Like most live event fanatics, Katie Pandolfo is all about the physical ticket. The general manager of the StubHub Center in Carson, California has a hefty collection of hundreds of tickets in a box at home.
“Back in the day it was a badge of honor,” Pandolfo tells Amplify. “You went to a show and you got your ticket and your t-shirt. That’s what you did every show. I haven’t stopped. Now it is kind of a novelty.”
With the push towards digital tickets for a lot of venues, the collection has slowed a bit. But for Pandolfo, some events require a physical souvenir.
“Last year I went to a Dodgers World Series game,” says Pandolfo, who once worked for the team. “They tried to have everything digital and I actually called Dodgers Stadium and had them print me out a paper ticket after the game just so I could put it in my ticket box.”
It was a tradition Pandolfo started back when she was attending all ages shows in her hometown of Chicago.
“I remember going to those when I was in eight grade and high school. The tickets were $8 or $10 to go see Circle Jerks or some crazy punk band,” Pandolfo says. “Because you couldn’t go to bars and there was potentially three feet of snow outside, going to shows was an awesome thing to do.”
Music filled every moment of Pandolfo’s life for as long as she can remember. She can’t remember a time when a record wasn’t spinning at her home or her parents weren’t taking her to events.
“My parents always took us to live music,” says Pandolfo. “Whether it was concerts in the park or my dad had these tickets to the Chicago Philharmonic. We went to operas. We went to everything.”
Pandolfo eventually started working for Ravenswood Special Events helping put on live shows like Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest, Jazz Fest and more, the same festivals she went to when she was younger.
When a call from the Los Angeles Dodgers came, Pandolfo took a chance moving to Southern California and worked for the team for four years. By 2004, Pandolfo had moved to the then-Home Depot Center and became the general manager of the now StubHub Center in 2009.
Amplify caught up with Pandolfo to find out about five of her favorite shows.
Lollapalooza at World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois
Aug. 2, 1992
Lollapalozza ’92 remains to be one of the most important moments in music history. Absolute convergence of alt, grunge, rock – Gen X wrapped into one amazing festival. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Pearl Jam – incredible. I wish I still had my t-shirt!
Jimmy Buffett at Poplar Creek in Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Aug. 14, 1992
My very first Buffett show and I’ve been to over 20 since. I think my favorite Buffett concert was at the New Orleans Jazz Fest a couple years ago, but my very first show will always hold a special place in my parrot head heart. It was the vibe. It was the people. It was the way he interacted with the crowd. It was the energy. Everything about going to Buffet shows, especially early on, the way people rallied together and dressed up and the parrot head mentality and tailgating in the parking lots. His music is just about being happy.
Pink Floyd at Soldier Field in Chicago
July 12, 1994
The Division Bell tour ended up being the final tour for Pink Floyd. It started raining in the middle of the second set and it made the night even more magical. The crowd loved it. They thought it was a sign from mother nature. Everyone sat outside at Soldier Field in the pouring rain and it was steaming hot in the middle of the summer, but the band kept playing. It did not matter and it got people even more into the music.
Grateful Dead at Soldier Field
July 8, 1995
Jerry’s second to last show ever. And one of the best I’d ever seen. I saw them a number of times and happened to be at the show at Soldier Field not at the very last show, but the one right before that. I had probably been to a dozen other shows and at this last one Jerry was playing songs that you never hear live. I can’t pinpoint it but there were certain songs. My best friend at the time went to the Sunday show and I remember her calling me on Monday morning and saying “Oh my gosh. He played ‘Sugar Magnolia.’ I’ve never heard it live.” She had been to three dozen shows.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles
Oct. 15, 2002
To see Tom Petty in such an intimate venue was extraordinary. He was such a talented artist and I’m blessed to have seen him perform in this unique setting. It was called the Olympic Auditorium because of the first Olympics LA hosted in 1932 that was the boxing arena. When I went, you walked back in time. We were up on the balcony looking down on this tiny little stage that would have normally just held two boxers and yet it had Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. They were on this little oriental rug, singing in the round.