20 years ago I was watching a small purple clad man writhing on a levitating bed filling the arena with Diamonds & Pearls musical bliss. His name was Prince. Two decades later I’m scrambling on-line to try and get tickets to his Welcome 2 Australia tour. Got some. Still tried to get the fancy seats, got more tickets. An extra concert was announced, got more tickets.
A couple of weeks ago I met a virtual someone on E-bay. I was trying to sell a pair of Prince concert tickets to recoup some of the costs of said buying frenzy above. Imagine my surprise when I received this message – “I read you are going to a Prince Welcome 2 Australia concert. Please let me know if you want to sell me your used concert ticket after your concert, as I collect Prince tickets.” Dear Readers, I would like to introduce you to Mr Roald Bakker, Collector.
MOLAM: Roald, tell us a little bit about yourself.
RB: I live in The Hague, The Netherlands. I was born in 1968 and I work in credit collection.
Do you remember the first Prince song you ever heard?
Yes, that was probably When Doves Cry. I was with my friends when I heard it on the radio. We all liked it and we bought it on the day it was released. Then we made cassette copies of it!
Oh, the good old days of recording mixed tapes – play lists with heart. When was your first Prince concert?
My first concert was August 17, 1986, his first major European tour. I saw the performance 3 times, all in Rotterdam. After that I saw over 100 Prince shows, and have travelled all over Europe to attend them. I also went to the USA twice, first in 2002 and then 2004.
What is the earliest ticket in your collection, and when did you make that change from just having old tickets, to purposefully collecting them?
My earliest ticket is from February 11, 1980 (Cincinnati, Ohio in the US). I started collecting tickets about 5 years ago. I had already collected (and still do) records, cds, etc, I have about 3,000 Prince items altogether. But I found that collecting records was not so much fun anymore. I have about 900 different Prince tickets, with the most exotic one from Rio de Janeiro. They will be on www.princevault.com when I have the time to scan them. Some are already there.
Why this? Why collect concert tickets?
I just like the fact that they are from Prince’s most important legacy, playing live music.
This motivation strikes me as so sincere, and such a wonderful reason to start collecting something. Anyone who likes Prince knows how dedicated he is to live music. He is a musician, composer and performer of historical significance – his relationship with a live audience is magical. It most certainly would be an important legacy to Prince and as a core value behind a collection of Prince paraphernalia a resonating motivation behind a collection.
What is the most valued items in your collection? Have you ever met Prince?
Yes, I got his autograph back in 1988. Me and a friend followed his car after the Antwerp concert to his hotel. When the band came out of the bus we asked for autographs and got them. When Prince came out of the hotel to go to the club we asked for his autograph. At first he said no, but we said that we had come all the way from The Netherlands (which actually is not that far away from Belgium!). He sat in his car and called out of his window, “OK, just give me a pen and some papers” and he happily signed them. Needless to say, we were thrilled. On the same night he gave me his pochette (handkerchief). I was standing next to him at the club he took off his leather gloves and I asked for them, he laughed about that and then one minute later he tapped me on the shoulder and gave me his pochette. Also in 1986 at my second concert I caught a tambourine.
That is interesting to hear those stories. At the recent concert I attended in Melbourne Prince was generous enough to give a tambourine to a young girl of about 8 years, and also at the end of his last encore gave his guitar away to one lucky man.
Do you know any other collectors of Prince concert tickets, and where do you source such things? Do you have special storage?
I know two other collectors, one has a nice site (www.unused-prince-tickets.com) and he only collects unused tickets up to 2002. I source tickets mainly through websites such as www.prince.org. I have a Prince room where things are on display, the concert tickets I keep in photo albums.
Do you live with other people, what do they think of your collection?
Yes, being married and having two kids often I hear “Dad, the Postman is there with yet another Prince CD that you ALREADY have…”