. Gotta love music scenes. And thankfully, it was an era before the viral Technology Age. Many things had changed since I saved that first concert ticket stub back in 10th grade, nine years earlier. The end of the decade of decadence also marked the beginning and end of personal eras: I left Los Angeles and moved home to Florida – Mama came to carry me back from Cali – and I had a kid. And…
November 1989 saw the launch of the inaugural issue of Thrust Music Magazine in the Tampa Bay area. Thrust proceeded to cover the local and extended Florida music scene for the next several years. Thrust was cofounded by publisher/editor Chris Phillips and myself in 1989, shortly after our move from Los Angeles to Florida. Chris had recently helped out Ruben Blue of Rock City News in setting up digital publishing with our ever handy and surprisingly portable 1987 Mac Plus. I have vague memories of going up to the Rock City News offices on Hollywood Boulevard, when it was much seedier than it is now, and for some reason recall seeing Perry Farrell, who was living across the hall. As always, I wish I remembered more, let alone why I remember such odd snippets.
Above: Thrust Music Magazine’s inaugural issue featuring Warrant hit the Tampa Bay area scene in November, 1989. Below: Thrust’s December, 1989 issue featuring Pretty Boy Floyd.
Music magazines were bands’ primary form of publicity back then, when image was everything and a picture told a fishnet (or soon to be added, plaid) story. You can browse through each issue of Thrust Magazine 1989-1993 at this internet archive link. The Tampa Bay Area metal music scene was epic throughout the ’80s and ’90s so you’ll find some good stuff in there.
Sometimes people ask me if I’ve ever seen any flyers with obscure band names, and the best way to look for those bands is to check out the club/venue ads in these issues. I’ve included a few ads below as well.
A lot of the ticket stubs for the shows featured below were comped or guest-listed from record labels and promoters, so I won’t be able to always add concert ticket prices. I would love to see your ticket stubs for the shows in the comments if you have them.
I’ve managed to hang onto a lot of the Thrust Music Magazine staff concert ticket stubs, backstage passes, autographs, and other various memorabilia to share, and I threw in a few local club and concert ads from the November and December issues to enjoy as you journey back to 1989.
Warrant and Kingdom Come on 7-26-1989 at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. Love the Kingdom Come/Comfort Inn set list. I remember driving a member of Warrant to the Rock-It Club in Tampa after this show in my Ford Pinto (shortly before they started traveling in limos). Check out a Warrant article on pages 5-6 in the November Thrust Mag issue, in all its Mac Plus graphics glory.
The Who on 7-29-1989 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Cost $22.50, but it looks like the tickets may have been won from the local radio station. According to a review of this show on Page 7 of the November 1989 issue of Thrust Magazine, there was no opening act.
Todd Rundgren on 8-27-1989 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Florida, which looks to be the last show of the tour. The Mahaffey Theater still operates in all its beauty here in 2022.
Cinderella and White Lion on 9-4-1989 at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. It looks like they also toured with Warrant, but I can’t confirm Warrant was at this show.
Warrant on 10-6-1989 at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’m pretty sure this is where Warrant autographed the mock-up cover of the inaugural issue of Thrust Music Magazine. Around this time we started getting autographs made to our son, Adrian. I’m glad the Fantasma pass says Bayfront Center since I don’t have a concert ticket stub to this show. I visited the always-helpful setlist.com site to find out more and it bafflingly refers to the show being held at “Bucksley Arena,” which neither I nor google are familiar with. But I did learn that Blue Murder opened this show, which would have been cool to see (or remember seeing – I love their vocal sound). I also found a cool video from the Warrant show: search YouTube for “Warrant-32 Pennies live Bayfront Center.” And do we want to discuss the “St. Pete Bitch” on the after-show pass? So ’80s lol.
The Rolling Stones on 11-18-1989 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. A friend tells me that Living Colour opened this show. Various sites say other opening acts on this tour included Guns n’ Roses and Eric Clapton (wow). Cost $28.50.
According to setlist.fm, Jethro Tull played 11-26-1989, and Billy Squier with Kings X played 12-15-1989, both at the University of South Florida (USF) Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. Per other Thrust info and the memory banks, this Billy Squier show was a charity event and included L.A. Guns, whose singer Phil Lewis was coerced into donning a Thrust Magazine t-shirt (see photo below). A great thrust into the spotlight for the fledgling magazine!
Phil Lewis of L.A. Guns wearing a Thrust Magazine t-shirt on stage at a 12-15-1989 charity benefit with Billy Squier and King’s X at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida. (Note: I’m not 100% positive this backstage goes with this event.)
I can’t help but throw in some info on the best local clubs and bands. Page 3 of Thrust’s November issue and Page 2 of the December issue feature the always-a-good-time Rock-it Club ads. Loved Dirty Looks (cost $9/$12 day of show). There is a Dirty Looks interview on page 12 of the November issue. And Stranger, a Tampa Bay Area legacy band. It seems weird that I went to singer Greg Billings‘ “last show” singing all those good ole songs in November 2021, though he still pops up singing around town. Savatage! Robin Trower! (cost $12/$14) Lord Tracy! Kings X! Charlie Logan and Scotty Phillips and 95YNF! That’s a lotta good times in that two month span.
Area favorites Intice with local legends Savatage on 10-28-1989 at the Tampa Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida (11-1989 pages 25 and 30). There is a review of this show on page 28 of the December issue. But Jimmy Vitolo? Typo, it’s Jeff Vitolo (sorry, Jeff!). Jeff worked at Thrust Magazine for awhile, and can still be seen playing around the state with his band Jeff Vitolo and the Quarter Mile Rebels. Check out the Free 24 Hour Intice Hotline. Note Warren Wyatt Management, a well-known band manager around town.
Badlands on November 4, 1989 at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg, Florida (11-1989, page 24). Cost $12/14. Omg, alas, sigh. I am so sad I was not at this Badlands show – I was not familiar with them then. I wish I could see this band now, RIP Ray Gillen. Actually I’m happy to even hear their songs, thanks to a Red Dragon Cartel show I was lucky enough to see, as well as YouTube. I once googled “why can’t I buy Badlands music” since it’s nowhere to be found, and was rather surprised by the answer: check out this Eddie Trunk interview and this metalsludge.com article. There is a review of the 1989 Badlands show on page 41 of the December issue. Mr. Big and Faster Pussycat on 11-24-1989 at Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg, Florida (11-1989, pg. 22). Cost $12/$15. According to the Thrust’n This Month calendar below, Danger Danger and Princess Pang were also at this show. I seem to recall attending but that’s about it. Does anyone have concert ticket stubs to these shows?
Sometimes people ask me if I have flyers or event materials for obscure bands and I’ve learned that a good place to look for mention of them is in the club advertisements from those years. I’ve included the November ads from local live music clubs Makos in Clearwater (page 9) and the Volley Club in Tampa (page 5). Elton John at the USF Sun Dome in 1989 apparently didn’t happen; pursuant to an LA Times article dated 10-12-1989, Elton had to cancel two shows because of a virus (page 12). George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers on 11-9-1989 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersurg, Florida, cost $17.50 plus fees (page 12). And finally, a Stevie Ray Vaughan (RIP) show on 11-23-1989 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida, with Jeff Beck and Terry Bozzio, cost $17.50 plus fees; the year before Mr. SRV passed (page 31).
Red Hot Chili Peppers on 12-8-1989 at Jannus Landing (now Jannus Live in 2022) in St. Petersburg, Florida. Cost $13/$15. The autographs are on an ad for the show featured on page 41 of the December issue. I remember this show because I didn’t have a babysitter, but I went for the preshow meet-n-greet with my 6-month old son Adrian in a stroller with headphones. A Thrust photographer tells me he has a picture of us there and I need to bug him again about finding that ;o).
Great mix of local and national music on the Thrust’n This Month calendar (page 19)…back in the days when you could somehow go out several nights a week. Someone asked me about the band WrathChild and it looks like they (or one version of a band with that name) played at Jannus Landing with Testament.
The December events calendar (page 25) with the best commentary ever. Accurate and fair warning on the Red Hot Chili Peppers show, and gotta love “pick up your neighborhood swampwoman and go to the wrong side of the tracks for…” the Stranger band show. I’m somewhat baffled by the photos featured at the bottom of the page.
Finishing off 1989 with the December issue debut of The Black Cat (pages 44-45), in which Blackie Rie and Cathy Cardin prowl the local scene to let us know what’s going on (click on photos to enlarge). Photo features Blackie, Thrust Magazine Publisher Chris Phillips, and Cathy at the Rock-It Club.
All in all, 1989 was a fantastic live music year! My 1990 to 1993 concert posts will continue to feature a variety of Thrust Magazine local show information and staff memorabilia. It appears as if a lot of the actual ticket stubs were lost somewhere along the way. If you have a ticket stub to any of the shows mentioned above or in other posts, I’d love to see them posted in the comments below for posterity – thanks ;o).